Up In Smoke – Burns Philp Moresby Lights Up

Posted in Dangerous, Mixed Nuts on July 14th, 2009 by MadDog
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Good buddy and Madang- Ples Bilong Mi  reader Rich Jones shot me an email this morning with photos of the Burns Philp fire in Port Moresby.

This from Rich Jones:

We were sitting on the balcony drinking wine and saw a huge plume of smoke from downtown. Like any good PNGer we immediately raced towards the disaster and saw the final moments of the famous yet flammable Burns Philip building, once home of the excellent Tribal Den nightclub and currently under, um, renovation. There were vast and knowledgeable crowds who were remarkably close to the action and a few brave firemen trying to save Westpac with some very leaky hoses.

Check out Jenn’s chairs in the heart of the fire.

It was quite a communal affair. Well ordered and quite solemn at times.

Rich sent some shots of the fire along with the email. The Sunday night fire, which rated a short blurb in the Post Courier’s online rag, was apparently spectacular and a great crowd pleaser:

Burns Philp in Port Moresby lights up

The building was under renovation at the time of the fire. You can plainly see the scaffolding.

Here it is getting well and truly under way:

Burns Philp in Port Moresby lights up and stays lit

I’m not familiar with Port Moresby (and I can’t say that I’m a big fan either), so I don’t know what we’re looking at in this shot:

Part of the Burns Philp fire in Port Moresby

A lot of money burning up, I’d say. Rich explained to me on the phone that the firemen did manage to save the bank next to the blazing building, but doesn’t give huge credit for that, since the wind was blowing the other direction quite strongly.

Here is a shot showing the mystery chairs, which were, by all accounts, amazingly fire resistant. Sounds like a handy thing to save your home in case someone spontaneously combusts while napping in front of the tellie:

The "Mystery Chairs" in the Burns Philp fire in Port Moresby

I recall several huge fires here in Madang. The first that I remember, strangely enough, was the Burns Philp warehouse fire way back when. Then Binnen Bakery burned down, followed soon by the Lutheran Shipping Fibreglass shop. That one was very spectacular. There were 200 litre drums popping like bombs and rocketing many tens of metres into the air trailing orange flames. A terrific show which we could easily watch from our house.

Probably the most well remembered fire in Madang is the old Chemcare shop. Here’s our old buddy Greg O’Keeffe looking a little bewildered as his shop burns to the ground behind him.

The old ChemCare store burning in Madang

The Fire Service makes an easy target, since the equipment is laughable, and the record of success rather thin. I can’t recall a single fire in Madang at which the Fire Service made much impression on the fire. Maybe it’s just my poor memory.

Lest we pick on the poor Fire Service fellows, let’s remember that they are about as effective as any other government operation. Let’s not single them out for abuse. There’s enough to go around to everybody.

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Hitting the Road Again

Posted in On Tthe Road on April 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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Up until about a month ago, I had no idea that I’d be heading back to North America this year. I was not scheduled to leave Papua New Guinea again until 2012. Anyway, Eunie got a free ride this time because she’s going to represent the PNG branch of our organisation at our international office for a board meeting in Dallas. So, since Qantas had a ridiculously cheap return fare offered at A$1,000 to New York, I decided to spring for it and avoid six additional weeks of loneliness and weight loss. (I’ve lost a half-kilo a week since she’s been gone. What does that say about me? One thing that comes to mind is that I’m too lazy to eat when left on my own. That could eventually be fatal.)

So, on Wednesday morning, I’ll be off at 06:00 to here:

Port Moresby, Papua New GuineaThat’s Port Moresby, in case you didn’t notice.  It’s the capital of Papua New Guinea and it costs almost as much to get from Madang to Port Moresby as it does to travel from Brisbane to New York. This is one of the great shames of our wonderful nation. You can hardly go anywhere in PNG without travelling by air. Air Niugini has a strangle-hold on traffic within the country. I’ll have more to say about that someday, but now I’m just to antsy to concentrate.

The next stop will be here:

Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaThat’s Brisbane in Queensland, Australia.  I’ll be spending three days and two nights there. A friend is coming up to Brisbane to meet me. We’re both camera freaks, so we’ll spend most of our time hustling around grabbing images. I hope to have a couple of interesting posts from Brisbane.

The next stop will be San Francisco, but only to change planes. I’d like to visit there for a few days some time. Then it’s on to New York City where I’ll spend two nights.

Two nights in New York City – big deal, eh? Well, not exactly. Eunie books my travel because she likes doing it, and she’s very good at it. She hands me an itinerary, tickets, passport, visas, etc, and off I go.  I asked her to book me ‘some place interesting’ in New York City. She did. She booked me into a bed and breakfast in Harlem. Now, if you don’t know about Harlem, then Google it. Let’s just say that I’m looking forward with mild anxiety to an interesting two days and nights. I’m sure that I’ll have some tasty posts from there.

Then, it’s off to Buffalo, NY where I’ll meet Eunie for the drive to Hamilton, Ontario.

I may drop off the calendar for a day or two, but I’LL BE BACK. I’m The Travelator.

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Astounding Port Moresby Sky

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 27th, 2009 by MadDog
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Eunie came back from Port Moresby yesterday morning with a present for me from Rich Jones. It’s nice to have friends who know what you like. This, I like:Astounding sky shot by Rich JonesI’ve seen some good sky shots and I’ve taken a few myself, but I’d have to put this in the top ten. Rich, you know your way around a camera.

Rich referred to J. M. W. Turner as the ‘look’. I agree. To prove it, here’s a Turner:
A painting by J. M. W. TurnerEnough said.

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Air Niugini – Just Can’t Get It Right

Posted in At Sea, Humor, Opinions on December 18th, 2008 by MadDog
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I don’t know if I get such poor service from Air Niugini because I’m such a whiner and they’re punishing me for it or if I’m just paranoid and they treat everyone with equal contempt. In the case of the former, I wish they would quit making others suffer along with me, because it’s simply not fair. They should just punish me by giving me free, unlimited air travel confined to Air Niugini and force me to use it every day until I die. I reckon it would take about a week. The coroner’s report would list the cause of death as terminal frustration.

For afternoon flights, I’m running about 50% getting from Port Moresby home to Madang on the day that I was ticketed to do so. For an operation that is a self-proclaimed source of pride for our* nation, I find this embarrassing.

I’m too tired and cranky to find any humour in yesterday’s shenanigans, so I’ll skip the gory details. If I can’t find a way to make a story at least a little funny, then I have little interest in telling it.

I’ll have plenty to say in future about my eight days at sea on Miss Rankin. It will take be a few days to digest it and work on the photos.

Nevertheless, I did get a couple of interesting shots yesterday evening at the Port Moresby Royal Yacht Club.

This shot is just at sunset, before it started raining:

Port Moresby Royal Yacht Club at sunset

It got very cold. I was clad in a t-shirt and shorts, my customary attire, and I was distinctly underdressed for both the weather and the social scene. The PMRYC is a planet away from Madang. I was so far out of my element that I wished I could fade into the shrubbery and shiver while waiting for the dinghy back to Miss Rankin.

So much for the country bumpkin in the big city.

Later, it rained and got considerably colder. I got this shot by putting my G9 on the table at the edge of the bar and giving it a full fifteen seconds exposure:

Port Moresby Royal Yacht Club on a rainy nightTo madden Air Niugini further, and avoid having a blank spot in my December posting calendar, I’m cheating by back-dating this post by one day. It’s my pathetic way of thumbing my nose at Air Niugini for messing up my schedule yet again. It also allows me to pretend that I arrived home yesterday – when I was supposed to.

As if I have anything important to do . . . Sure.

* I’m a Permanent Resident of PNG, not a Citizen. So I use the term “our nation” loosely. I do, however, use it with pride.

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