Change of Plan !!

To make sure that we could change our plans we had to make sure that we could get visas if needed and get the boat in and out of countries without a problem. After searching and checking on line we found we do not need visas for the Solomon Islands and we can obtain one on arrival in Papua New Guinea if we land in a main port, if we land in a smaller port we could be delayed by some considerable time if there was not a customs office there. Better safe than sorry we wanted to try and get our visas for PNG before leaving. There was an Australian and New Zealand visa office in town which we had already visited as we enquired about getting our Australian visas when we thought we were heading for Darwin, they told us that they get processed somewhere else by post and may take a month to get back, or we could do it on-line for free, err OK!! We paid them a visit to enquire about visas to PNG but they knew nothing and sent us to the Immagration office. This was a completely unmarked office above some shops, you would have no idea in a million years what it was unless you knew, fortunatley Porac had already been there when we checked into the place but only found it by knocking on the locked doors of the nearby guarded French Embassey. We went upstairs to enquire about whether there was a Papua New Guinea embassey/consulant in the country. The main behind the desk with at least 3 stripes on his lapels was trying to be very helpful and thouroughly searched through the local telephone directory. He shuffled about, sometimes coming out of his office and walking up and down the corridor before returning to his desk. He asked another colleague who then he also picked up the telephone directory. He told us that we should go to the visa place but we told him we had just come from there. Another colleague suddenly remembered the name of the PNG honuary consulate but did not know her address. We later found out that this was not uncommon as nobody had an actual address on the island !! He said that we should go to the Police station as they know her and where she lives. We went to the Police station but they did not know where she lived so they sent us to the Post Office as they knew where everybody lived. Upon arrival at the Post Office we saw our friendly quarantine guy Tambo, he was pleased to see us and we told him about what we were trying to do. He not only knew of the lady but had her phone number and knew what hill she lived up !! He gave her a ring and she was only around the corner doing some shopping, she said she would be back at her house later and we should get some passport photos made. Tambo offered to give us a lift up ‘that hill’ later during his lunch break after we got the photos done. Photos made Tambo true to his would turned up in his works mini bus and gave us a lift to the ladys house. On the way he stopped off for some diesel and put 500 Vatus in, this was 2.87 litres, half a galloon, not sure why so little, maybe the quarantine department were broke or he had to add some extra diesel as the hill we were going to climb was extra steep !! Paperwork completed we were to return 2 days later to pick up our visas. Tambo gave us a lift back to town and we bought him lunch as he saved the day for us. He was also going to give us a lift in a couple of days time to pick up the visas, this he was doing purely off his own back and in his own time during lunch. He was a really nice guy who always stopped to say hello, he always seemed to be either on his way to the airport, on his way to see some yachties, or on his way to see a cruise ship come in. He seemed to work long hours and weekends too.

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