Varirata National Park, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, Travel 2 Comments

The Adventist Accreditation Association committee visited PAU from 21-25 August 2008, and so it was appropriate to take them on a tour to the nearby national park.  Although it drizzled most of the afternoon, we still had a great time.  Below is a selection of photos, which again highlights the beauty of Papua New Guinea.

The following map shows our trip overlayed on Google Earth.  The straight line at the end is due to the road being completely under trees, which resulted in a straight line to the point where we came out of the forest near the lookout.

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If you wish to manipulate the map yourself, install Google Earth and then open the following file:

.  This will allow you to zoom in and review the track in detail.

The following shows the approximate elevations for the trip (keep in mind, that the GPS algorithms favour horizontal positioning over vertical positioning – hence the slight differences).

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UOB Bank Singapore

Everyday Life, Frustrations No Comments

I have banked with UOB in Singapore for many years, and have generally been happy with the service.  One exception was last year, when I sold some investments in the US and transferred them to my Singapore UOB account, and then went to invest those funds with UOB, I was told that I was not entitled to certain offers because it was not “new funds” being transferred to my account.

However, I am being really frustrated by UOBs policies now.  I moved to Papua New Guinea six months ago, and wanted to keep part of my portfolio based out of Singapore (in addition to other investments I keep in the US and Australia).  I had a term investment (six figure sum) with UOB that matured today, and wanted it credited to my cheque account so that I can make some capital purchases in Papua New Guinea, and reinvest a significant amount in some other investment with UOB.

So I contacted UOB a week ago, to make arrangements.  I had to contact my personal banker several times to get any update, and I was finally told today that I have to wait for them to send me original forms, which I then fill in and sign, and return to Singapore.  It has taken almost 5 working days to get this final response from UOB.  What makes it worse, is that they are not willing to forward the documents electronically.  They will not send or receive electronic forms or documents.

I did ask my personal banker on Wednesday last week (almost a week ago) and provided him with my temporary address in PNG (as I was travelling at the time), so that he could send me the forms by courier if he thought that there was no other option, but that didn’t transpire.  Now, one week later, he is asking for my address to send original documents.

I cannot work with a bank that is so difficult to deal with remotely.  As you can see on my web site, I travel extensively, and often in Third World Countries.

Singapore is a wonderful country, and I hope to work there again in the future.  It has a great IT infrastructure and encourages the use of technology at all levels.  Unfortunately UOB is not keeping pace with the country in which it operates.

I have looked at alternatives in Singapore, and have shortlisted two banks that may meet my requirements.  I will post my findings in a few days.  If all goes well, I will transfer my entire Singapore Portfolio to another bank.

UOB has just added itself to my reperoire of “how not to do customer service.”  It is a pertinent illustration of some key failings by major companies that I can use in my classes, workshops and presentations.

Sirinumu Dam, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, Travel 4 Comments

We rose on Sunday morning, to find out that the locals recommended that we don’t travel to the Sirinumu Dam that day, as it had rained all night and the road would be very difficult to traverse (if at all).  However, to most of this, this was just an additional incentive to go.  Rebecca had invited seven students to join her in the car, while I took the motorbike – my first serious outing in muddy conditions.

As always, I can’t help but highlight the beautiful countryside in PNG.  It was a gorgeous morning, despite the occasional drizzle.

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It didn’t take long, before the road became distinctly muddy!  Rebecca had never done any 4WDing, but she took to the challenge with great enthusiasm.  She was assisted by seven back seat drivers who cheered her on!

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In Papua New Guinea, one is never alone.  We met lots of people walking along the road.

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There is mud – and there is red mud!  The red mud is extremely slippery.

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Given her inepericence, Rebecca did a superb job keeping the car on the track and moving.  However, she had failed to put it into the 4WD mode that locks the center and rear diff-lock (which ensures that all four tyres spin in unison).  As a result, she got stuck in one of the more difficult stages.  Yes, that is her co-pilot with a big smile … and yes, even Rebecca has a grin on her face as she is getting towed out.

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Here are a couple of pictures of where she was stuck.

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As can be seen in the above photo, one of the other cars had difficulty here – but they managed to drive out.  Look at the tracks to see how that vehicle slid sideways!  It was very, very slippery.  Fortunately, Rebecca learned how to engage 4WD with both the center and rear diffs locked!  I must encourage her to go out again and use that new skill ;-).

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This is the dam wall, and in the next photo you can see the what is at the bottom of that wall.  What a huge spray of water!  The car’s are small in comparison.  It was very majestic.

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Yes, this is Rebecca driving!!

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Finally things got easier again.

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We then proceeded to Crystal Rapids, where we enjoyed a nice picnic and swim.  However, even there, the road was extremely slippery.  It was a slow crawl climbing this hill!

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One of the nice things about mountainous terrain is the when the clouds hang low over the mountains.  It was a very pretty sight.

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Lae, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, SDA Church, Travel No Comments

On the 14th of August I travelled to Lae to deliver a presentation at the Annual CPA conference.  Here are some of the photos of this scenic town in Papua New Guinea.

This is the Lae town centre.

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The surrounding hills and harbour are absolutely stunning.

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The conference was held at the Lae International Hotel.

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The moon rise was spectacular that night.

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On the 15th, the CPA organization opened its Lae office, and Pr Geoffrey Pomaleu dedicated the building.  Notice the picture of Christ on the wall?  Papua New Guinea is very much a Christian country.

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On Saturday the 16th I went to church in Lae.

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The Seventh-day Adventist Union office.

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And, as is often the case, my flight to Port Moresby was delayed by two hours.

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