Here's the thing. The Internet has made the world a VERY small place. Did you know that if you google for information about Lae, PNG, you get me and my blog! So here's a tip. If you're relocating to Lae, make sure you check out who owns and services your compound. If it's Pelgen or Tivon STAY AWAY! Possibly the most badly managed compounds anywhere in PNG.
The "property manager".. and I use those terms advisedly, is STILL yet to respond on the following:
1) Day guard let 6 people into the property without ID, based on the fact they were christians. Specifically Jo Ho's. No ID check. No coming to my door asking if I wanted nutters who believed that their invisible friend in the sky was judging their every action, nothing.
2) Despite repeated complaints about one of the security services, specifically Axe Security (another business you should run away from very VERY fast if you find you're allotted to a compound that uses them), last night we had a brawl out the frot of the compound as the Axe guard has a little business on the side.. he charges people money for re-charging their mobile phones, using the compound power. Now I am all good for a bit of entrepreneurial nous, but when the owner of one mobile phone came to collect and didn't have the money, a brawl broke out.
Noice. Safe. Classy.
This is the company that the compound as a whole, had to band together and threaten to withhold rent money just to get a fence higher than 3ft, and some razor wire. This, despite the fact that the compound is in the centre of town:- an area not known for its safety and low crime rate. In fact, the week I got here, the building we back on to was robbed at gunpoint. That's less than 10ft off the back of my house.
Did I also mention that there are 4 single women here in the compound, most days alone and unattended?
3) I haven't even begun to wax lyrical on the gardener.. or "flower boi" as they're known up here. You remember the one.. the GARDENER WHO PULLED OUT FOUR WEEKS OF CAREFULLY SOURCED AND PLANTED TREES/SHRUBS/PLANTS... including 10 banana trees, a vanilla vine, a rambutan vine, a mango tree, a custard apple plant and a pawpaw tree.
However, the buxus hedge around the property is FABULOUS, and smells delightfully of cat piss.
Pelgen's/Tivon compounds are possibly the only compounds in PNG to have not a single, solitary tropical flower in them, despite the fact that frangipanis, hibiscus, mango and curry trees grow wild and rampant by the road side.
Look, I can deal with the fact that 75% of the guards don't speak English.. I'm in THEIR country, and it's certainly inspiring me to speak better Tok, but there are English, Indian, Hindi, NZ and local women all in this compound, and our common language is English.
If you're guarding a predominantly English-speaking compound, in a city the Lonely Planet describes as "the most dangerous city in the world outside a war zone" you'd source staff that can be (mostly) understood by the occupants.
I'm not talking about a theoretical discourse on of Proust's 'A La Recherche du Temps Perdu',(" once in a swimsuit and once in evening dress"), I'm talking being able to differentiate between YES and NO.
4) And have we discussed the pool boi yet? The one who keeps showing up and turning OFF the pool filter, so a delightful layer of green scum grows over the pool within a few hours, rendering it useless? WHY the companies like mine pay money to house us in a "secure guarded compound, complete with pool" I don't know. They'd save a SHITLOAD of $$$$ renting a stand-alone house with no pool and telling us that we've got to source out own guards.
My company pay $12,000K a month per unit here. There's a house up the street, with higher fences, razor wire, no pool and no security for $7000K.
Look, rant over, but seriously,if you're moving to Lae, check out the compound your company is allotting to you, and make sure it's not run by these numbats.
This place is NOT for the faint-hearted, it's not down-town suburbia. This is a place where 8 y/o's walk around carrying big bush knives and guns. This isn't about protecting my stash of priceless jewels.(joke), it's about providing a reliable, resourceful and APPROPRIATE security service, something Pelgens/Tivon seem both unable and unwilling to do.