Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Consistently ranked in the top ten least livable cities in the world, Port Moresby, the capital and by far largest city of PNG, has a formidable reputation. The high violent crime rate is top of mind. Information online says not to walk anywhere. Canada’s travel advice recommends hiring private security while in the city, in addition to granting PNG the distinction of being the only non-African country with an orange “avoid non-essential travel” rating.

Get into town and you’ll see the what the PNG government promotes. Fancy hotels, giant malls, and billboards in Waigani district. A stunning parliament building in the style of a Sepik haus tambaran. There’s a shiny new convention centre built for the 2018 APEC summit, next to Ela Beach, surrounded by glitzy mid-rises. The pièce de résistance? A giant “Amazing Port Moresby” sign by the shore, at the best spot from which to watch the sun set.

Reality, as usual, is somewhere in between.
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