By KEVIN PAMBA
I REMEMBER that Port Moresby’s Ela Beach was once known for its allure as a common meeting place for residents and sojourners on Sundays.
All manner of people congregated there to cool their feet in the water, feel the breeze on their face and just have a jolly good time. Some city folks loved to meet wantoks and friends at Ela Beach and stayed there until the last bus home in the evening. The beach and sea have something about them that lure people in great numbers.
All over the world, people are attracted to the sea and surf, and pay money to travel out of their own countries to swim, sunbathe, snorkel and relax in the sun.
Back home in Papua New Guinea it has become the same – especially in Madang town. The tourist town’s famous Coronation Drive seafront facing Astrolabe Bay has become a popular meeting place for residents and sojourners on Sundays. It started a few years ago and the number of people flocking there for a Sunday picnic or swim has been increasing, with people sitting around telling stories and taking in the sea breeze from the vastly clear blue sea of Raicoast. This is apart from the usual swimming and the odd snorkeling and even spear fishing by young lads from the suburbs and settlements.
People turn up in large numbers at the seaside between Tusbab Beach, Family Beach and Machine Gun Beach. These are not really beaches per se, but they are small clearings which are good enough for people to get into the water and swim in the majestic clear blue sea that Madang is known for.
One of the positive outcomes of this Sunday outings is that markets have appeared, with people selling food, drinks and snacks, and even home-made wares such as the famous Karkar Island bilums, Sepik baskets, Highlands bilums and meri blouses.
The dry weather helps. Madang is usually hot and humid but the weather has been warmer, or so it seems, forcing residents to find the cool breeze by the sea.
- Kevin Pamba is a freelance writer and resident of Madang.