The National – Thursday, December 23, 2010
By RIGGO NANGAN
LAE, said to be the industrial hub and the second biggest city in Papua New Guinea, will be celebrating a gloomy festive season this Christmas.
It is generally dusty during the day and pitch dark at night.
There is not one Christmas decoration or neon lighting of any kind that could be seen at any popular spots in the business district, along the main streets or the industrial centre of the city, to indicate the superlative identity of the city or one that would bring a festive mood to the residents and visitors.
A drive around town the other evening showed only Niugini Electrical Company, displaying a home-type coloured lighting at the front of its building at Air Corps Road.
The normal street lighting starting from the provincial capitol in town and along Mangola Street, through the old Lae airport, the main market area and on down to the main wharf, was in pitch darkness because the power was out.
Other streets and roads in other parts of the city were no exception.
The frequent power blackouts, grasses growing tall in the roundabouts and along most of the streets and roads, plastic shopping bags, papers and other debris lying around seem to be the trademark of the city.
Potholes are welcome party for visitors entering the city from Bulolo, the Highlands and Madang, and a headache for the residents and it seems there is no end, not for sometime yet.
A total patch-up of potholes in most roads and streets, would have been a perfect Christmas gift for the hard working people of Lae, as some annoyed residents put it.
They also asked if there were any town planners, administrators, curators, etc, who might have some thoughts of put something up to add some festive touches to the season.
There was no public gathering or special events planned for the city, apart from the Carols by the candlelight staged during the Ahi Festival last Wednesday at the Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium.
That was organised by the Ahi people and the festival sponsors included Digicel and Riback Stevedores.
Meanwhile, people from surrounding areas within the province such as Bulolo and Wau, Boana, Kaiapit, Wampar and along the south and north coastlines, have frequented the city last week and this week to do their Christmas shopping.
All forms of transport were very busy ferrying passengers to and from the city.
Many residents moved away from the gloomy Lae city to a more enjoyable festive season in the rural areas with their families and friends.