What Time Is It? (And Other Questions)

Did you know that New Guinea is the second largest island in the world (following Greenland) and that its closest point to Australia is only 150 km? Here are some other fascinating facts and questions that I’m often asked about Papua New Guinea (PNG).

What time is it?
PNG is GMT +10 hours and does not have daylight savings time (we are too close to the equator). So, if I wanted to call my family at 6 pm in the evening their time (Minnesota, USA when daylight savings time has ended), then it will be 9 am THE NEXT DAY for me. That’s right—you can’t forget the International Date Line. Make sense?

What is the temperature like?

On the coast, it is quite hot and humid, often soaring well into the 90s (33–38 C), and perhaps dipping into the “cold” temps of 70+ F (22–26 C). In the mountains, I can wake up to the 50s F (13–15 C) and potentially reach the 80s (27–31 C), but most of the time sit around a gorgeous 75 degrees (24 C). It tends to be cooler in rainy season.
Look at Kainantu's forecast here, a town only half an hour from Ukarumpa.

What seasons does it have?

Rainy and less rainy. Rainy season tends to follow Dec–July and less rainy (some places call it “dry”) is Aug–Nov. However, the seasons will change depending on the part of the country.

What are the earthquakes like?
PNG is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means volcanoes and earthquakes are relatively common (so much so that I don’t particularly notice the ground shaking anymore). Because one plate of the earth’s crust is slipping under another, the ground will swell and roll, but buildings rarely get severely damaged (most are under two stories and are built on stilts out of flexible bush materials)

What side of the road do they drive on?
The side with fewer potholes.

Though, technically speaking, they drive on the left side of the road, which means a US American like myself needed to relearn how to cross a road (make sure to look the OTHER direction first!). In reality, most roads aren’t striped and drivers simply slalom their way through the pockmarked minefield of a road.

Do you have monkeys in PNG?
Nope. We do have cassowary birds, cuscus, echidnas, tree kangaroos, Birds of Paradise, fruit bats, crocodiles, thousands of fish (we border the Great Barrier Reef), and the Queen Alexander Birdwing (the largest butterfly in the world, with over 1-ft wingspan)

What kind of fruit do you eat?
Bananas, bananas, bananas! PNG has hundreds of kinds of bananas, both eating and cooking (like plantains). I also love the variety of pineapples, mangoes, guavas, lemons, limes, oranges, laulau (bush apple), papaya, passion fruit, strawberries, and tree tomatoes!

Why do you have such inconsistent spelling?
It’s because half the time I use Commonwealth spelling (centre versus center, favourite versus favorite) and half the time I revert back to my US American English tendencies. In addition, PNG uses the metric system and writes the date DATE/MONTH/YEAR which I think makes infinitely more sense than the American version of MONTH/DATE/YEAR. (Of course, this can result in some terrible confusion if you don’t check which system you are using…)

What is its capital?
Port Moresby. PNG is made up of 22 provinces, two of which are brand new.
I don't hear much about PNG. Can I find its news anywere?
Sure! Have fun perusing these sites:
What is its tallest point?
Mt. Wilhelm is 4,509 metres (14,793 ft), which means we can get snow. I know: a tropical island with snow. It’s weird.
Where can I find resources on Tok Pisin (PNG's trade language)?
Check out these cool sites!

What other questions would you like answered?