Sunday, 13 January 2013


 The Husbang and I doing some light gardening.

Lae, in fact Papua New Guinea in general is often described as "90 90".

90% humidity, 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

December and January in Lae are particularly hideous. There's not a lot of differential in temperatures up here. Days and nights might vary by only a few degrees. It might be 34 degrees Celsius during the day, and drop to 30 at night.

Lae is the opposite from POM, or from Northern Australia in that the dry season is October to May and wet from June to September.

Not that you'd know up here. The only difference is that the wet season has SLIGHTLY less humidity and slightly more rain.

December through January is a nightmare for anyone unlucky enough not to get out or "Go South" as it's referred to.

It's a particular nightmare if you have curly hair. I currently look like the ageing love child of Phil Spector and Don King.

Spookily, this is a pic taken off Wiki and looks disturbingly like me. Right down to the double chin and glasses. As an adoptee, it gives me pause for thought...

Think Florida in August and then add some. Think those one or two January days in Melbourne every year and then live them for two months. 

And Dec/Jan is right in the middle of the Dry, so it only rains every few days.

Think words like Torpid, Sapping, Vile, Damp, Moist, Muggy, Clammy, Sticky, Steamy, Soggy, Sultry, Wet, (This, of course, leads to your garden being able to be described as Lush, Verdant, Flourishing,
Dense, Prolific, Rank, Teeming)

Think trying to live and work in a Sauna.

Most roads in Lae are unpaved, so the dust is thick and tangible in the air, and covers every surface, not matter how hard or quickly you clean.

Many people think living 8 degrees south of the Equator means a tropical paradise, replete with sandy white beaches and swaying palms.


Lae is mostly overcast. Thick grey clouds hang in the valleys and across the city most days. Today, as I type this, it's pretty typical. Not a breath of wind stirs the leaves of the galip tress across the road.

The sky in the above photo is pretty typical of an average Lae day. So are the smiles and radiant happiness of our mates, BTW.

We're lucky enough to live close to the water, and MOST days, but not all, we get a breeze about 4pm in the afternoon, but the rest of the day and night we rely on ceiling fans and air conditioners.

You know you live somewhere hot when you set your aircon to 27 degrees Celsius  (80.6F) and it feels frosty.

The other side of living in constant humidity is the toll it takes on your belongings. Things rot. Leather shoes and bags, unless cleaned with vinegar regularly, get a green powder mould on them. The Husbang's suits which are almost never worn, become coated in white fuzz if not aired regularly. Photographs, some irreplaceable, must be properly framed or a destructive mould grows on their surface.

Cockroaches are a fact of life. Along with sugar ants and rats, but that's another post. 

It takes a year to acclimatize up here. You need to have lived through twelve months of Lae's weather before you start reaching for a long-sleeved T shirt in June, because it's a chilly 84F, but EVERYONE struggles with Dec/Jan no matter how long they've been here.

Once again, it's not for the faint-hearted.


  1. Oh, honey! I would trade you some warmth for some of our cold. Hang in there, only a couple more weeks til February.

  2. I went back to Melbourne last year, where it was 12C (53F)and nearly died from the cold. My blood's too thin to deal with Chicago in Winter!