Goroka Market, with ready access to produce from the fertile Highlands and Markham Valley is one of, if not the best market in PNG for fresh fruit and vegetables. It is certainly one of its most colourful markets.
Given the dearth of fresh produce in Port Moresby and my relatively frequent visits to Goroka for both work and pleasure I would often stock up on fruit and vegetables while here. I was not the only visitor from Port Moresby to do this and it was a common sight to see people checking in at the adjacent airport with boxes and bags for fruit and veggies.
The market was also a great place to pick up artefacts – bilums (woven string bags used to carry anything from potatoes to babies), colourful highland chats, baskets, masks and all sorts of carvings.
As I recall the market was open every day (excluding Sundays) but it was always at its best on a Saturday.
The other great thing about this market was that villagers from quite far afield would come in in colourful traditional dress – always a pleasant sight for the visitor.
That said, the Highlands have always been (and still is, I might add) a fairly volatile region.
While most trouble, protesting and rioting was done further up towards, and beyond, Mt Hagen, Goroka was not immune to the occasional fracas. The market, adjacent park or airfield would typically be the scene of any such fracas.
Such disturbances, as there were, were of a tribal nature and didn’t involve or seek to involve expatriates or tourists. I especially recall one particular incident, not in Goroka, which I and a couple of visiting friends from the UK literally flew into. My friends, not knowing how things operated in PNG, didn’t realise that they were not the intended target for the spears and bows and arrows we encountered and were convinced they would die, but that’s a story for another review.
My attached market photos, pre digital age, do not adequately depict the colour or the range of produce available at this wonderful market. My final picture, fortuitously depicts a woven basket, bilum and highland hat all in one shot!
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on a couple of years living and working in Papua New Guinea. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Not A Night Out At The Ballet – Goroka Show – or to start this loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – Papua New Guinea – Personal Memories.