One of the advantages of living in the suburb of Preston, in Melbourne, is that we have our own fresh produce market. If you hang around for long enough and late enough, you can pick up some real bargains, specifically on Saturday afternoons when the market is closing down for the week.
I got hooked on fresh food markets 40 years ago when I was living in Port Moresby and shopping at the Koki market was a weekly event. In those days, you could spend a couple of kina and walk away with a week’s supply of fresh fruit and vegies.
The big drawback to having a weekly market, however, is the number of cars it attracts. The fact that Preston also has a large shopping centre surrounded by acres of carparks means that the suburb is now officially the carjacking capital of Melbourne. We also get more than our fair share of shop-lifting and other forms of petty theft. It’s annoying to have that kind of reputation when you know that the vast majority of residents, stall holders and shoppers are law-abiding and peaceful.
I gather that Koki now has a similar reputation for being the carjacking capital of Port Moresby. I have also read claims that it’s not safe for tourists to enter the market without a guide. When I look at pictures on the Internet of Koki market and its neighbouring village as they look today, it’s not that side of them I see. Koki has grown and evolved into what has the potential to be one of the world’s great markets. It’s still picturesque but with a much more diverse range of merchandise than it had back in the old days. Koki village, too, is looking bigger and more prosperous.
Tucked away in my albums are some photos of Koki as it looked over 40 years ago and I’ve put them into this blog as a reminder to other old-timers of how it used to be. I hope they brings back some happy memories.