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The best way to get around the Highlands is by jeep. When I was in PNG, there were no rental operations in the Highlands as it was still quite undeveloped. Ambua Lodge supplied the jeep (and the guide) courtesy of Trans-Niugini Tours, which we gladly accepted.
When you're not hiking or exploring on foot, the way to go is by jeep (or Land Rover).
It still may be the only way.
Written Jul 18, 2004
Luggage and bags: An easy to carry duffle bag or large back-pack will suffice.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even though PNG is near the equator, it can get cool in the evenings. Bring along a jacket for the night time.
Hiking boots/shoes are a MUST
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring along your usual toiletries, and don't forget the saline nasal spray for clear sinuses!
Photo Equipment: Check your camera battery before you get to PNG, because you never know if the same miracle can happen twice! (bring along an extra battery just in case)
Miscellaneous: The children love to paint their faces and adorn themselves with anything from a telephone cords and paperclips to bar code stickers and leaves.
If I had known then what I've learned now, I would turn back time and bring along some stickers (Disney or cartoon characters would be great) for the kids, and maybe some soluble face paints or even some inexpensive plastic jewelry accessories. They are passionate about self-decoration and would probably go crazy to receive such a gift from a foreign guest.
Updated Jul 18, 2004
Favorite thing: I loved the Highlands people....they were ferocious and tender, strange and warm, and mostly they were really friendly and unaffected.
As two women traveling, we were never once harassed or approached by any of the men - in fact I found it odd that we never even earned a second glance. I think it was because we were oddities in their world, not the other way around.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory is when these two men agreed to pose with me and they were very sober about it....as though it were somehow very important. They were so dignified.
I can't recall why they were so small, even for the Tari people (who are somewhat shorter than the average European)...I can only remember that they belonged to some special tribe...probably a kind of pygmy tribe of some sort.
They were very sweet and showed me inside their huts...all kinds of cassuary bones (a large bird indigenous to PNG) and feathers and spears and so forth...
Have I said "amazing" yet?
Written Jul 18, 2004