I decided to have some fun and put on my sunscreen (for lips).....our host was a bit surprised when I did this and probably thought it was peculiar behavior on my part. (if you click on the photo you'll see how he is kind of looking at me)He was a really good sport though, ever gracious and friendly and respectful, as were all of the villagers with...more
Women don't normally run around shooting bows & arrows (that's mens' work) so our host is probably thinking I must be a bit strange.....We were lucky enough to be driving over to this villager's place when we were stopped in the road by a man who seemingly appeared out of nowhere....he had a bow and arrow and wasn't exacly the welcoming committee...more
The Huli Mountain men of the Highlands are known for their extraordinary wigs...hence they are referred to as the "Wig Men". It is a custom preserved and celebrated. The Southern Highlands were the last place in Papua New Guinea to be explored. The people are warriors and subsistence farmers, with a rich culture of tradition and decoration.The wigs...more
It is customary for the village men to sit around and pass the pipe...nothing narcotic about the tobacco, although the tobacco itself is raw and really harsh. I can't recall if I tried the pipe (for fun)...I'm sure I did.If you get the opportunity to try anything offered to you by a local, it's a good (and gracious) idea to always indulge.more
I was fascinated to learn that it is the men, not the women, who wear "make-up".In fact, we learned that the men spend most of their day in groups, chatting, gossiping, smoking their pipes, and putting make-up on. (This is when they are not engaged in a tribal fight or a sing-sing, a colorful group dance which the Highlands villagers do during...more
I could have fainted with relief when I saw how this guy was sleeping....realizing that there were groups like the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations where you can spend a night or two with the locals, which includes the sleeping accomodations...!In all seriousness, the Huli people are accustomed to sleeping like this and find no...more
We were treated by one of the villagers, showing us how he makes fire. It was like something out of the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy".....Of course when I tried to make fire that way, we could have sat there all day waiting for a tiny column of smoke to appear!It's safe to say this guy had a lot more practice "making fire" than I did....more
I soon learned that women do the brunt of the daily work, as seems to typify many cultures.Here we see a Highlands woman showing me how she plants her crops (in this case, cabbage or taro). We were encouraged - much to the delight of the villagers - to "try" whatever it was they were doing, which in this case, was back-breaking work!I found it...more
We stated that we wanted to see some of the "natives" and by this we meant that we wanted to interact with some locals. We had a super guide (he really did tell us the story about hearing "the big bee" which was the first time he'd heard/seen a plane, much less white people) who was sweet and knowledgeable and very well regarded by the local...more
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.
If you're lucky enough to catch a real live "Sing-Sing" then you'll have seen everything.I never did see a true Sing-Sing - one that was orchestrated by the locals in honor of some tribal festival or wedding or special celebration - but we did get to see someone decked out in what would be typical "Sing-Sing" decor.I'm attaching my photo which is a...more
As mentioned earlier, the men (not the women) are the ones who are preoccupied with their faces. Make-up plays a big part in a Huli man's lifestyle and he devotes care and time to painting his face a certain color or in a particular pattern.Seems this is done more to the critique of other men, not necessarily to attract women. The women? They're...more
I brought some of these home-made cigarettes back to the States with me because I found it so curious that they wrap the tobacco in newspaper....and the newspaper itself was pretty interesting (of course I couldn't understand a word).But use caution if you actually want to try smoking them....remember that this is raw, unprocessed tobacco and...more
My camera battery ran out 3 days into our trip, and we hadn't even left the Highlands yet. (like an idiot, I'd forgotten to check battery status or bring extras).Of course there weren't any shops up there in the Highlands and our next destination was to stay at another wilderness lodge along one of the Sepik river tributaries, so I knew my luck had...more
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.
Once you've crossed a bridge (or two), it's inevitable that you'll come across a waterfall. There are several near the Ambua Lodge and other areas in the Highlands mountains....we stumbled upon streams, rivers and waterfalls and the foliage is prolific as a result of the cascading water.If you have the time, take a "nature walk" or hike along...more
I'm afraid of height so this was a bit of a challenge....imagine a rope and bamboo bridge with the width that equals the length of your foot; then imagine that there is a running river underneath you as you swing and totter along from one side to the other...Let the fun begin!(If you spend a day exploring the Highlands, you'll come across one or...more
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?