Papua New Guinea, Nuts to You

My first to visit the coffee growing regions of Papua New Guinea left me dazed and confused…

If you travel, perhaps you have been somewhere that confuses you a bit, where things don’t quite add up, where you can’t get a good sense of where you are.

Perhaps that happens geographically, because it seems like some places you have been, and unlike any place you have been as well. Perhaps its the local culture, the people, unlike any you have encountered.

Perhaps its the economy, you can’t get the monetary conversion right; it’s cheap one place and ridiculously expensive another. Perhaps it’s security, and you can’t decide whether all the happy smiling people are friendly, or whether, in a different circumstance, they would steal everything you possess.

What if it is all those confusing things … all at once.

What if every ten minutes or so, someone says something that you just can’t quite believe the said. Like “that guy with the crutches on the road, I had to shoot his leg, during the siege, when the village elder told the locals it’s okay to take our farm and kill us.”

But then you just sorta wave and drive on. Isn’t that sorta odd?

Okay, that’s extreme. (But it happened, on my PNG trip, literally)

What if you were at work, and there was an argument with a visitor, and he punched you in the face, and everyone you work with just waited to see how it turned out, rather than helping and later they all said they were “there for you” and were extremely nice and caring.

Things that seem one way change quickly in PNG, apparently, and trust is in very rare supply.

The stories like these were pretty much endless, as well as very different ones that were much more heartening. It gives depth the the lit-crit term “multiple narratives”, and makes a brief visitor like me think this is a very complex place, and somewhere not quite like any other place. -Tom