Land before time – Into the Highlands of Papua New Guinea
From a fenced-window car, I see barbed wires. Everywhere. I also watch kids on the streets carrying machetes bigger than themselves. I have just landed in the deep mountainous interior of Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands – a place that has long set in the very edge of my imagination. On Thomas’car – our local guide – we head from Tari town to Tari’s countryside, in the center of the Huli country in the Hela Province. I’m pretty aware of PNG’s reputation for being especially dangerous, overrun with gangs of hoodlums and terrorized by violence. But I’m also mindful that Papua New Guinea is without a doubt among the most culturally intriguing frontiers left on the planet. I am traveling in a place that both frightens and excites utterly – because it feels like the real thing.