Black Magic Betel Nuts

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
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Trip End May 09, 2011


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Flag of Papua New Guinea  , West New Britain,
Sunday, March 6, 2011

Taking a break from diving we have a frustrating morning, sorting our flights and accommodation for the next stages of our travels. Nothing in PNG is simple or easy. Everything takes time. One just has to relax and accept that!

After an excellent lunch we take a beaten up Landcrusier to the now abandoned and forest consumed town of Talasea. Abandoned for its lack of deep water harbor Talasea and the World War II airbase that it hosted have long disappeared. However, partially disintegrated in the jungle or a US Mitchell B-25 Bomber and a New Zealand Lockheed Vega Ventura. Remarkable well preserved they are an impressive site.

Heading back to Walindi we stop to visit the local village. Our driver, Joseph, explains the Black Magic associated with Betel nut trees. Identified by a red cross anyone stealing Betel nut from these marked trees will overnight be unable to stop itching - cure only being available through penance and restitution of goods to the rightful owners! Walking through the village it is clear that we (white people!) or of as much interest to the villagers as they to us. Small children follow us, as we tour the village gardens and dwellings, cheekily shouting 'Alo' before running away.

Everyone we meet in west New Britain is friendly, curious and happy to make our acquaintance. It is a pleasant change to Moresby and Lae. Whilst 99.9% of the locals on the mainland exhibited similar qualities a concern still remained. Here we are much more relaxed, the villagers thoroughly enjoying seeing digital pictures of each other and being able to watch themselves on the video camera!
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