Today, we landed in the city of Tari in the Huli region. When we got off the plane, there were many locals staring at us because our skin was white, we were different and we learned that the locals liked to come to the airport to greet the new arrivals. They were the Huli people, their tribe’s language is Huli. I learned only one word in Huli, and that is “thank you,” which is “arame” (are-em-A aremay). The main language in Papua New Guinea is Pigeon, which is a mixture of German, Japanese and English. Thankfully most of the people we met spoke a bit of English so it was easy to communicate. The reason Pigeon is from those three languages is probably because those are the most common foreign travelers, and some of the people who first colonized PNG, that have come to PNG and impacted the cultures.
We went to baggage claim, which was pretty much a pickup truck with everyone’s luggage in the back. After we grabbed our luggage, we met our guide, Steven. We got in a bus and took a 50 minute drive to the lodge where we were going to stay, called Ambua Lodge. On our drive to the lodge, everyone was waving and yelling at us probably because we looked so different than all of them. Everyone we passed were dark skinned, pretty short (about 5 foot 3 for adults) and the majority of them didn’t wear shoes. Most people had dull colored shirts. The people looked dirty and muddy, and all were smiling at us. Most of them were carrying something heavy, mostly on their heads or on their backs in slings. Almost of the people were with other people, wether it was a group of school kids walking to or from school, or a mom and a child. Also, almost everyone we saw was smiling, so that means that they were all happy and grateful, even without electricity, WiFi and running water. We drove through many villages of people still living like ancient Native Americans with no electricity and running water.
Approaching the lodge, we drove down a small winding pathway. We checked in and sprinted to our room. It was a small hut, picture a yurt, with walls that were woven together with a type of weed and the ceiling was thatched. It was an awesome room, because it looked like a Native American home, but also had a comfortable bed, running water and power. We rested in our rooms for about an hour and then had lunch. For lunch, we had quiche (k-E-sh/keesh) which is kind of like egg and vegetable pie.
After lunch, we headed up to the front gate of the lodge and took a hike down a path that led through the rainforest. We walked on many wobbly and mossy vine bridges that looked like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. We walked by a river that was the one that was feeding water into the hotel and on to this little lookout point where we saw this awesome waterfall. We kept walking for about five minutes until we came to another bridge made of wood and was held together by bamboo vines. The bridge was rickety, but we crossed it without any issues. As we walked, we saw the true beauty of nature. All of the trees looming overhead were like umbrellas blocking our the sun. The thick bush on one side was so thick you couldn’t even see the ground below you. On the other side, there were roots that looked like caves from the trees above.
We saw many more waterfalls and we saw so many birds of paradise. The only things we could hear were rushing water and an orchestra of birds, unlike home where there are cars screeching and sirens blaring. We ended our walk arriving at a helicopter pad right near our room.
We were all exhausted from our big hike in nature, but when we stepped back into society we all wished we were all on the hike looking at the beauty of nature. We had an awesome day in Papua New Guinea.