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Postcard from Papua New Guinea
------------------------------------Travel section------------------------------------

In spite of the existence of Kina (currency) and credit cards in
Papua New Guinea, locals still use barter and cowry shells for transactions - living directly off the produce of farms and the sea.

Hichki explores the mysteries of the lost land - Papua New Guinea, with our guest traveller, Madhurantika:

“My next assignment is in Papua New Guinea”…and I get mostly blank looks, a few stares of disbelief, and a lone “wow!" Known as the "Land of the Unexpected"… any amount of preparation falls short. In fact it is a country one must not plan for at all but just soak in… The sheer beauty of the country, whether it’s the highlands, the islands or the mainland. Sunrise and sunsets. The people - their culture, language, food and lifestyle. The colours you see in nature and the people.
Nothing seems not to surprise you.

And then you can find yourself standing in front of spewing volcanoes, shaking up with frequent earthquakes, scuba diving to relics of forgotten volcanic islands, dancing with people in grass skirts and waking up to the call of the bird of paradise.
Being a land of contrasts adds to the mystic charm - 700 air strips and yet the capital is linked to the rest of the country by road, literacy levels are very low, but 700 languages are spoken across the nation, cashless mobile banking options are being encouraged while my colleague pays his bride price with shell money and pigs, it is ranked as one of the poorest economies but is rich in natural resources and has a strong currency, endowed in mystery and yet has attracted many across centuries since the first contact with the Europeans in the early 16th century. Papua New Guinea is not a usual tourist destination and yet a chance to travel here should never be missed.

Madhurantika Moulick is a development professional, using every opportunity that comes her way to travel, based in hmm....being settled can be very unsettling. Reach her at madhurantika@gmail.com.
Photo credit: Anil Paul
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