All kids like to dress up a bit, eh? And a bit of face painting? It comes with the territory, so to speak, down here in Papua New Guinea. All members of the tribe paint and festoon themselves in the exact same manner, from child to adult. There may be a few variations in the decorations for the adults, but I could not see them.
I saw all kinds of natives in various costumes, but none as hot as this. To me, they look like some kind of Rastafarian Chewbaccas. It's kind of like Chewie+Dreadlocks, eh? And it was absolutely sweltering outside. I was dressed in my Albert Schweitzer cargo shorts (not sure if he wore shorts, but if he did, he'd be wearing these) with a light t-shirt, and I was just dripping in sweat. I can't imagine what these guys felt like in these walking carpets.
Sometimes I make strange cultural references and send people to Wikipedia… but this time, I figure why not embed it? Today’s tribe was so interesting, I thought you might like to see the history without having to jump out!
Legend is that they were defeated by an enemy tribe and forced to flee into the Asaro River. They waited until dusk before attempting to escape. The enemy saw them rise from the muddy banks covered in mud and thought they were spirits. Most tribes in Papua New Guinea are very afraid of spirits, so the enemy fled in fear, and the Asaro escaped.
They then went into the village to see what had happened, not knowing the enemy tribesmen were still there. The enemy were so terrified they ran back to their village and held a special ceremony to ward off the spirits.
The mudmen could not cover their faces because legends say that the people of Papua New Guinea thought that the mud from the Asaro river was poisonous. So instead of covering their faces with this alleged poison, they made masks from pebbles that they heated and water from the waterfall.
The masks have unusual designs, such as long or very short ears either going down to the chin or sticking up at the top, long joined eyebrows attached to the top of the ears, horns and sideways mouths.
Daily Photo – The Mudmen in Papua New Guinea
I'm really thinking about going back to Papua New Guinea and taking some photo-friends. If you're interested, get on our Newsletter. Note we'll have to have you sign wavers out the wazoo. It's not the safest place in the world… but the photography there is amazing. You can visit the Papua New Guinea category here on the site if you want to see more photos.
We’re soon to announce 10 Photo Walks across Europe! Note these are all free events with great prizes… very family friendly and all cameras are welcome, from mobile phones to DSLRs. We have great prizes, all kinds of tips and tricks, and more! Want to find out first where we are going? Sign up for our Newsletter at www.StuckInCustoms.com/news
The only 1 of 10 cities we have announced is Lisbon, Portugal. That’s where we’re getting started with our tour bus for our trek across Europe! I’ll be there with the whole crew and it’s gonna be amazing. We’re actually doing that Lisbon photo walk right after our workshop there in Portugal at the Portugal Photo Adventure Page.
Anyhoo, here is the highlight video for our photo walks across the USA. Thanks again to everyone that came out for that one. This time, we’ll be doing even more Facebook Live and other online events so people can join us from all around the world even if you can’t join us in Europe.
Advice in Goroka
If you head to Papua New Guinea, you should REALLY go with a tour group or professional tour operator. I don’t usually like doing official “tours,” but it’s such a wild place that you really need some local expertise.
Daily Photo – Child in Goroka
It’s great shooting all the grownups, but the kids are even more awesome! After seeing this, it made me think I really should have done more of this.
I’ll tell you a quick story about Goroka. This is a ROUGH place… no hotels… I ended up staying in a pseudo-military compound with a bunch of rough old diamond miners. There was this one guy that ran the biggest coal mine – he was from South Africa – we would drink every night at the bar together. He had this GIANT brass pipe he would carry around. I finally asked him what is the purpose of the pipe, and he said it was so that he could hit natives in the chest if they didn’t do what he said. I was like HOLY SHIT DUDE.
We’re always making small changes to the blog. We have a couple of really fun ones coming, so get ready for those. As always, please let us know if you have any problems or issues with the blog — constantly trying to improve it! 🙂
Daily Photo – Family time in Papua New Guinea
One thing I didn't expect to see in PNG was all the families that were dressed up together. I suppose because it is such an on-edge place that I would only see grownups. But entire families were not rare to find. Babies, teenagers, grandparents, and everyone in tow, all in the same costuming as the rest of their tribe
I’ve always seen this acronym when referring to a travel destination, and it wasn’t until I got there did I realize that it stands for Papua New Guinea! I’ve posted a lot of photos from here before, but here’s a few new ones from some of the amazing tribes there.
Daily Photo – Making friends on Papua New Guinea
And here's another one of my favorites. Whenever I re-visit and work on these photos, it reminds me I need to take more people photos, eh?
I love how the mudman here has a little statue of himself. He really pulls it off too.
If you decide to go to PNG out into the bush, get ready. There’s no hotels or any of the common “tourist” services. You’ll have to go through a service. For example, we somehow stayed inside a private military compound that was owned by a diamond miner. We met him one night at the bar, and he told us how much the locals loved him because he built a lot of roads. And then, he said, if the locals don’t love him, he hits them in the chest with a 12-inch bronze pipe.
Daily Photo – Rene is the one in the top left
Here's my amazing friend Rene Smith, who never fails to make me laugh. We were in Papua New Guinea together, completely out of our element. We're actually ALWAYS out of our element, but especially here. I think the thing is that Rene and I are always laughing and have open hearts, so we never really run into any trouble. I think the idea that we were not head-hunted in Papua New Guinea is a pretty good indication of that. All it has done is made us more bold in our travel adventures. If we can survive here, then we can survive almost anywhere else, I think. Where's next Rene? Let's hit Iraq and Syria to spice things up! 🙂
I am still not sure if I like this photo or not, but I THINK I like it. There's something very interesting about it that I keep coming back to. I had a rough idea that I wanted the photo to come out like this. Actually, I think I'm changing my mind. Every time I look at it, I like it a little bit more.
Hey! Guess what? I’m taking my whole family of 5 on a harrowing 30-day trip around the world, visiting 5 different countries. We’re hitting Thailand, India, Oman, Qatar, and Italy! I’m really excited. I’ll make a bunch of these little videos along the way if that’s okay… here’s day “Zero” where I’m getting a little packed up!
I got this cool new camera from DJI called the Osmo. I gotta make a review of this thing… it’s mega awesome. I’ve been using it a lot to make selfie-videos or travelog kinda things. It’s a really fun (and productive!) toy!
Daily Photo – People of Papua New Guinea Part 18
This whole tribe had a serious manner about them the entire time, and never broke character. It was BAKING HOT under the noon sun, but they didn't seem to mind. If you think she was sweating, you should have seen me! These are some tough gals for sure.
I don’t know if you guys follow me on Instagram but I was wondering if there is a better way to get video onto that platform? My use-case is I want to get them from my Mac to Instagram… I’m currently using a cool program to get photos up there called “Uploader” that I got from the Mac App store, so I’d like something similar for video.
Daily Photo – People of Papua New Guinea Part 17
This was a tribe of mostly older people. Most of the kids seemed to have gone away. They make all their own face paint from their own local plants, so it's an easy way for one tribe to tell figure out what area of PNG another tribe is from.