Friday, August 28, 2009

Landing in Tari

Even the most well traveled person experiences a rush when landing at Tari in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands.

A quiet "wow" is often the first work uttered as the traveler steps off the plane onto Tari's airstrip. The air feels as fresh as Muskoka's. The sky looks as blue as Tahoe's. The rest of the scene isn't quite as familiar.

A baggage handler has a stem through his nose and ferns in his hair. Some faces are decorated with clay and paint.

Men walking along the roadway wear yarn caps in patterns that reunite colours perhaps reminiscent of the summer of '69.

An even more creative design sense has been used to create the woven bilum bags women are carrying over their foreheads, leaving hands free to carry firewood, gardening sticks and umbrellas.

And about those umbrellas, there are hundreds and hundreds of bright and over sized umbrellas opened as shelter from the sun. Where did they come from? All those colours, they are used in ways rarely encountered in visitors' regular lives.

After the initial "wow" factor is processed, there is the grope for cameras. Lens caps are removed. Electronics whirr in preparation to record. This landing marks the beginning of a very good trip.

copyright (c) 2007 - 2011 Mary Jane Murray