Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea occupies the Eastern side of the island of New Guinea in the Southwestern Pacific. It is one of the most sparsely-populated countries in the world. The official languages are Hiri Motu (from the Austronesian family), Tok Pisin (a creole), and English, and there are hundreds of others. The terrain includes volcanic peaks, tropical rainforest, lowlands, wetlands, and coral reefs. The climate is tropical, with varying degrees of precipitation (yes, snow as well as rain). This is a megadiverse country in terms of flora and fauna. Native animal species include the Greater Bird of Paradise (the national bird), an egg-laying mammal called the echidna, and the two-foot-tall Matschie's tree kangaroo. Papua New Guinea has the sixth-fastest growing economy in the world, but most people live in poverty and use subsistence-based agriculture to eat. The economy is mostly based on mining and natural resources these days, and agriculture for both domestic sale and export is also significant. Papua New Guinea is essentially a wild, beautiful place with minimal infrastructure for travelers. You can go diving in remote Tufi, or climb the challenging Mt. Wilhelm. This is also a fantastic place to witness and experience extant indigenous cultures. Tari is a small town where resident wigmen still wear traditional dress, and on Saturday you can rub shoulders with locals down at the market. Witness village life on the isolated Trobriand archipelago's low-lying, coral islands. In the capital of Port Moresby, Parliament Haus is designed according to traditional Highland style. Papeda, or sago congee, is a popular starchy staple along with rice, taro, and a sweet potato called kau kau. These carbohydrates are very important in the diet. Common vegetables include greens, mushrooms, cucumbers, and snake beans. Pork, chicken, game, and fish are frequently eaten. Vegetables or fish cooked in coconut cream are tasty. Try fried yam patties for a sort of Melanesian spin on latkes. Got a sweet tooth? Pomelo, pineapple, and passionfruit are common, and deluxe popo mango or banana cake would be a real treat.

Morobe Province