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Pictures of our Papua New Guinea trip
(Part 2: Mount Hagen Cultural Show August 13th, to 15th, 2010  - without our vehicle)
Part 1: Milne Bay – (Port Moresby) – Mount Hagen – Lae
Part 3: Lae – Madang – Goroka
Part 4: Goroka Cultural Show September 17th, to 19th, 2010
Part 5: Goroka – Mount Hagen – Kumul Pass – Mount Hagen – Goroka – Lae
Papua New Guinea Map
      Map of the Pacific
latest picture: August 15, 2010
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01  One of the most stunning sights:
The face painting and headdress of a
“Huli Wigman” from Tari in the
Southern Highlands. The tribe of the
Hulis numbers about 150’000 people
02  Banner welcoming visitors to the
Mount Hagen Cultural Show 2010,
which takes place near the airport
03  Chanting man from Pimaga
that lies in the Southern Highlands
province, moves forward
04  Participants from Mt. Hagen in
the Western Highlands and from the
Enga and Chimbu Provinces. Each
tribe shows a specific type of dance
05  The Kagamuga Show Ground
near the airport of Mt. Hagen is filling up
– the huge “singsing” is in full swing
06  Women from the Mt. Hagen
region are dressing up in
the outer show grounds
Pre- or mini-show – one day: Entry fee Kina 150 p.p. (= US$ 56)

It is Friday, August 13th, 2010. The sky is cloudy, dense fog hides away everything, rain pours down. Therefore we are more than surprised when at 7am a bus of the ‘Trans Niugini Tours’ arrives to take us to the pre- or mini-show of the famous ‘Mount Hagen Cultural Show’, which takes place at the traditional ceremonial ground of the small Paiyagona Village, 12 miles West of Mt. Hagen. Before leaving, Emil grabs his new Blackberry phone we bought only recently on our way to Papua New Guinea at the Duty Free Shop in Singapore – a luxury we allowed us only after a lot of consideration in order to have better internet access in PNG over the mobile net for sending and retrieving emails, where otherwise the possibilities are very limited. Following the advice of the ‘Trans Niugini Team’, we leave all the other valuables behind, as besides Port Moresby and Lae, Mt. Hagen belongs to the most unsafe places too.
07  How do I look?
A “Huli Wigman” dancer is
starting to put on his makeup
08  A Mt. Hagen man is applying
carefully his war-paints on his face
09  A last touch! The beautiful
makeup of the “Huli Wigman”
is almost finished
10  Women from the Mt. Hagen
region are sitting in the grass
finishing their dress-up
11  Not yet finished:
Mt. Hagen woman fixing
leaves around her waist
12  A Mt. Hagen woman is heating
stones for a “Mumu” – a traditional
underground earth oven
13  A group of Mt. Hagen women
in their stunning appearance enter
the showground dancing,
singing and drumming
14  The Mt. Hagen tribes were great
warriors. Their body decorations still
reflect the former glorification of the war
15  Stamping and beating their drums:
The “Pimaga” men from
Southern Highlands
What we want to avoid is that the same incident is happening to us as it did to Azusa and Kazuto, a Japanese traveler couple, who ignored the warning and whose bag containing their personal documents and credit cards was snatched only two days ago, while walking through a sparsely populated area to town. However, it doesn’t really surprise us that they turned up again and could be retrieved for US$ 300. It remembers us very much of Georgetown in Guyana, where we experienced the same thing with one of our LandCruiser’s side mirrors with the only difference that it was already sold when we wanted to buy it back.
16  A Chimbu man poses
proudly for a picture
17  A “Huli Wigman” from the
Southern Highlands does not
yet wear his full traditional attire
18  Everything looks outstanding:
The headdress, the face painting
and the heavy shell collar
decorating the Mt. Hagen woman
19  The Chimbu man with its
beautiful headdress consisting
of different bird of paradise
feathers is an eye-catching sight
20  A man from Mt. Hagen wearing
his war paint and a young woman
from the Enga Province
are standing side-by-side
21  The Pimaga man from the
Southern Highlands, painted in
black, looks rather “wild” with
his unusual headdress sidewards
Rain still continues to drizzle when after a 20 minutes drive we reach the village of Paiyaguanda and walk through a muddy path to the show ground. It is only when we arrive and both, guide and driver, have already left for the airport to fetch new customers that Emil notices that his Blackberry is missing. It must have fallen out of his trouser’s pocket onto the bus seat. To make the story short: Nobody wants to have seen it. What a shame; we could enjoy it only for a couple of days!
22  The huge black wig is the main characteristic of the “Sili Muli”
men from Enga. This province
lies West of (Mt. Hagen)
in the Western Highlands
23  A “Sili Muli” men (Enga)
performance in full action. In an
amazing precision, their long aprons
flip out rhythmically in the front
24  A close up of an "Sili Muli”
man from the Enga province
25  A warrior from Mt. Hagen
holding his spear
26  The woman from Pimaga
in the Southern Highlands stands
out with her “modest” outfit
27  “Huli Wigmen” in full
traditional dress-up; but
their faces are not painted yet
28  Chimbu “Skeleton Dancers” –
painted half black and half white –
advance with very slow movements
and awkwardly bent positions. The
dance is a re-enactment of a myth,
recounted by a small boy who
had the apparition of those men
29  Black painted Chimbu dancers
perform in a snake line. In the back,
“Sili Muli” women and men
from Enga province form a line
30  Are the “Jimmi” dancers from
Ambullua not looking like
a conspiracy plot?
The mist finally rises slowly and reveals the green rolling hills that surround the festive grounds. It is an atmosphere of mystical beauty. Different ethnic groups appear and the performers start with their traditional dress-up and decorative paintings. Occasionally, they apply their makeup themselves with a tiny mirror, but mostly they help each other doing so. We cannot stop admiring the stunning work of ornamental art of the designs they produce, using mostly bright colors: Red, yellow, black and white, made from natural materials: Fruits, leaves, coal and coral powder.
31  Dance of a Mt. Hagen
group is in full action
32  The ”Asaro Mudmen” are smeared
with grey clay all over their body and wear
a fearful looking mask. It revives the
legend of the small clan which defeated
its enemy in this ghostly appearance
33  Chimbu women wear their mourning
34  The most decorative part
of the Mt. Hagen woman is the
huge bundle of shell collars
that covers her whole chest
35  A beautiful example of
perfection: A fully dressed-up
and face-painted Mt. Hagen man
36  A “Huli Wigman” boy is wearing the
traditional headdress of his clan made of
bird of paradise feathers. These head-
dresses are very valuable and passed
on from generation to generation
Many costumes, especially the head dresses, are adorned with feathers of paradise and other birds. When we express some concern about the birds killed for their feathers, we learn that the plumages are passed down from generation to generation and carefully preserved – a sudden rain would be disastrous for both, the feathers and the paintings. Also cowry shells, bead-strings, animal bones, leather and leaves add to the “wild-looking” appearance. Alone to be able to be part of these exotic preparations is a unique experience, all the more that the performers are extremely friendly and always ready to pose for a picture.
37  A performer from the Madang
province in his full traditional regalia
38  A group of the yellow-faced “Huli
Wigmen” tribe people gazing around
39  Chimbu woman getting dressed
40  Pimaga men from the Southern
Highlands, dancing, singing and
beating the ”Kundu” drums
41  A group of women from the coastal
region of Bogia in the Madang province
are closing in while singing and dancing
42  ”Sili Muli” women from the Enga
province holding each one a ”kundu”
drum, dance on the spot. They move their
legs constantly up and down and bow
at the same time forward and backward
43  Mt. Hagen women and children
always attract plenty of photographers
with their gorgeous appearance
44  Mt. Hagen women are
displaying their backs, decorated
with shells and leaves
45  Men and boys of the
”Huli Wigmen” group
are taking a rest
When at noon the eleven participating groups finally file into the show ground singing, drumming, stamping and dancing, the air is loaded with excitement. The rhythms of the drums are thundering, feathers are swaying and the dancing bodies are glistening with paints, oils, pig grease and sweat – a spectacle like out of another world.
46  A youngster from Mt. Hagen
in his full “singsing” attire
47  The beautifully elaborated huge
headdress of this Jiwaka man
(formerly part of the Chimbu province)
makes him look like a king
48  A Mt. Hagen man
creates furor with his peculiar
nose ornament from a feather
of a bird of paradise
49  Mt. Hagen mother and
daughter in the same
traditional face decor
50  The Mt. Hagen woman
with her face covered with
leaves is set up for a drama
51  The color of the headdress of
this Chimbu man is sticking out from
all the others. Interesting is his helmet
Main show – two days: Entry fee Kina 300 p.p. (= US$ 113)

Next day is the official opening. The first “Sing-Sing” – a Sing-Sing is a group of tribesmen who dress in traditional clothing and display their local dance styles, passed down from generation to generation – was founded 1961 by a colonial administrator who came up with the idea to bring warring tribes together for reconciliation during a mega-cultural-show. In the meantime, it gained iconic status and attracts around 100’000 visitors a year, but only about 500 are foreign tourists.
52  Chimbu women with boar tooth
collars hanging down to their bare
breasts in a relaxing moment
53  Chimbu men are dancing in a circle
54  Chimbu women show the same hair-
dress and face painting as Chimbu men,
wear however no helmets (> photo 51)
55  Chimbu group performing
a skillful ”stick jumping” game
56  Male dancers from the Mt. Hagen
tribe form in a single line and perform
a dance with rhythmic movements,
beating their drums
57  The plumes of the headdresses
of the Chimbu women from Kuka
are flying backward and forward at
their dance movements, but also the
wind is helping at the same time
58  Old man from Chimbu lightening
a cigarette – please note his jacket
59  Portrait of a “Chimbu Skeleton
Dancer” in his awkward movements
60  Liliana is posing with elaborately
decorated Mt. Hagen women
outside of the showground
We are already at the show ground at 8am under a blue sky with scattered white towering clouds. Souvenir vendors are just starting to display their arts and crafts – masks, bows and arrows, canvas with highland motifs, shell and bead jewelry and brightly colored traditional string bags, called “Bilum”. The preparation of the stunningly beautiful and interesting self-decoration is already in full swing outside of the showground, which we enjoy once more.
61  Small boy from Mt. Hagen
with his lovely feather headdress
62  Local people are following
and enjoying the Mt. Hagen show
with the same enthusiasm as we do
63  The feathers of the bird of paradise
on the headdress of this Mt. Hagen
man are especially beautifully
arranged. The bamboo rods on his
chest represent wealth, each one
standing for ten pigs “given away”
64  The old woman from Mt. Hagen
is holding a sweet potato in each hand,
which will be cooked in the “Mumu”,
the traditional underground earth oven
65  An old spectator from Mt. Hagen
is enjoying a cigarette during the show
66  I need to have a cigarette too!
– a Mt. Hagen participant in
the stage of dressing up
The show itself starts only at 11am, but when it starts – what a show it is! The cameras go wild when the performers are marching in, displaying their magnificent headdresses and body decorations: Warriors with bow-and-arrow, groups beating drums, the ‘Asaro Mudmen’ with their ghostly masks, the snake dancers, and tribe people covered with leaves and moss – each of the 80 performing groups is unique in its appearance.
67  Dancers from the Morobe
Province form a circle
68  A “Huli Wigman” displaying
his beautiful headdress
69  Leaves, fur and shells are the main
components of the outfit of the Mt. Hagen
women when performing a drama
70  A group of Chimbu women
make their appearance
71  A Chimbu woman in her
glorious ceremonial outfit
72  Richly decorated Mt. Hagen
women have a walk around,
each one holding a “Kundu” drum
73  A small group of show
spectators settled down at
the edge of the show ground
74  Arts and crafts sellers are
displaying their works
at the show ground
75  The elderly participant from Mt. Hagen
joins us at the tourist grandstand. He asks
us to buy him a coke, which we do to
make him happy. It was – except of the
entry fee – the only expense while we
could shoot freely more than 800 pictures
After one hour, the whole arena is in motion and the atmosphere vibrates of liveliness. The sight is so spectacular, so wild, exotic and emotional, that at the end of the “Sing-Sing”, we shot 800 pictures. It is very hard to make a selection for our website! Nowhere else in the world is the diversity of the cultures and traditions – even the languages – more unique than in PNG. We are very happy that we could include this highlight in our journey around the world!
More websites from Papua New Guinea:
Articles in newspapers about us in Papua New Guinea:
Article: "26-year journey around the world", Daily Newspaper "The National" - August 20, 2010
Article: "Travelling the world none-stop for 26 years", Daily Newspaper "The National" - October 21, 2010