Blazing the Trail from Bali to Papua New Guinea

Selong Belanak, 8 January 2023

Welcome to my expedition log, where I’ll detail my journey from home, in Bali, all the way to the remote, cannibal Asmat tribes of Papua New Guinea.

The rivers are navigable highways. Crocodiles 15 feet long prowl their banks, and jet-black iguanas sun on uprooted trees. There are flocks of brilliant red-and-green parrots. Hornbills with five-inch beaks and blue necks.

And secrets, spirits, laws and customs, born of men and women who have been walled off by ocean, mountains, mud and jungle for longer than anyone knows.

Until 50 years ago, there were no wheels here. No steel or iron, not even any paper. There’s still not a single road or automobile.

In many ways, the Asmat world at the time was a mirror image of every taboo of the West. In some areas, men had sex with each other. They occasionally shared wives. In bonding rituals, they sometimes drank one another’s urine. They killed their neighbors, and they hunted human heads and ate human flesh.”

– Papua New Guinea, Carl Hoffman 2014

Please forgive my lack of editing and formatting in these entries as all of my efforts are done on-the-go and without the comfort of my normal writing environment. All words come typed from my phone, in the rush of each day’s adrenaline.

I’ll keep my reflections and observations as raw as possible for the next few months, even including a photo/video or two when I can.

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