April 2014 was my first exploration Papua for a conservation and management work. Forget about work thingy this post is about what I see and think about Papua region!
1. Sagoo Trees all over the place
Sagoo trees is a palm tree and staple food for all Papuan until about the 1970’s, The Indonesian government introduced rice in West Papua and Papua of Indonesia (previously called as Irian Jaya). More Papuan are attached and depended on the rice nowadays. Some of you might see some sagoo leftover, eat papeda (Papuan sagoo dishes served with roasted fish) and how they process sagoo tree near river with traditional equipment.
2. Black people for sure!!
I don’t want to be racist at all. But, YES, this is for sure and you can see they are running wild everywhere. I see their difference between their facial face especially in coastal area. Also from my journey, we took a transit flight to Biak (that’s near the Manokwari or Kepala Burung Area). Different with the coastal group, the upper mountain Papuan group is very tall and somehow secretive than the coastal one. You can imagine they have many languages with sub family like in Sarmi. Anyway, Sarmi actually is a 5 major ethnic group in Sarmi Regency (Sobey, Armati, Rumbuay, Maniren, and Isirawa).
3. Pacific ocean, Baby!!!
Yeah it is A-PACIFIC-OCEAN. I don’t know with you all but it is great to see other sea other than Indian Ocean. It is so vast and magnificent wild. I went to northern side of Papua and at the time Chilean tsunami come from the other side Pacific ocean (Whoops … we can see the high tide but it was not in killing mode though!). Plus East Indonesia sky is always the best which perhaps because of less pollution. I almost find skies in the eastern Indonesia always bluer than western side. It is beautiful in the same time. Don’t forget about the low clouds everywhere.
4. Crazy and Bizzare Animals
Papuan animals and plants are always mysterious for most people especially biologist. It is really cool to see then directly in the wild!! Once I went to see them to found out a foot prints of a Northern Cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus). So many parrots in the sky and make sure you see the one and only hornbills in Papua (Rhyticeros plicatus or Papuan Hornbills). Always prepare your camera or binoculars just in case you found something interesting! :) Too bad my X10 didn’t good enough for long distance photos. Next time I will be back with much better camera somehow!
5. Beautiful landscapes and wild things!
Indonesia no doubt has beautiful place to go including Papua. From mountain, beaches, lake always has interesting for sightseeing. Lake Sentani is one place I recommended to go. It is the most beautiful lake I ever see in Indonesia. Well I went Danau toba with its magnificent sunset last year but Lake Sentani cannot be compare to Danau Toba! They are beautiful in different way. I am sure other lake in eastern Indonesia has their own magnificent view as well.
6. Totally ignorant to foreigners
I went with one of my directors and he’s a Briton … funny thing not many people see this as extraordinary scene like in other Indonesia area. I think it is missionaries’ influence back in 1960-1970 so looks likely most Papuan already get used to with white people. For me this is perfect! Some times it is annoying to get a lot of hassle especially even you-are-actually-an-Indonesian. Many people tend to see me as foreigner either from China, Japan or Korea (LOL).
#Photo above is Lake Sentani landscape.