PAPUA NEW GUINEA
(Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini)
- Location: Oceania
- Capital: Port Moresby
- Language: Tok Pisin
- Population: 6,064,515
- Total Area: 459,854 sq km
- Currency: PNG Kina
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 3.49 liters
- The most popular drink: Beer is the drink of choice and is normally served warm as there is often a lack of refrigeration. The local brew, SP Lager, is owned by Heineken.
Papua New Guinea is a beautiful jewel in the south-western Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most culturally diverse nations on Earth, with 850 indigenous languages and as many traditional societies; beautifully rugged and covered with lush rainforests and active volcanoes, and, because it is one of the world’s least explored countries, it is thought to be home to many yet-to-be discovered species of plants and animals. An interestingly-named country, Papua is a Malay word describing the frizzy Melanesian hair, and New Guinea was a term coined by the Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez who noted the resemblance of the people he had seen earlier along the Guinea coast of Africa.
The people of Papua New Guinea are some of the most culturally diverse people in the entire world. In fact, Papua New Guinea has more languages spoken inside its borders than any other nation on Earth, with over 800. Because of the rugged mountains which divide the tiny island nation almost in half, many villages were not aware other villages existed, even though they were only a few kilometers away. And to this day, there are tribes of indigenous people who have little to no contact with the outside world.
Like many islands in the area, Papua New Guinea’s diet consists of certain staples such as yams, sweet potatoes and rice, along with bananas, coconut and mangos. Pork and fowl is available in certain areas and in coastal villages, fish and shellfish form a significant part of the people’s diet. Kai bars are the local fast food joints of Papua New Guinea, and offer dishes such as fried chicken, greens and sweet potatoes.
Lager beer is by far the most popular beverage consumed by the people of Papua New Guinea. After beer, rum and scotch whiskey are a close second, with a small portion of educated women in the urban cities preferring white wines imported from Australia. “Jungle Juice,” a distillate of fermented fruit that was first introduced to the island in the 1800 by whalers, is still made and consumed in certain regions.
One of the greatest celebrations in Papua New Guinea is the Waghi Sing-Sing, a show held in the village of Nondugl, where time has stood still and looks the same way it did thousands of years ago. The traveling show takes visitors to iconic and mysterious places on the island to get an intimate look at how these indigenous people live their simple lives.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Jenna Bruce, Fairlee, VT
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