Papua got me from the very first steps on this world’s second biggest island – New Guinea at the edge of the world map with its African beats, that were running on the dusty streets along with the yellow angot-buses, locally known as taxis.
As we stepped off from the ferry after three days on the sea, it felt as if we were entering another country. This here was not the Indonesia I used to know. Here we have some other rules of the game, this here is Papua.
The first marry little bus charmed us with the interior colored in pink. There was a man dressed in pink T-shirt, holding his hand on a pink gearshift and tiny pillows of pink LOVE were running over the front window, where there was written just one word: CINTA – and that means LOVE, of course. The driver turned the base louder and we head across the pale white streets that had tarnished under the sharp sun. I can hardly say that love was in the air – it all rather reminded me of that fake plastic love, that can be manufactured. But I was high on my heels just because I had finally reached Papua – and it was all about to begin. Only later on I realized that perhaps these very first minutes here had some symbolic function to play leading me into my new life in Segeri. As everywhere, where love is so desirable and needed, and yet so hard to achieve, it has to be written within the endless simulacrums, kitch, in the romance of the secondary experiences and hopeless fantasies. Until it takes over the real… But whatsoever – we’re all living it. Just as the people in Papua, just as the warias, just as us.
Our old friend Eka from Sulawesi wanted us to meet some people of her family here. Going on with the flow, we ended up staying a few days with an uncle that was sharing a small simple house with his daughter-in-law and her sweet child. The house was very basically furnished, we were always eating on the floor, and she was cooking on the floor, and washing dishes were we all had shower and took a piss.
Our uncle had been married four times. “A relationship ends, I get married again. Another relationship ends, I marry again,” he was stating smiling. He works as a driver with a very old and rusted minivan. Each morning he leaves the city, taking people to the nature – and he doesn’t need to drive much until the road ends, and the wild takes over; in Papua you hardly travel by land. In the afternoon they return, with piles of bananas and other goods from the lushy hillsides filling up the minibus completely. He’s a gentle and sincere man, knowing how to explain stuff just like an ideal grandfather, even if it was something very basic, or something more multifaceted, like for example warias. He was always finishing his thoughtful descriptions with a statement: “…so this is a waria.”
The family along with the neighbors took us straight to the beach, as it was Sunday. This is s day off for all Papua, and the crowds were taking good use of the amazing tropical beach, which is just around the corner from Segeri. This here was another kind of enjoyment what I saw – something that could never be together with the westeners (how bad I hate to use these categories). Here we see no bikinis, no sunbathing, but we play with the water and and sand, we feel happy, as their faces seemed to say. I felt quite happy too, but just couldn’t get myself too high on that beauty, because even this was too much of plastic. There was so much plastic trash on the beach, that I almost failed the feeling of being in nature, being connected. Oh dear cart of modernity, where the hell are you riding?!
But all in all, I was fascinated by it, fascinated by Papua.