Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 37: Papua New Guinea


That's what I heard when I announced the latest country.  Then the next question was, Why?  And my answer was, see question #1!!  I want to learn about places that are off the beaten track, as well as, the popular countries.  It makes me feel proud that my kids are bouncing in their chairs chanting "Papua New Guinea"!!  Try it for yourself- it's pronounced "popwa new ginee"- it's just fun to say! 

 I'll be honest, I always thought that Papua was the capital in the country of New Guinea.  Well, I was wrong (twice in one week!!).  The capital is actually Port Moresby (9.50°S/ 147.11°E)  The country is named  Papua  New Guinea  and it  makes up the Eastern side of the island of New Guinea, which is one of the largest islands in the world.  The other side of the island is the Indonesian territory of Irian Jaya. 

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the world's least explored countries and also one of it's most culturally and biologically diverse.  There are 100s of different indigenous ethnic groups and some estimate over 850 different languages spoken within a population of under 6 million.  I found an interesting video on youtube of a cultural festival.  It showed a few of the different tribes in full costume, singing chants and dancing.  It's really cool.  Many of the tribes in PNG are still very primitive and some of the areas they live are so remote that they have never seen white men.  There are still large areas of the country that have never been explored. 

The parts that have been explored are very rich in plants and animals.  There are marsupials that are thought to have walked over the land bridge from Australia around the time of the last Ice Age.  There are many of the birds that are called Birds of Paradise found in PNG.  Because their feathers are so beautiful, these birds have become endangered in the rest of the world.  PNG is also home to more species of orchids than anywhere else. 

Interesting cultures, interesting plants and animals, beautiful beaches and land.  Oh, and don't forget!  It's fun to say!!!  Sorry for the late posting this week but I was having "technical difficulties" and it's spring break so both kids are home :)

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