I went on a boar hunt and got a rat. Yum? It was a nice experience after eating plain rice and carrots every meal while camping out in the mountains of Papua. The conditions were very harsh and I was very underarmed:
I took this shot of the fully equipped native Papuan while strolling through the largest village in the mountains. It seemed like everyone, even the 6 year olds, had a bow & arrow or machete, or both, with them whenever they left the village. I guess that’s the norm of a society that was headhunters and hunter/gathers up until just 60 years ago.
Don’t confuse Papua with the rest of Indonesia, as they are nothing alike and the Papuans don’t like it if you do. After watching the Expendables for the first time, one of my Papuan buddies raved about how if Papua hired guys like Stallone and Jet Li, Papua could win independence from the rest of Indonesia.
The Free Papua Organization guerrilla movement (still growing today) actually began right in these mountains where these photos were taken. Uprisings are not uncommon in Papua, although more and more Indonesian troops (from Java, Bali, etc) are being stationed Papua in efforts to keep order. The Papuans’ desire for independence from the rest of Indonesia shouldn’t come as a surprise when you actually realize the differences they have with the rest of the country. Plus, the poverty in Papua noticeably more widespread anywhere else I visited in Indonesia. Many Papuans told me they looked up to Americans as a symbol of freedom and for their role in liberating them once already, from the Japanese during WWII. In fact, the Japanese rifle in the photo above was obtained during WWII.