Sometimes the best ideas are not your own, so thus driving 18 Horus roundtrip to see the Mummies of Aseki was nit mine. Was this site though worth the slog? Well yes and indeed, no….
Getting to the Mummies of Aseki
Like much of Papua New Guinea, which is a bit of mess the roads to Aseki are not great, which means a few things, such as a very long journey, four wheel drives and the infamous African massage….
The idea to go here came from a customer, with it to go at the end of my Goroka Tour, but it was a good enough idea that 5 other souls decided to brave the journey too.
First stop on a trip of this magnitude is to go to Lae, the second largest and thus second most messed up part of PNG. From here we got up at 3 am to brave the long and at first dark journey ahead.
Many stops were had on the way before we arrived at about ten at the Aseki village of Angapenga, there’s no mummies here, but this is at least where the negations start. Amazingly some people do not realize that remote places REALLY need negation and you cannot book it like Disneyland, but I digress
Oh and you gotta hike up a big hill, but I managed it!
What the mummies of Aseki?
Everyone you ask seems to have a different story about their origin of these mummies, but we do know a few things, such as they are over 100 years old and that the current crop of tribal guys are the 5th generation.
We also know that the practice probably started due to some god bothering missionaries who managed to get one of themselves shot by the Aseki. Peace was made through the providing of salt and for some reason they then decided to smoke said bodies (yes like the food) and splatter them on red clay before putting them in lifelike positions….
It is we might add no linger practiced today, which we were told of by the tribe leader, who was very friendly.
What is it like to see the Mummies of Askei
Overall I would say very macabre, but also that I think it depends exactly where you go as there is more than one site available. Some it is told have one even more macabre affair going on, but light, roads and danger make seeing more than one difficult.
It is though truly interesting here and indeed I would say worth the journey, at least if you have stamina for the dive, the hike and indeed the skill in the art the deal….
Street food Aseki?
While the mummies of Askei do not offer street food, these rural areas have drink stops for warm beer, as well as true Papua New Guinea street food.
This included the savory bananas, potato on a stick, bettle nut and of course the humble saveloy, truly one of the best street foods the UK ever exported!
So, overall I would call this achievement unlocked. Yes it was little bit like handwork, and like anything very different to how II had imagined, but when I reached the summit I was at least proud that I had done it, particularly after the drive. You can check out the Street Food Guy Papua New Guinea Tours here.