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Jun 06, 2019 04:07:45

The weirdest thing about living in Papua New Guinea

by @juliasaxena PATRON | 273 words | 🐣 | 272💌

Julia Saxena

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When you always live in the same place, you could never imagine that there's anything strange or weird about the way things are around you. 

It's when you move that you start noticing strange things about your new place (and even the old one when you return) ... and eventually, also those become normal. 

The most peculiar thing I found when moving to Papua New Guinea is related to a fruit, officially called the areca nut. It's most commonly known as betel nut though. 

The betel nut is essentially a drug as it has a psychoactive ingredient that is similar to nicotine and hence highly addictive. 

The locals buy betel nut and lime from small street vendors (even though it's officially banned). They peel the betel nut and chew the inner core together with the lime. 

This chewing produces a bright red liquid that stains the teeth and the whole mouth. This residue is then spat out onto the streets. 

Imagine this ... bright red spots everywhere on the streets. To somebody who doesn't know what this actually is, it looks like blood! As if people get shot on the streets every day. 

People also like to chew betel nut while driving (maybe not the best thing to do because it makes you kind of high apparently) and then spit the red stuff out of their car window. If you happen to pass a car at this moment, you get a nice big red stain on your car. Yuck! 

Betel nut is unfortunately not only addictive but very unhealthy. It destroys the teeth and is linked to cancer growth. And ... nobody even knows about it. 


  • 1

    @juliasaxena - I remember this from my time in Brazil in the late 80s. I never tried it.

    Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | Jun 06, 2019 09:20:26
    • 1

      @brianball I'll never try it either for sure!

      Julia Saxena avatar Julia Saxena | Jun 07, 2019 03:28:44
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