After Absolute Travel staffer Noël Gilbert returned from Papua New Guinea with images that would make even National Geographic drool, the region instantaneously jolted to the top of our intrepid staffers’ wish lists. So when our friends at Papua New Guinea Tourism mentioned an Asaro Mudman and Huli Wigman wanted to visit us in New York City, we were elated.
On October 13th, Absolute Travel welcomed Papua New Guinea to our neck of the woods. Needless to say, it was not a typical day at the office. An afternoon spent designing custom, luxury journeys was replaced with traditional New Guinea dance lessons in front of Cipriani’s Downtown and planning webinars was forsaken for wide-eyed window shopping along West Broadway with our guests, Wigman Oberia and Mudman Kaleno. Later that evening, we hosted an intimate party to share this special glimpse into Papua New Guinea at a chic SoHo loft with 75 of our closest friends. It was an unforgettable evening of discovery, New York City style! The festivities were topped off by adventuring through Times Square and NYC’s upscale Core Club. Not exactly the activities Oberia and Kaleno are accustomed to in their daily lives back home! Here are a few of our favorite moments with our new friends from their stay earlier this month.
With a network of personal relationships across the globe, Absolute Travel connects clients with people who are our friends, not strangers from a guide book. Pictured, Wigman Oberia and Mudman Kaleno prep before taking on the SoHo streets while staffer Noël Gilbert gets her paparazzi on! They were pleased that most of their traditional garb got through customs, but they did need some extra greenery for their grass skirts which they found at the Chelsea Market!
Billed as the South Pacific’s Final Frontier, Papua New Guinea beckons travelers seeking a refreshingly authentic experience in a country packed with natural wonders and cultural diversity (Papua New Guinea is the size of California with 820 indigenous languages). It’s truly like no place else on earth. The same has been said for New York City, the “no place on earth part” at least, which is why we loved bringing the two together for the ultimate juxtaposition. This image of Wigman Oberia is an Absolute Travel favorite; we love the contrast of Oberia’s wig and hornbill necklace with the cab in the background which gives it a full-blown downtown vibe! Barefoot and barely there outfits, they were a bit chilly, but their energy and excitement for New York City overshadowed their goosebumps!
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to bring together old and new friends for a rare glimpse into Papua New Guinea. Staffer Noël Gilbert’s photographs decorated the room giving the space a rustic feel, while Oberia and Kaleno mingled with the crowd, charming everyone in the room! It was truly an evening of discovery and we’re confident every single guest left feeling a child-like excitement about the adventure, and their new friends.
A very special guest Alistair Ballantine from Oberoi Hotels & Resorts shares a photograph from his visit to Papua New Guinea over twenty years ago! We loved hearing about his adventurous stories, told with cheerful abandon and a big smile. His travel experiences to Papua New Guinea all began with “I remember the time when…” – making us appreciate the power of travel that much more. It never leaves you.
Next stop: Core Club for an insider’s look at midtown’s swanky side followed by the quintessential New York City adventure: Times Square.
We’ve sent our travelers to Papua New Guinea’s lowlands and highlands for over a decade. The destination is an intrepid traveler’s fantasy – and an experience very few have had. Please get in touch with Noël Gilbert to learn more about her time in the region and learn more about this one-of-a-kind destination.