Sunday, June 20, 2010

Buai (post by Bill & Liz)

Betelnut or Buai is something that many people in PNG are addicted to. The betelnut grows on a slender palm like tree on the coast, the bunches of nut are cut down when they are considered ripe and are then sold at markets or at roadside stalls, which are everywhere.

Paul climbing up buai palms.

Nan nambek selling buai at the local market. Most of the buai is on the branch next to her still.

The outer skin of the betelnut fruit is bitten off and the nut is chewed. Next a mustard stick is dipped into a powder made from ground coral shells, and this is also chewed and it gives them a ‘happy’ feeling, it is a mild drug. It is a bit disconcerting when your bus driver is chewing the buai.

The chewing of buai produces a red discoloration to the teeth and gums as you can see in the picture below.

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