Timika, West Papua - Kurt Friehauf

Timika is an active little town in the flat lowlands (yellow box).  The dense jungle was originally cleared by the Japanese military during World War II for an air base.  Much later, Freeport used the site as a logistical base camp for developing the giant copper and gold mine in the highlands to the north.  We stayed at the Timika Base Camp one summer - an ideal place for logging drill core for our research.
Stacie and I had occasional opportunity to adventure away from our work in the drill core shed and explore the local market.  These photos were taken in the main market in Timika.
Rickshaws and moped taxis in front of the marketplace.  Moped taxis are called "Oceks" and the drivers sometimes provide helmets for passengers.  In reality, the helmets would provide about as much protection as a halloween costume, but one does what one can with the materials available.
Ocek taxi drivers waiting for customers.  Machismo is everywhere.

Ocek drivers and other young men hang around in groups like this both inside and outside the market. 
More guys just hanging around.
Although racial distinctions are definitely present in Indonesia, a lot of people clearly made friends across racial divides. 
Papuan people sold their produce in the open space ("parking lot") of the market.  This mother and son sold sugar cain, plantains, sweet potatoes, and some herbs and lettuce-like bundles.  Many of the fruits and vegetables sold in the market are unlike anything I've ever seen (e.g., spiny fruit about the size of a person's head at bottom of photo).
There was more of a variety of foods and spices inside the market.  One could buy toiletries, electronics, books, ... just about anything your average Timika resident might want.
People in the market really were accommodating and friendly to me.  I wonder how people here in Pennsylvania would react if approached by a stranger and asked to pose for a photo.  People are nice pretty much everywhere I've traveled with only a few exceptions. 

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