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Re: Ch. 1: Friends, Enemies, Strangers, and Traders
This chapter starts off with a beautiful scene of Jared Diamond going bird watching in a remote highland forest in Papua New Guinea. His plans are spoilt by the mountain villagers who insist the idyllic glade is too dangerous for Diamond to camp without a large armed escort, even though no one is in sight.
The territorial dispute here between the river and mountain people apparently goes back thousands of years, somewhat like if two communities in adjacent suburbs of a city spoke completely separate languages and engaged in Hatfield-McCoy style feuds dating back centuries. Diamond is patiently told the story by the oldest man there of how he saw his great-grandfather speared. And yet, when some of these river people turn up, exercising their right to use the path, everyone has a friendly conversation, reflecting the complex cultural relations between these old neighbours.
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