Note - some of this post is written in retrospect from notes written on the day. Some of it was written on the day.
Got up and got ready for the long drive deep into Sarawak to the Lebanak River. Lucky we were in a rather comfortable coach which had barely any people in it, so there was loads of space to stretch out. Passed by a field covered in cattle egrets..
Our first stop was at the market in a country town. We only had 45 minutes which flew by. The main attraction was the fruit and veg available – a bunch of funky rainforest produce. I need a few months to stay there and learn how to prepare it all!
Second stop – Chinese for lunch. Smoking was allowed in the restaurant – blech. We got slugged another 50+RM to buy an obligatory gift for the Iban people. The tour guide makes sure one visitor brings say candies and another brings exercise books and pencils and another brings toothpaste and toothbrushes. Note there are about 20 kids to buy for. Wonder how much they get from all the tourists, and pity if you’re on a tight budget and weren’t expecting to have to pay another 50 – it would be nice if they let you know about this ‘tradition’ before you went on the tour.
We finally arrived at the ‘jetty’. They all called it a jetty but there was no jetty, just a river. Lucky it was low tide and we didn’t have to get our feet wet getting on the longboats. The boat ride was lovely. A river through deep rainforest. Shade and breeze. The boat was also surprisingly comfortable until about the last 10 minutes.
||The boat ride
There was a cool breeze along the river and stunning rainforest scenery.
The Iban Longhouse, smells of chook poo. Basic accommodation, but not too bad. Mattress was saggy. No water pressure in showers. River cold and slippery but nice. Sat in it at dusk and watched tiny bats flitting around in the treetops.
Fighting cocks just outside the guest house – apparently cock fighting is illegal but they still do it because it’s ‘tradition’. Lots of dogs and cats around the longhouse.
Natives smoking in the longhouse – made it almost unbearable to breathe. We were told they live out here for the fresh rainforest air away from cars and factories and such. Yay, then they just fill their lungs and those of any visitors with tobacco smoke.
|Skulls of the enemy
The Iban people were headhunters until recently. The skulls of an enemy are a symbol of prowess for a warrior. This skull is actually that of a Japanese invader. The Japanese invaded Borneo and tortured the natives during the war, so the natives fought back and took heads. Fair enough I say.
Dancing was… like people at a school dance. Hardly dancing. I did like the music though. Got to wear argus feather hats and ‘dance’ along.
Rice wine – okay. Rice Whiskey – nasty shit.
Bamboo game, like jumping rope with the risk of getting your ankles whacked with bamboo. Pretty easy once you have the rhythm.
Got up twice during the night – torch died the first time. Lucky it was a full moon. It did cause the roosters to crow all night but I got used to that pretty quick.
Lots more photos of Day 10 can be found here - http://pics.livejournal.com/gemfyre/gallery/00017bas?page=1