River touring

The long-tail boat keeps going upriver, and the river is increasingly narrow. In one place it was blocked by a logjam big enough to build a house on, so we couldn’t just run over it at high speed. So the guide and Captain did what must be part of any respectable jungle trek: they got a big gnarly machete out and hacked a way through the mangroves to get around the logjam. Check.

Stayed in a longhouse in Mancong. Longhouses are, unsurprisingly, long houses, built from hardwood and divided into many narrow sections, one per family. Entire Dayak tribes can live in a longhouse, although these days many villages have grown too large for that. Accommodations are simple but comfortable, and Rusdy, my guide, was again working miracles in the kitchen for dinner.

Whenever I walk alone in a village, everybody stares at me, waves hello and calls out “yes mister”. Children want photos and adults, usually giggling veiled women, want selfies with their arms on my shoulder (hard because I am usually one or two heads taller than them). Children know a few English words but adults do not. Fun.



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