Uhoh Jeremy, no bbq, Iban style.
Trip Start Dec 12, 2012
20Trip End Jan 03, 2013
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It’s another beautiful morning and warm very early
rained nearly all last night just after we went to bed. We’re sitting
cross-legged on the floormats eating breakfast and Jeremy comes into our room
during breakfast, Tuak in hand. “Want some?”..um, no thanks, it’s only 8am.
We have our breakfast and go out to see what the locals are
doing. Mmm..not much. It seems sitting around is a full time hobby here.
We set off on our jungle walk with Mawi, it’s all part of
the itinerary. 7 minutes later and not much jungle seen we’re at the riverbank
to head up to another longhouse and see a headhunted skull. Jeremy is our
boatman and we are mildly concerned about his early Tuak consumption but Mawi
assured us he has checked and he’s ok. Jeremy has loaded up the boat with
firewood and food for our riverside picnic lunch.
Off up the river we pull up and our commando boatman,
Jeremy, leaps ashore and chops up some bamboo to cook our lunch. We head on up
and the boat veers a little to the bank, Mawi and our other assistant yell at
Jeremy, he straightens up
At the longhouse we meet Kiro, the chief and his longhouse
is well….a bit shit. These guys are plainly much poorer than the Ngemah gusy
were staying with. We scull a stupid huge glass of Tuak and J-she dribbles most
of it down her face in a valiant attempt to show respect.
Kiro shows us his skull and pours some Tuak and roasted
barley (looks like popcorn) on it and they crack an egg on it’s head, it’s all
a bit staged, but it’s pretty cool to see a real human skull.
We are shown the flash new longhouse that the government has
built for them. It’s concrete, got 240 volt power, full plumbing, separate
kitchen area and an ablutions block but still very much in the longhouse style.
Kiro is very proud and uses my camera to take some photos of it.
Jeremy arrives and leaps into the rouai , “time to go!” he
exclaims in his boisterous way so we head off for lunch. The boat veers under
some vines and tree branches and straightens
guys yell again. We veer at high speed almost straight into the bank and the
guys yell at Jeremy like this time they are really scared. We all are. Up the
river with a drunken, lunatic, Bornean boatman, a true adventure.
The river is too high due to last nights rain so we are
dudded and return to the longhouse to cook in the boring little room. Waiting
for lunch and its really, really hot so Mike and I go Iban style and crash out
on the rouai.
After lunch some day trippers turn up with another tour
group and they get the same dance ceremony we got the night before. We join in
the celebrations, if only an excuse to drink more Tuak.
We resume the Iban style
I’m getting right into this lifestyle.
The chief offer me his big cushion to rest my head on, it’s
a real privilege as these guys sit on hard rattan mats most of the time.
I wake up a couple of hours later and literally within 2
seconds I’m offered more Tuak, hey why not. Iban style.
A big group of the tribe have left this afternoon for a
wedding down the river so the longhouse is pretty quiet. But mostly because
Jeremy is not around. He’s apparently in a bit of trouble for nearly killing us
on the river earlier.
I grab one of the other guys to take me fishing. Mike and I
make complete fools of ourselves trying to cast the throw net and we bring up 4
tiny little fish
to go to waste, we actually keep these 4 tiny little fish for our dinner.
Just before we go back to our hard mats in the room for
dinner I’m offered a ‘special’ dish by one of the old guys. It looks like it’s
got scales, but it ain’t fish. I try. They smile at me. It’s actually ok, if a
little oily. Monitor lizard, I’m told. The only thing I’m going to monitor
after that is my stomach. A quiet dinner and noone in my group will eat the
lizard. Mawi won’t eat it and nor will our indigenous host Lucy. Nobody wants
the lizard. Surprising.
We move back out to more hard mats on the rouai and we’re
offered more mystery meat, this time porcupine. It’s really gamey and I’m
beginning to doubt the conservation credentials of these locals – If I can kill
it I’m going to eat it, seems to be the rule here. Not too much Tuak tonight ,
the longhouse is pretty deserted with the group gone to the wedding.
No orangutans. Still no Durian. Too much lizard.