Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Fresh off the longboat

Feeling rather stiff today; an aftermath of hiking steep hills and learning how to dance the ngajat in the Iban heartland. Actually, I think it was mostly the latter.

It’s been a really interesting trip, turned out to be much better than I expected. I’d be writing about my trip soon.

One thing I’d like to say first is that no trip to Sarawak is truly complete without a stay in the Iban heartland. It’s simply beautiful out there (love, LOVE the longboat rides) and the people are so friendly and generous and booo-tiful.

It did my heart good to be back in the jungle, albeit briefly. And yes, we did manage to see an orangutan. So looking forward to going back to full-time fieldwork!!!

Random things:

1. I really like New Yorkers. Maybe my sampling has been biased but all the New Yorkers that I’ve met so far are really nice, cool people. An American gorilla scientist was on this trip and I am in awe of her. She’s so amazing. I like how Americans are so open and easy to talk to.

2. I forgot my bank pin number. The bank staff couldn’t believe that I had forgotten my pin number within a month. It costs RM8 to change it so I told her that I wanted to go home and think about my pin number some more. She looked at me like I was a crazy person.

3. Current website obsession: Her photographs are divine; she’s got a great eye.

4. There was this huge downpour when we were walking along the trail and my phone got soaked. No worky anymore. Not in a hurry to get a new one either. I like the silence.

5. Impromptu durian parties in the office are always fun. Although I think I ate too much durian and I feel kinda sick right now.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger cabiria said...

I am very interested in a stay in the Iban heartland... very interested indeed. How should I go about it?

At 12:43 AM, Blogger Bertha said...

I like how Americans are so open and easy to talk to.Not every American, in my experience.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Cayce said...

Lets: There are a couple of options. The easiest would be to go on a tour but it might not be the experience you're looking for. The alternative is to go with me (ha ha!) but since this would be a personal trip, we'd have to pay for our way. It depends on how much you're willing to spend. The boat could easily cost over RM100. And then you have to think of petrol for the car (at least over RM50 - it's about a 4 hour drive one way), boatmen, food, accomodation (can be cheap). It definitely won't be a cheap trip so keep that in mind. But I do think the experience is worth every sen. One problem is that I'm unlikely to take much time off - prolly just a weekend, and it takes almost a day JUST to arrive at the longhouse. Unless you hook up with other travellers, and I'd help you with planning for logistics, it might turn out to be cheaper that way. But remember, depending on the size of the travellers, there are only so many people and baggage you can fit in a longboat. For average ang moh size, it'd be better to just have two travellers on the boat. We can discuss this further when you get here.

Bertha: it certainly needs no mentioning: there are always exceptions to whatever statements that are made! I definitely came across a lot of unfriendly, snooty Americans (those WASP girls could be real bitches) when I was living in D.C. In this particular post, I talked about my "sampling bias" because these days, I've been meeting New Yorkers via work and they are all extremely nice and open, which I felt was worth mentioning!

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Thanks for the link. Bollocks - that's another skill I've realised I know nothing about.

Have I been to the heartland - or just the oldland?


At 11:17 AM, Blogger Cayce said...

you've definitely had the Iban longhouse experience, Daniel. Well, except for the drinking and dancing. I guess the old folks weren't up for it. But then again, you experienced a trip that ordinary tourists wouldn't have had. I visited your Iban folks the other day (your pa was away) and the girl has really come out of her shell!! She was soo curious and inquisitive! And getting prettier each day.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Cayce said...

whoops... yea, you were at the heartland.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you enjoyed your stay ......hmmm where was it ,...Nanga Sumpa ???? Akai ...... pedih getting up there, especially Ulu Lubok Antu.Did they teach you the ngajat ??? Its very physical, good for exercise though.

I've been to the Kayan Heartland in Belaga....awesome, go if you have the time, Miss Cayce. Its just a different world out there, completely different. I got there via Sebauh and then a boatride to Tubau. From there, it was landcruiser journey to the heart of Kayan country. Not cheap, not cheap at all. First encounter with the "orang ulu", really, most of them Kayan and Kenyah. The Penan were more down to earth, very quiet people. Tough bunch.

Heart of Iban country ??? Lubok Antu is the best candidate for this, borders on the betung kerihung national park, although on your way to Simanggang, the
Indonesian border itself is not that far from the main roads. Most of it Iban country anyway.

I might go to Balleh next time I am in Sarawak. Would like to see what it looks like, in James Masing country.

Love the pics of your puppy and cat




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