November 10, 2013

Paupan to Binawang

First, I must divulge that for the past 3 weeks or so email has been almost non-existent. Why do I say "email" and not just plain old internet? Well, things are often more complicated than they seem, well at least until I dumb it back down.  Our problems with the internet have not just been actual connectivity or a lack of band width, but also infrastructure so-to-speak (here goes the 'dumbing down part' where I equate electrons, modems, & ping rates to more tangible things like roads or plumbing). We've had the ability to load the odd web page, but forget about sending an email with any size attachment! It's like the road has been closed down to one lain of traffic, and the guy with the sign directing traffic out of Tarakan was a little confused and was leading everyone into a ditch. That's where a lot of my emails ended up, in a cyberspace ditch.

But alas, for the time being, we're in business, and for that I am thankful. The funny (or not-so-funny) thing is that both at home and at the hangar we rely heavily on communications via the internet. I'd say even more so than we did back in Canada. All that to say, uploading pictures to this blog has been next to impossible for some time. But as someone wise said once, if our internet was really good, and we never had power outages, there probably would not be a big need for an organization like MAF here...because that part would be all figured out too.

On to tails of Adventure and Intrigue...
This passed summer I had an opportunity to go interior for a few days with fellow MAF'er Paul College, and try my hand - or should I say feet - at trekking a wee bit in the jungle.

We first flew to the village of Paupan, which was throwing a party, a kind of village reunion. It was an all weekend thing, and all sorts of folks who were originally from this village were travelling back from surrounding areas via airplane to hang out for the weekend.
They built this very cool looking bamboo structure below for the occasion. I think their plan was to leave it up for several months so it could be used for other events. I would hope so, because it sure looked like it took a lot of work!
Upon arrival, we got to try out the ceremonial blow dart gun. Yes, this is poisoned blow dart country!
Below is David from Spain (originally from California). David and his friend Felix have incredible timing, as the day before Paul and I planned to fly out, they just happened to show up to the MAF hangar, looking for a way to get to the interior of Kalimantan to go trekking in the jungle. It just happened to be the perfect time of day, as our pilot had newly returned back from flying and hadn't left the hangar yet. Not only that, there just happened to be available seats on the airplane Paul and I were flying out on the next day - another rarity during a summer when we were very low on pilots!
But I'd say the real reason they lucked out is that Paul probably has more connections and experience trekking about in East Kalimantan than any other foreigner currently living in this area. So, we met them the morning we flew in to Paupan, and ended up spending our entire 4 days interior trekking about with Felix & David.
When a plane would arrive with more people, the meet and greet handshake line up would form to welcome you (after trying the blow gun of course).

Below, the sun comes back out quickly after a tropical rain shower. The rain was certainly a sign of what we would see a lot of in the days to come!
  The bustling metropolis of Paupan.
Felix, David, & Paul.
More to come!


  1. Now I'm jealous! I sure miss trekking around those parts, and hanging with my friends in PaUpan. I'm sure you guys had a blast!

  2. Hey! It would have been great to have you Dave! I must say though, I was quite happy that our short adventure was nothing close to what you and Paul used to do :)