So here we are ready to go: David, Paul, Felix, myself, & our guide who agreed to get us part of the way to Binawang.
The picture below I need to describe. It is almost the exact location from where I took the photo above; a kind of perch looking down on the rapids. If you can see it, there are a few rocky bumps or castellations mostly covered in moss & vines. These are not natural, but are from long ago, probably some sort of marking by the local people groups of these river rapids. Just a few metres down the trail there were some more rocks with carvings, but due to the rain I didn't get a picture.
In Binawang, Pak Kalvin (Paul's good friend who had us stay in his house for a couple of nights) mentioned how throughout the Krayan only 2 or 3 generations ago there were monuments or markings of some sort put in specific locations for the sole purpose of marking the boundaries between villages. If a person crossed over a boundary from his own village, the other villagers would try to kill him, & vice versa.
After getting to the bottom of the rapids we got to travel via boat. Much quicker!
This guy below fell out of my pant leg. He was so fat on eating my blood he could barely move. Nice!
Below, one our awesome boat drivers is starting a fire in a traditional fashion. No, I don't mean the plastic lighter, but rather the hard rock-looking substance that is on fire in his hand. It is a crystallized soottie type material that builds up on a certain kind of tree. Apparently locals have use it as a great fire starter for a long time in the wet, wet jungle.
Good morning Paul!
Shimmying up a log. I'm just glad to say no one fell in in any of our attempts to cross water like this.
This is Paul, in the process of conquering Borneo.
Felix and David.These guys spent another 3 weeks out here, pretty hardcore!
One of the coolest parts of this trip was being able to help plant a rice padi in Binawang. Growing rice in this region is their bread and butter, their main production crop. It's interesting to think how this crop really ties this rugged interior jungle area of Borneo with the rest of southeast Asia, as rice has been at the foundation of food production for countless centuries in this part of the world. My friend Wikipedia informed me that this type of rice & the style of growing it probably originated in China.
But how the folks here in Binawang do their rice planting is very unique. The field we were planting was owned by one particular family, but it seemed like a good portion of the village was out helping them. In turn, they rotate through all the fields, helping each other out get their crops planted, "bersama-sama" - all together.
Take "bread" for instance. Bread to me back home generally comes in a loaf, often sliced, and used for sandwiches or toast. It doesn't mean buns, cookies, or donuts. Here in Indonesia, they word "roti" is used for just about every bread type wheat product that comes their way. Culturally, "roti" takes a back seat to rice here.
Paul and Pak Kalvin planting rice.
Sunset over Binawang looking out over part of the runway to the church and community buildings on the other side.