Wednesday October 7

Early start to use the heavy dew to clean the boat, now black with smoke grime. Ashore by 0800 for another full day of events. Our team met us onshore and we were away nearly on time, heading first for a Dayak Longhouse. As soon as we were on the bus another boxed breakfast was handed out.

The Long. House wasn't quite ready for us so we diverted to a conservation park not far from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Complex where wild Orangutans are held In Quarantine until they are released. The problem now is a shortage of areas that they can be released into and there is a backlog of over 300 Orantutans awaiting release. Tanjung Puting NP is full and no new Orangutans have been released their since 1991.

The conservation area was an educational complex emphasising re planting of trees, recycling and sustainable farming practices. Small steps but a start at least.

At the Long house we were greeted by 2 Dayak men fighting then slashing open the gate for us to enter. Lea and I received Beautiful and fragrant Jasmine Leys to wear.

Sue and I were chosen to receive the local blessing( with a tot of Arak).

We warned in the bus that the head of Tourism was a sensitive guy who was easily offended if we didn't give him full attention during his speech. Fortunately the speeches didn't go on too long and Andy did a great job speaking in response to the welcome and saving face all round by explaining that many boats could not come due to strong winds in the Java Sea recently.

Our jungle cruise guide Ami turned up. He had dealt with the funeral of his grandmother and was smiling brightly again.

Then the dancing began. Everybody participated after a couple of lovely traditional dances were performed.

Even the police enjoyed the dancing.

Again the costumes were beautiful.

After a huge buffet lunch we were invited to visit the local high school just over the road.

The kids were great, very shy at first but soon full of questions for us and wanting photos.

Then it was off to the Yellow Palace, rebuilt in the 1990's after the original burned down. Here we were greeted by one of the Sultans sons and Christof and Dagmar were invited to receive the traditional blessing.

The Palace itself was great. All constructed out of the local Ironwood on a hill overlooking the town and surrounded by geometric gardens.

Got to get me a gong! They sound great!


Back at the Harbour we thanked our Police Escort and invited the our Guides Rini, Nina and Eva back to see our boats.

The girls were shown over Spruce and then Flomaide. Then we all met on Gemini Lady for Sundowners. A great finish to a fantastic week in Kalimantan.

One of the great highlights was our friendship with Ami, Rini and Nina. We got a good insight into their worlds. Ami's father was a highly respected Dayak chief and passed on the traditional values and sustainable practices of the Dayak forest people to Ami. His mother was an educated Muslim from Java. He is quite conscious and articulate about the difficulties Indonesia has with balancing conservation and economic development in a governmental system full of contradictory actions based on individual power and influence rather than law.

Nina and Rini are 2 delightful, smart and well educated young ladies working toward starting their own business. We felt for Rini who is trying to divorce her husband, maintain some custody rights to her young daughter and build a new life for herself. Very difficult to achieve for Muslim girl in a Muslim society

We wish them all well.