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Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Location: Long Bawan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

In the Heart of Borneo

small Cessna landing
small Cessna landing in Long Layu

In Long Layu, where we spent our first night after the forest, surprisingly many spoke some English. (This means 2-3 people). We didn't understand this because they said there'd been only 2 tourists there in recent times - us :))

We liked this village, too. Everyone was happy, people went to their neighbours to have a chat, all the children ran and played together. The village of 600 people had 3 football fields, 1 volleyball court, all full of children. Men cut the grass together around the houses. The smallest children, too little for playing, gathered the cut grass in stacks and burnt it. Then they went down to the river for a swim, and went home for dinner at sunset. There was no internet or mobile network, and only a few TV's.

kids playing
kids playing

It was very good sitting in front of the house and watching all this with the beautiful mountains in the background, and the broccoli on them - as we called the thick, undulating, dark green forest.

Our flight was due at 10 am. At 8 we were urged to go to the airfield which was a lone hut in the middle of a field. We bought the last 2 tickets and we were strictly weighed. Bags can't exceed 10 kilos, and people 70 kilos. We were a bit concerned about the latter, but were fine on average :) Well, the plane didn't arrive at 10. Not even at 11, nor at 12... Then eventually it arrived. The pilot was alone and seeing my camera he invited me to the front seat :)

scenery from the plane
scenery from the plane

Unfortunately we only flew 20 minutes but we were shocked by the scenery. These pilots have a dream job: they fly from village to village in an amazing scenery.

Unfortunately there were no more seats on the flight to Tarakan, so we have to stay in Long Bawan for 2 days. This is quite a big settlement. We spend these 2 days at the home of the only man speaking English here, Pak Alex. He is the main tour organizer here, so we try to make the best of our time here. We have visited an ancient salt well and a waterfall.

salt well
salt well

We'll leave Long Bawan in the morning to a nice quiet island with sea turtles and manta rays :) Sadly the trip there takes 2 days and we'll have to go home soon :(

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