Thursday, 14 June 2007

Two Birthdays In Borneo

Lat. 02degrees 10.54north, Lon. 111degrees 40.90east

We haven't moved since our last report, still at the longhouse on Sungai Tulai, but we have had our birthday - Ley and I both being born on June 13 (yes its scary).

Life on Sungai Tulai is very peaceful. On Sunday we went to church (twice), in both cases following the service and songs using an Iban text - not so hard to follow, since the tunes were familiar. The people here are Methodist now - most services are conducted by lay preachers from the longhouse, but once a month a pastor comes from the city, in the afternoon, and provides an additional Sunday service. That was last Sunday - hence the two services. We were pleased to host the pastor and his crew on board the boat for afternoon tea.

For our birthday we had a celebration lunch in a Chinese cafe down river in Bintangor, having ordered a special seafood meal in advance. It's a twenty minute run in the dinghy from here. We invited four of our friends from the longhouse - two came by powered canoe and two by motorbike. Later in the afternoon we had cake and tuak (rice wine) at the longhouse with about 60 well wishers, and made it home just before dark. The children of the longhouse made small birthday gifts for us - little figures made from balloons, sand and thread. One boy gave a us local river fish (live) in a tiny jar, with two glass marbles and a tiny pack of fish food - an aquarium he said in English! We also received sweet potatoes and cooked local prawns. We've transferred the fish to a bigger home, changed the water and fed it, but so far resisted naming it .....

Really a memorable birthday - lots more pictures in the Tulai River photo album - check it out in the right hand column.

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