Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lovely little Setulang

I uploaded a bunch of pictures from Kalimantan before I left, so I'll keep blogging in Bali when I have the time and energy ...

We hung out in Malinau for a day or so, gathering some basic tape. Then we headed upriver again, to much smaller town called Setulang, population 900-something.

We fell for Setulang right away. The whole town is organized around a big field, which is the place for older kids to play soccer, younger kids to run around like crazy, and dogs to romp ... sometimes all at the same time.

The big building at the edge of the field is a longhouse, the traditional living space of Dayak tribespeople before they got moved out of the deep jungle and "civilized" under the Soeharto administration. Everyone used to live in a series of rooms all along the edge of the building, which, personally, sounds like fun. Nowadays people generally build longhouses just as meeting spaces. They've gotten used to having their own homes.

This longhouse was built just a few years ago and carved by people in the village.

Everyone still uses boats to get around. There are several motorbikes in town, but essentially no cars. The air is clean and you can stroll around at length, which was a luxury we indulged in every day while we were there.

Another advantage of small-town Kalimantan is that most people speak Indonesian as a second language. They're fluent, but they enunciate more clearly and speak more slowly than Jakartans, and they don't throw in a lot of slang. I felt so fluent! Especially after speaking Indonesian all day for a few days.

1 comment:

GJ said...

This looks so amazing, I will be putting this on my must see places in Indonesia. You also take the most wonderful photos

Thank you for sharing.