Monday, December 17, 2007

Running rapids in reverse

The last leg of our trip took us even farther upriver, to the protected forest reserve of Tane Olen. The water is very shallow above Setulang so we had to use two light canoes instead of one big one.

The boats have longtail outboard motors that stick straight out in back. Even so, the pilots had to jump out several times to drag us over the rocky bottom.

This did not at all dampen their enthusiasm for fishing. They stopped several times at eddies along the way to cast nets. One guy dived repeatedly with a little spear-gun. At one especially productive spot, he caught a few fish with his bare hands.

We spent the night at a hut in the forest. They cooked up the fish Dayak-style, roasted inside a length of bamboo complete with their stomach contents and then mashed into a green, soupy liquid. The fish eat only vegetation that grows on the river rocks, so they tasted bitter but herby. On the side were some tiny, fierce chili peppers, ground up with salt. Based on that experience, plus a wild-pig stew we ate later featuring big chunks of pig fat, I concluded Dayak food is not for the faint of heart.


Mary said...

mmm wild pig with big chunks of fat...tempting. I think I will take the fish with the partly digested river vegetation!! Sounds like an adventure all the way around.

kopisusu2 said...

Definitely go for the fish ... the pig was tough sledding! You'd love the hiking, though: beautiful heavy rainforest, overgrown trails, amazing insect and bird sounds.