Belaga - a no horse town

Trip Start May 17, 2006
Trip End Jul 01, 2006

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Where I stayed
Belaga Hotel

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Belaga is really out in the middle of nowhere, 8 hours by boat from a road where you can get a bus. I was the first foreigner in town for about a month. I stayed at the Belaga Hotel (decent joint, about $8), whose owner was a really nice Chinese lady with whom I got to practice my Mandarin. I noticed when I got to Belaga that people are really into Linkin Park in Borneo, either that or Linkin Park flip flops and t-shirts are cheaper than plain ones.

I went to Hasbi's to set up a trip to a longhouse and his friend Hassan took me to his village. A local girl named Rosaline accompanied us. She is deaf and cannot talk, but she really likes tourists and did her best to word me up on the local situation, especially logging and the recent elections. She has her own kind of sign language. For example, that gesture you make when you block someone from poking your eyes out means foreigner, and if she cups her hands on her chest after, it means female foreigner. She refers to her friend Daniel by making a gesture that refers to his having a pot belly. Pretty funny. So she pointed to all the political posters and gave each candidate a thumbs up or down. The guy to vote for is from the tribes' rights party, and the bad guys were from the government party. Somehow she managed to communicate that the government party candidates were behind the logging in the region, a fact later confirmed for me in Bario. She also told me that if I do not wish to keep my freckles, I can go to KL and get rid of them. Freckles are thumbs down all the way.

So we went to a village with Kenyah and Sakapan tribes' longhouses. It was in the daytime so only kids and old people were around as the men were all out hunting and the women farming. Hassan took me to his parents' house and they gave me some betel nut to chew. Not my favorite, but at least I tried it. There were a couple of old women in the Kenyah part of the village who had the traditional tattoos that cover almost all of their legs, the long earlobes, and the black teeth. I guess the young women don't do it anymore. I was invited to stay over at the longhouse, but like a dumbass I didn't because I did not want to impose. Retard. That is what longhouses are famous for!

I went back to town and sat by the Belaga River, which is massive, and saw a double rainbow on the other side. Everyone in town was really nice and they all made clicking noises or honked to get my attention and then said hello. Belaga was cool and I liked the area, plus the mee goreng at Hasbi's was good, but I tore off the next day as there was not much going on and the guy who could arrange longer trips was out of town. I also needed to eat something besides rice and noodles.
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