Living with Headhunters
Trip Start Jul 10, 2006
48Trip End May 31, 2007
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Our next trip was to an Iban longhouse, and this was where our ablution training over the past 2 months would be put to the ultimate test! The Iban are the largest tribe in Sarawak, and traditionally live in "longhouses" alongside Borneo 's many rivers. Until recently (too recently for our liking), the males of the tribe were Headhunters... What is a good night's sleep?!
Tour organizer, Aba (who really was one B short of a Swedish Pop Group) drove us the three hours to the start of the river journey. We stopped off along the way at a local market to stock up on supplies and buy gifts (packets of crisps) for the residents of the longhouse. We also tried out some local fruits - one of which looked like something out of Fraggle Rock (for those who weren't exposed to English television when they were younger, it looked like a VERY angry squash ball, with spikes on the outside). It was delicious...but didn't touch sides...especially in the latter half of the digestive process!
The longhouse itself is about 100m long, about 25m wide, on stilts and is the home of 20 families (96 people)! Each family has their own pigs, ducks, chickens, fish and dogs...which reside in enclosures all around and UNDERNEATH the longhouse!
Visited the rubber plantations, and saw how organic rubber is made and had some great discussions with fellow travellers on the effect of rubber plantations on the local people and their environment - and basically solved all the world's problems in one hammock-session!
Next stop was Gunung Mulu National Park, one of Malaysia's World Heritage Sites, and home of Southeast Asia's largest cave system and the largest cave entrance chamber in the world - Deer Cave (big enough for a Boeing 747 to fly through).