Funny moment with the Mentawais

After 18 hours on an old wooden tub populated by cockroaches and stinking kerosene; then several hours stuck sitting on a wooden micro board on a dugout canoe; followed by 4 hours of walking through the jungle in a mud so sticky that I loose several times my shoes in it, I finally arrived at the Mentawais, an indigenous people of the archipelago of the same name, off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island.

So here I am lodged in a wooden hut on stilts. Under the floor, wild pigs whose strident growl wakes me up in the middle of the night, when it is not the coconut that falls on the roof, in a crash-like explosion. Inside no sanitary. For toilets, I have to go deep into the jungle, and to choose carefully my location, to check that there is no pig nearby or any dangerous creature on the big leaves which hide me. A last look around my feet just in case, it seems all right, the place looks safe, so let’s go, I drop my shorts and my pants. And there, raising my head, what do I see in front of me? A Mentawai warrior, rifle in hand, who says to me smiling “it’s okay, it’s okay”

August 2008 – Group tour by ZigoTours – 3 weeks

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