While in Central Kalimantan, we surely wanted to go deep into the jungle. We only needed someone to guide us. But things turned out hilarious.
An Estonian guidebook would suggest us to wear fully covering clothes and shoes. A local only whistles on that.
The next morning we get up at 5 am to be at the agreed place at the agreed time so that we wouldn’t disappoint the workers who’ve agreed to take us with them. A woman always has to prove herself twice. We put on heavy pants we’ve got from the Christians, Terje’s wearing rubber boots she’s bought for going to the forest, I take my bandana and put a knife on my belt. Like two scouts we’re ready to face the forest.
The clock’s ticking but there’s nobody. There’s nobody waiting for us at the agreed time at the agreed place and our neighbour tells the men left hours ago. Nevertheless, half an hour later there’s a young man with a huge smile knocking on our door.
“This is the missis-man,” I already see Terje’s asquint eyes.
The young man tears his smile even wider, it’s just like his teeth would like to jump out his mouth, and then shouts happily: “Would missises like to have breakfast before we go?” We understand that they’ve chosen to send the bit more naive guy to accompany us. Ok, we’ll eat.
„Would missises like noodles or rice?”
„Whatever you like and are used with. Rice is good enough.”
„With or without egg?“
„Really, we don’t care, everything’s fine.”
„Would missises like fried or yellow rice?“
„Seriously, whatever. We eat what’s out there to have.“
„Do missises prefer fish or chicken?”
Terje becomes angry for a second, takes the boy by his collar and decides to go to the market with him. Maybe it’ll be quicker that way. But the missis-talk doesn’t go anywhere.
According to Terje, the conversation went on like that:
„Is missis happy to ride a motorbike?” he asks while driving.
„Yes, missis is happy.“
„Is misses happy to look at potatoes?“ he asks at the market.
„Yes, missis is happy, but could we hurry up.“
„But does missis know how to boil a potato?“
Finally I saw them coming back. The guy was carrying a huge cardboard box he then puts in the middle of the table. I open the box and start counting: 10 packages of instant noodles, 8 eggs, a kilo of donuts and a bag full of Coca-Cola products. The young man takes the box and it seems he’s going somewhere.
„This is how you’re going to the jungle? With a box full of instant noodles. Come on, put them into a back bag, it’s easier that way.”
The young man takes the box and presses it into his back bag. Soon his friend, wearing flip-flops arrives and takes the bag with sodas. This is how we get going towards the jungle, the boys wearing flip-flops and carrying the week’s food, we dressed as if we’re going to a nuclear war, absolutely ready for the journey.
Half of the jungle that we pass is of orderly planted gum trees that people come and cut one by one, they place a bamboo bowl under it, and a few days later they collect the produce, dry it and a huge smelly rubber lump is sold to the industry. The other half is ancient, there the young man looks for the natural medicines we’ve asked for. Be it with the malaria and kidney pills as it may, we collect a huge amount of dark red roots that, according to the boy, “make you happy when you’re already married.” The latter is an Indonesian metaphor for saying “when you’re already having sex”, because basically you shouldn’t do it if you’re not married. Having got our afrodisiacs and having our future victims chosen we continue our journey.
An hour later we’re at a water fall we can finally lay down and remind ourselves that we’re alone in the nature and with the nature. Soon the boys set up a fire and start cooking our ten packs of instant noodles. And although our young man had left an impression of a sissy in the town then in the jungle he’s like a fish in the water and can surprise the city girls with his knowledge of biology again and again.