Batu Sankar, West Sumatra August 19, 2017 Throughout the month of August, every Saturday, there are races held in the muddy fields near the town of Batu Sankar. But the locations vary, and are decided on the eve of the race. The only way to find out is to ask locally and that is just … More A Day at the Races
Mentawai August 15, 2017 “Come” said Baja Toycot. “We go to cure a sick man. You come”. The day had dawned gray and cloudy and it had been spattering rain most of the morning, with occasional downpours. Even the chickens seemed to have gone to ground. But the mood perked up around mid-morning. Two other … More Rites, Rituals & a Pig Sacrifice
Muntei, Siberut Island, Mentawai August 12, 2017 Tales of hunter-gatherers living in the middle of the jungle in an island off Sumatra had been playing through my mind as I traveled south and I wanted to go see these people. The Mentawai are a chain of islands, some with rudimentary development and some that are … More In the House of a Shaman
Pagaruyung village, West Sumatra August 8, 2017 On a hill called Gombok, in West Sumatra, were found some statues and several large stones with inscriptions carved on them. Dating from 1347, they can hardly be called ancient, yet these are the first written records in this area. Written in Pali script, they speak of Adityawarma, … More Where Women Lead
Samosir Island, Danau Toba, North Sumatra August 5, 2017 “Our people came by sea” said the old man, nodding sagely. “Exactly from where, nobody knows but they came in boats, and so we build our houses like boats” he added, between puffs on his cigarette, his face wreathed in a gap-toothed smile. In a small … More Our People Came by Sea
Lingga, Sumatra, Indonesia Aug 1, 2017 The small villages dotting the highlands around the town of Berastagi in northern Sumatra, have been home to the Karonese people through the ages and still are. Word is, some old traditions are still alive in some of them. A minibus ride got me easily to a village called … More Tales from Karo Highlands
Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia July 29, 2017 Decades ago, the town of Bukit Lawang was no doubt a beautiful spot perched at the edge of the national park. But today, it spreads along both banks like cancer, with concrete monstrosities in painted in virulent shades with ever more being constructed each day. The cafes, … More Encounters with People of the Forest
Rantepao, Sulawesi, Indonesia July 10, 2011 Having arrived at Rantepao, I searched for an internet café and found one. To my delight there was a spa and massage place upstairs in the same building. There was also a small library of books in English. Needless to say I spent a good chunk of the day … More Do You Want To Go To A Funeral ?