12.16.2008 0 °F
We're engaged!! After 6 years of being together, Matt proposed and of course the answer was yes. We were in a luxury treehouse on the coast of Borneo, and had just enjoyed a romantic meal...really it can't get more perfect. We are both very happy to continue sharing our lives together. We aren't sure when the big day will be, but we can guarantee it'll be a great party! Happy couple The ring, made in borneo
Fresh juice with our dinner
View from the treehouse
Storm brewing from the beach
Aside from the big news, we have been busy and Borneo has treated us very well. We have met so many nice people and really got a taste of true Sarawak living.
First, we went to Bako National Park on the coast, which is known for its wildlife viewing and endemic pitcher plants. We had to take a boat ride to the park, in a crocodile infested river, and it was bumpy! We survived and spent one night in the park enjoying its great trails and amazing scenery.
Boat ride to Bako
We then visited the family of our hostel owner in their Iban Longhouse for two nights. Many of the native peoples here lived traditionally in extremely long houses (hence the name) essentially under one roof. A lot of times these houses are only reachable by boat, however ours was a little more modern and we were able to drive to it. The sense of community within the longhouse is strong, and at all of them that we visited we were invited to spend the night, drink lots of rice wine, and basically have a party.
We first visited a few different longhouses to get to know the locals. We were greeted warmly, though most of the elders who are there during the day only speak Iban, so we had to rely on our guide and our drama skills. The first house we visited had 100 year old human skulls from the headhunters who were celebrated in the area
After loads of rice wine and cigarette offerings, we stopped by a fish pond to catch dinner for the night.
At our longhouse, we quickly suited up in river clothes to go fishing, what we didn't know was that we would be fishing IN the river, sometimes swimming to put the poles into the river bank. We were assured that there were no crocs or snakes in the river, but later our guide Alesia told us she was "scared of the snakes"...whoops. Gathering worms for fishing
Fishing IN the river
Later that night after dark we had to head back out and get into the river! Little fish were nibbling at our toes as we checked our lines and found we had caught 3 fish! A thunder storm quickly came in, and it was basically flooding by the time we got out, quite an experience.
At the longhouse we ate all food that had come from the farm or the river. It was nice to eat straight from the land. Erin was taught to be an Iban woman by cooking while Matt got to play with their adorable little girl Julia.
The next day we learned how exhausting Iban life is. We went to help in the farm where we were dealing with hordes of mosquitos, ants in our pants, and 90 degree heat. Luckily the river is nearby to cool off in. We gathered corn, bamboo shoots, pumpkin, greens and combined them with our fish caught the night (cooked in bamboo) before to have a great feast cooked fresh over the fire in a little hut. It was much needed!
We were wandering through the jungle when Alesia took us down a little path to show us the blacksmiths who made the machetes we had been using. They were in the middle of nowhere, and apparently it takes one week to make one machete!
The last night, exhausted, the ladies dressed us up in the traditional Iban wedding attire...who knew we'd be engaged the next day! Traditionally there's a dance that goes with the outfits, but we mostly just posed for photos.
We're back in Peninsular Malaysia getting ready to head into some tea plantations then to a beach for Christmas. We hope everyone is surviving the snow at home, hopefully you'll have a white Christmas.