Day three of the standard three-day tour usually ends early with the guests transported back to the airport in time to catch a flight to Jakarta. We aren’t going anywhere but back to Escape Velocity so on the advice of a friend we negotiated a longer final day. That meant we could putt-putt downriver at a snail’s pace, savoring the early morning quiet and listening for birds and other creatures in the intermittent rainforest drizzle.
Tourists who lack a sense of romance can hire a speedboat to run them all the way to Camp Leakey and back in one day. That kind of noisy and lumpy conveyance doesn’t appeal to us, but to each his own. These were the only two speedboats we saw during our time in the river.
I mentioned that the boat people are a close-knit community and that includes those who live on the river. The owner of the only guest house got married that morning and the bride and groom issued a blanket invitation to the boat folks to stop by and say hello, and bring their klotok guests, too.
We rafted up to a couple of other boats and climbed boat to boat to get to shore where we were offered food and drink and ran a receiving line gauntlet to the resplendent bride and groom.
As I was backing up to take the following photo my flip flop caught on a loose bit of carpet and I did a spectacular half gainer with a double twist ending in a full layout right in the middle of the reception. I expertly missed hitting the drinks tray and bounced right back up but not before a collective gasp punctuated the solemn occcasion, followed by laughter as I raised my arms in the universal I-meant-to-do-that gesture.
I thought maybe we should prevent me from performing any more potentially destructive maneuvers in the middle of a wedding and asked Herman if we could stroll through town. He arranged to have our klotok meet us at the far end and we made our way down the dusty road, with the usual stops for teens wanting to practice English and take photos.
Earlier I praised Yana’s delicious mie goreng, the classic Indonesian fried noodle dish. “Best I ever had,” I told her, and with that she offered to make it again for us. We weren’t supposed to get another meal but Yana got right to work and let me watch and photograph the steps so I can make it at home. True to form, she whipped up several dishes and laid a final extravagant lunch for us as we slowly motored back to reality.
Two hours later we emerged from the quiet river and back to the noisy, dusty port of Kumai. Our Borneo orangutan adventure is over and I just want to turn around and do it again.