Daily Dose of Beauty: Homestay in the Jungle
Daily Dose of Beauty: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos and stories from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.
April 3rd, 2020
Selamat datang! Welcome to Saloma Villagestay, an authentic homestay in Borneo. To get to your room, you must first cross the ravine on the bamboo bridge. Hope you didn’t bring a rolling suitcase!
Meet Saloma, your host. She left her village in Borneo to attend college in Kulala Lumpur. After graduating, she decided to return to the village (Kampong Sadir) and apply what she learned by creating an authentic homestay experience at her family’s residence in the jungle.
Saloma lives with her mother, father, grandmother and two brothers. Lots of family friends stop by to say hello. No one here is a stranger.
Saloma’s house is a few minutes outside Kampong Sadir on a large plot of land. It’s two storeys — unusual by comparison with Borneo’s traditional houses. On the top floor, two bedrooms and an open-air living room welcome you for your overnight stay. The refrigerator is stocked with cold water and a hammock hangs between two posts. The afternoon heat is thick but with a space like this and nothing on the agenda, lounging here listening to the birds is a fine way to pass the time.
Downstairs, Saloma’s dad has just returned from the jungle. He’s in his sixties, short and fit as a fiddle, carrying a huge basket from the tumpline slung over his head. He spent the day on his land harvesting fruit with a long machete. He unpacks the load and reveals a bumpercrop of durian, the world’s stinkiest fruit.
Kampong Sadir is a village of traditional longhouses that hold multiple families and generations in rooms along one side facing the shared common space along the other side. Longhouses are built above the jungle floor for air circulation and (my personal theory) to keep the bugs and creepy-crawlies at bay. Cats and kittens help too.
There are lots of critters in the jungle — nearly every square meter here is an overgrown mass of green vegetation always encroaching on the footpaths through the village. An afternoon jaunt to the river shows us more of Borneo’s landscape.
Seeing the photo of this mountain’s shape today, only one thought comes to my mind:
Flatten the curve, people, FLATTEN THE CURVE!
Tomorrow we head farther into the jungle for a homemade feast with the family.
Until then, stay home and stay healthy.