6th December 2010 10 a.m.
We arrived in a hot and humid riverine village of small houses nestled amongst coconut trees. A small hut housed the gendang group and gong music enthusiastically floated through the air. Our leaders were stopped at a small entrance and Datuk Seri was asked to chop a wooden pole placed across his path. That was a traditional Dayak welcome I have never seen before!!
The Gendang group - young men who have taken a day off from their farm to welcome the Dayak Cultural Adventurers from Sarawak.
After several of the VIPS had cut the ceremonial poles of entry the rest of the group started to enter the compound of the longhouse.
Dr. James Alin from Universiti Sabah going through the welcome shed in the compound before arriving at the real longhouse.
the stilted Embaloh Longhouse from the outside. Most of the stilts or support pillars are 200 years old. It would really have been nice if we could spend more time here for photography.
However there was so much to see and do in this longhouse. And the handicrafts were also offered for sale by the various families. A day spent here would not have been two short. Our stay was only two short hours before we had to move on again.
Climbing up the 300 year old belian notched ladder (the main entrance to the long house). If there was a war this opening in the floor would be sealed. The ladder would be too heavy to carry away.
There was indeed a lot to learn. So much history and development have been seen by the longhouse dwellers and recorded in their social and cultural minds.
Their culture of preserving their longhouse style of living and their love for their traditions are admirable. With support from the Indonesian Government this longhouse will continue to be a real tourist attraction centre for many years to come.
As we drove away - all 22 vehicles - I exclaimed to my driver and an ex- Headmaster Matthew Benson (in the manner of a keen school girl) - "I have not seen everything yet...and we have to leave....!"
So my friends - that's one place you have to visit at least once in your life time!