Orangutans and a Dayak Wedding

Over the past week we have been so privileged to receive two very special invitations! A special thanks for both to our friend and mentor Pak Enam.

We met him at his home in Sai Gohong and were treated to an action packed adventure up the river in a traditional canoe, the clotok. Pak Enam was our guide and he steered us through thick trees and vines springing up from the water, like going on a water slide through a tunnel of green. It was wild! Eventually we emerged into the wider river itself which was absolutely stunning – fringed with ancient ferns, palms and twisted trees.

river Kalimantan

We were on a mission – to sail along the river past the reserve where the conservation organisation BOS monitors orangutans. We were straining our eyes for so long that we had almost given up hope, until there was the rustle of something big in the undergrowth. Then, like magic, an orangutan’s gentle head appeared from the scrub, just a few meters away. It looked at us thoughtfully, noble and intelligent. We sat there observing for some time, and two others joined us, as well a raucous gang of monkeys. It was quite surreal!

orangutan BOSS

The trip also served as a great reference for our show development. One of the main characters will be an orangutan and seeing them in the wild was an invaluable insight into their character, the way they look, move and climb.

river kalimantan

The very next day we were invited to attend a wedding in a small village nearby. The house backed on to the river and had been meticulously decorated in an explosion of colour. It looked absolutely gorgeous! There was also a stage set up on the opposite side of the road with a stream of live music and glamorous singers, turning the whole road into a dance floor.

Dayak wedding

We were honoured to join the festivities and received such a warm welcome from the host family and other guests. We witnessed the traditional Dayak martial arts ceremony where a threshold of flowers and palm leaves is cut, allowing the groom to join the bride in a gorgeously colourful space. Of course, this was all followed by plenty of feasting, music, singing and dancing!

Dayak wedding

Both were incredibly special and we feel deeply moved and privileged to have had such important experiences shared with us!