Pealing back my eye lids in the morning confirmed that my ears were not mistaken - breakfast was being cooked. Since we were sleeping in the kitchen we had a first hand view of the activity which came a little too early for some, the final lights out had been around 6am. It may take a while for a party to get going around here but once it's up and running it stops for nothing short of dawn. This all led to a predictably slow start to the day. A day which I can say with some certainty was not a day designed to appeal to the vegetarians in the group. Firstly a nearby village came over to say hello, and to give them something to bet on a bit of cock fighting. This seemed to involve tying a sharp hook to the leg of the cock, pulling a few feathers out of it's neck to wind it up, waving it at the opposing cock and then letting go and waiting for one of them to run away and be deemed the looser. Losers around here tend to end up in the pot quite quickly so there's sufficient motivation to put on a good show. Interestingly no effort seemed to be made to pair up fair fights in terms of size, it's just that the odds of winning were adjusted. This led to some big daddies fighting skinny runt which seemed a little one sided, in the circumstance you can hardly blame the little runt when he runs like hell. We were told that cock fighting between tribes had become popular long ago when someone realised that tribes known for head hunting generally found it hard to meet up without all sorts of trouble unless they had something to distract themselves with.
With the cock fighting over the vegetarians still weren't safe, not be a long way. One family was to hold a ceremony to try and determine if the next year was to be prosperous or not. Firstly they set out an area an the shaky part of the veranda while we stood in the communal area trying politely to turn down numerous offers of beer and spirits. Steve was still a bit unsteady on his feet and I'm not sure hair of the dog is quite what the doctor would have ordered. After lots of fussing around three piglets on a pole were revealed and slaughtered one by one, with the lungs cut out quickly and placed on a plate, in one case I'm sure before the pig had actually died. Any vegetarians still with us? Obviously by the time the first one had been killed the other two realised that this was to be the day to find out once and for all which religion, if any, was right and were squealing loudly. Once three sets of fresh lungs were on the plate the old boys gathered round and started to debate what they predicted for the future. My prediction, bacon for dinner.
After a refreshing dip in the river in was meant to be time for a jungle walk but the head man was struggling to find any volunteers to miss out on the celebrations and take us. As a compromise someone took us up to their rubber plantation close by. After a short walk down a narrow track, crossing two streams and listening to Wes berate himself the entire way for not wearing sensible footwear and breaking his flip flop we arrived at a very narrow valley only 50 metres across with a stagnant pool at the end. While we were being happily feasted on by the mosquitoes we looked around and contemplated that this wasn't quite the grand plantation we had expected.
Back at base we had another dip to wash the sweat off and got
out just as it started to rain. After some lazing around, in which
I noted that the guy with the yellow shirt who had been encouraging
me to down my drink yesterday was looking very worse for wear, we
had some food. In the evening the locals laid out a small market of
handy-crafts for us to buy. This seemed like a good place to stock
up on presents for home and we all made the most of it. With the
late night yesterday catching us up mostly we went to bed early. As
we laid out on the shaky wooden floor wondering if the building was
going to last the night I thought about how an estate agent would
try to sell this place. Perhaps a short advent along the lines
Wooden construction to make a carpenter weep. with joy This house was lovingly constructed.