This is a new series on our blog, from the dad’s point of view – Dad’s diary. It will be a personal description of destinantions we’ve been to.
Just before we arrived to Padang, which is the starting point for going to the island of Siberut, we got many short messages from our family members: “Are you alive? Is everything OK? Please reply.” The reason for that was a 7.9 degree strong earthquake not far from Padang. We didn’t feel it because we were traveling all night on a bumpy, horrible road. After the initial panic and tsunami warnings everything was OK at the end.
Siberut Island, the homeland of the Mentawai people, is a story in itself. And its almost impossible to prepare yourself for the things, that you are going to experience there. Because the 4 day trek was too difficult for Ana and Jaka, they waited for me in Padang. But me and my great guide Agus came after 4h on the speedboat, half an hour on the motorbike, 2h on the long boat and a short walk in a completely different world. In a world of malaria, poisonous snakes (according to the locals the small green one is the most dangerous one), leeches, unbearable heat, almost 100% humidity and unfriendly terrain. In fact it is like a huge swamp, where you walk on the improvised paths made of logs and bamboo trees. Its so hard to walk on them, because they are slippery, wet all the time and until you master the walking technique, you fall all the time in the mud to your but or even deeper.
My first incredibly friendly hosts were shaman Teukapi and his wife Kalabai. Upon arrival, I was totally wet and it was so hot, that I was struggling. Immediately after entering the house I smelled the fresh blood in the air and then I also saw it on the wooden floor. The room was filled with friends and relatives of my hosts, and they were slowly preparing for the evening feast (for them it was a special day, helping the hosts with some tasks around the house and the result was special dinner with pork meet and sago). It was too much for the first day and after dinner I was completely exhausted. I just laid down on the wooden floor, under the skulls of monkeys and other animals, surrounded with cats, a dog and tiny creatures that were biting me all night long. “Luckily” the night was very short – roosters started to sing at 3 in the morning and a domestic pig was rubbing himself along the wooden house pillar just shortly after that. That was just the start of an unforgettable day. But more about that in the next post.