Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Borneo continued...

Ah yes, the refugees... first encountered really first-hand when we were in eastern Turkey in November 2013, and met people who had fled across the border with Syria. Saw several films a couple of months ago in the 2014 Torino Film Festival, addressing the subject on a wide scale. I am always occupied by this question: what or where is home, how much does a person need in order to feel "at home"; is it really, as is said, "where your heart is" and can it be that everywhere is home, and that you can carry a sense of being in the right place, wherever you go?
In recent years I have rarely felt "alienated" and in fact have usually felt I brought/took with me my own feeling of home. We have recently visited Oman, Dubai, Turkey, the lands of the Kurds, Greece, Italy and now Borneo, not to mention of course, our familiar civilizations of France, England or the Netherlands. In each place I watch and listen (well, I try to!) and piece together all the growing information. Think this is a kind of cultural anthropology, but perhaps that's giving it too high-falutin' a name! All fascinating, anyway.
It's pouring outside (an evening downpour). Happily this sluicing wetness quickly dries. Mist hangs over the treetops in the morning but evaporates as the hours pass. Judy my daughter has just fixed a boat trip for us tomorrow afternoon. With a covered seat, just in case one of the downpours chooses to descend between four and six p.m.
Almost time for bed now ... I have to lay me down before 10 p.m. because this house awakes at six, fumbling out of sleep into a usually sunny morning; the boys' school starts at seven. Different patterns from that other world, in Europe.
Today David and I fixed some of our programme for the next two weeks, including trekking in Sarawak in the Kelabit Highlands, followed by several days in Kuching (urban culture exchanged for the orangoutans and proboscis monkeys...)
Such a different world; the nearest I have been to this is the couple of weeks spent in Bali, around thirty years ago, working on a book about a Dutch painter who worked in Ubud. But that was in the summer; hotter and the heat more oppressive. Here in Brunei in January I find the climate more or less acceptable.
And today we climbed a strenuous hill (ha ha) at the end of the morning. Breaking in my wonderful new boots (bought in Amsterdam) and reminding my muscles about climbing on and off the boat. Felt wonderfully exhilarated (the walk/climb took an hour and a half) and David and I conclude we are both fitter now than we were ten years ago. (And only got a few mosquito bites, despite a spraying of Deet before we set out.)
The next topic will be the delights of being a granny; or rather, the delights of young children when one doesn't have to be with them hour in, hour out.

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