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Full Circle

Day 111: Nanga Sumpa

Michael Palin - Full CircleThe highlight of the evening is a group drumming round. Long, thin drums made from bark with soft, deerskin tops are struck hard, fast and ever more furiously with the flat of the hand until one member of the group breaks the rhythm. He then has to down a tumbler of tuak, which makes his chances of surviving the next round even more unlikely.

The last thing I remember, as the tuak takes effect, is James Masing describing Iban hospitality as a contest. The host must provide far more food and drink than is strictly necessary and the guests must consume as much as possible without falling over. From what I can see around me as I find my shoes, slither down the plank and head across the bridge to the guesthouse, it appears that the host has won this one hands down.

And the rain is back. Drumming on the roof in a soft, soothing, all-embracing rumble.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 111
  • Country/sea: Malaysia
  • Place: Nanga Sumpa
  • Book page no: 162

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