18 Sep - 20 Sep 2013 Sambas

Republic of Indonesia (CPI = 32/100 and BPI = 7.1/10.0) 
West Kalimantan aka Kalimantan Barat (KalBar)
Jalan Akhmad Marzuki 8
Penginapan Sari II +62562392653
Basic but adequate twin room (no. 5) with fan, private bathroom (bak mandi) and clean enough Asian squat loo for IDR 90,000.- or US$ 7.90 per night.
Friendly and helpful Malay Indonesian staff; sufficient English.
Dry and beer-free town (unless you bring your own, or you have very good Hakka friends: “Can can, lah?” - “Can, lah!”) due to the strictly enforced prohibition laws in the paleoconservative, semi-autonomous Sultanate of Sambas which merged into the territory of the Indonesian Republic only less than 70 years ago.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Losmen Sari II in Sambas and for directions:
N 01° 21.63' E 109° 18.65'

Matt: Pretending to be a good tourist and visiting the run-down and neglected Sultan’s Palace aka istana alwatizkhoebillah, rather nondescript but in a prime location at the scenic junction of three rivers (Sungai Sambas Kecil, Sungai Teberau, Sungai Subah), constructed entirely from ironwood with flaking yellow as its dominant architectural colour and originally built by Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin I who reigned Sambas from 1668 - 1708 CE.

Matt: Meeting the talented photographer Fizar +628125685574 bubar_29@yahoo.co.id, one of the creative local shutterbugs, who was papping with his Nikon D3100 near the historical wooden bridge over the Sungai Sambas Kecil, talking (photo-)shop about both snapping a shot and editing the image on the computer and ending our impromptu workshop with a bowl of the town's vegetarian signature dish, the delicious bubur pedas (IDR 8,000.- or US$ 0.70 per helping).

Matt: Following the rotten and ramshackle plank walks along the northern and southern banks of the Little Sambas River aka Sungai Sambas Kecil, getting lost in a maze of wooden mosques, shacks and sheds on stilts, having many encounters with the friendly subjects of His Highness Sri Paduka al-Sultan Tuanku Muhammad Tarhan who try to find their inward peace with the help of a rather traditional form of Islam, learning that in Indonesia each person has to choose one out of six religions (an indoctrinating multiple-choice dilemma where atheism and agnosticism do not count) and wondering which one has less long-term side-effects for body, mind and soul - religionhooch or ... photography?

Matt: Partying, without loosing my head, with a boozy bunch of skull-friendly Dayak winos in one of Sambas’ safe shebeens, obscured by Eric Schmidt’s clouds, singing together one-world drinking songs, coming to the conclusion that the responsible consumption of home-distilled, tax-free arak putih aka cap cuan (est. 40 % alc./vol.) is more sustainable than knocking back highly-taxed Bintangs, and raising our glasses to the no-commenting of the AA's semantic trap: “If you admit that you're an alcoholic, then you're an alcoholic; if you don’t admit that you're an alcoholic, then you're in denial, which means you're an even worse alcoholic; cheers!”

Matt: Getting a ride in the non-a/c cabin of a worn Mitsubishi cargo truck from Sambas to the Bakati Dayak village of Subah (c. 55 km through neat but orangutan-free oil-palm plantations, 2 hours, IDR 20,000.- or US$ 1.75 for the ride), thereafter taking a regional bus from Subah to the Bakati Dayak village of Ledo (c. 35 km with many slash-and-burn land clearance fires on each road side, ¾ hour, IDR 20,000.- or US$ 1.75 per person), another third-world village where flatscreens probably outnumber Western and Eastern toilet bowls, and, lastly, an ojek ride from Ledo to the rugged, predominantly Chinese country town of Bengkayang (40 km, 1 hour, IDR 50,000.- or US$ 4.40 for the dusk ride through patches of secondary forest, small rubber and larger palm-oil plantations, sailing past many run-down residential shacks with brand-new satellite dishes).

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set,
then there'd be peace.” 

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to know;
It’s good to learn.
Keep your bearings!