E-Travels With E.Trules.....so enough about me, wish you were here...Borneo,Malaysia,Travelogue

















so enough about me....

wish you were here














so, enough about me
you want to know about the food
the people

well
fuck you
i mean
fine

what can i tell you?
it's all about me
right?
like it's all about you

okay
your kids
your husbands, wives, mothers, fathers
your job
your country, investments
your home, hearts, lungs, kidneys, backs
same fucking thing

but you insist
you want to know what's behind these smiling brown
faces
their inherent modesty
their endearing but evasive self consciousness
why do they look to the west?






well, there's this one dude who works at the
university
he's my colleague so to speak
maybe he's just a staff member
but i walk into the office one morning
the common space area
and smiling at me from this dude's screen saver
in 2 dimensional pixellated harmony
who should it be?
that's right
that scruffy, charismatic and lovable
osama bin laden
osama bin fucking laden

so i walk over to the dude
and ask him why he has a picture of bin laden on his
computer
this causes a stir amongst all the worker bees
hush hush chitter chatter
and the dude who doesn't speak english too well
but seemingly understands me fine
tries to gesture "no harm, no foul"
but i persist
and ask again
and the dude says he has osama's pic on his
screensaver because
"he's the top man in the world"






i don't flinch
or raise my voice
i mean i'm this understanding, anti-american ex-
patriate cat myself
but i ask him again what he means
and he goes into his apologetic i don't understand
gestural mode
but i persist
and ask him if he thinks osama was responsible for
september 11th
or if he personally is in favor of terrorism
and so many innocent people dying
and isn't islam a peaceful, all-accepting religion
etc etc
but the dude really doesn't answer me any more
the chorus of worker bees just smile and chitter
chatter
and i walk out of the common office space to by own
big unused office space

and i have to admit
i'm perturbed
i'm upset
i mean i guess i'm really not a big fan of osama's
either when it comes down to it
when i see him smiling at me from t-shirts and screen savers
all over kota kinabalu
here in east malaysia
knowing that
he's really a hero to many people in this part of the
world
to teenagers
and their parents
and muslims all over the world
i mean this "top cat" is the only dude in recent world
history who stood up to
and hurt
goliath america
this i understand too







but as i spend more time here and feel more and more
insulated
i can't help thinking that there's something about me
that's
not liked
or foreign
and that it's under the surface
and beneath the smiling words
and maybe
i'm right
or maybe i'm wrong
but that's what i think when i think about my
colleagues
and their talking behind my back about the woman i'm
living with
the one i now call "my wife"
but who they know is not really my wife
when
that's simply not
acceptable
in this part of the world
even though muslim men can have 4 wives each
and more or less abandon their 1st 3 marriage's
offspring
and cover up their women
and not let them out of site
or be seen by other men
but have affairs with whomever whenever they can
but this is not written in the koran






so you want to know about the people, the food
enough about me

well look at the photos
the indigenous people are beautiful
simple
they smile easily
and laugh a lot
and want to touch you
and talk to you
and invite you into their homes
they have 8 and 10 children each
and know nothing about
or ignore
any safe sex practices
they'll drink with you all night long
"tapai"
'til the wee hours of dawn
home brewed rice wine
40%
in "recycled" brown beer bottles
five at a time
all night long
in their long houses
traditional kampong style
catering to
and dependent on tourists like me
admitting they too know about september 11th
in fact the whole world seems to know
and yes, their business is bad
has fallen off
and they Love America
and hush hush
don't tell anyone
they really don't like the muslim powers that be
that want the entire country to be muslim too
and have little tolerence or understanding for these
converted christians
who as recently as 60 years ago were animists
and worshiped the sky and the trees and the animal spirits
like i told you before






kooooo-dat
kudat
that's the name of the place in the northeast far reaches of borneo
where the rungus tribe has been instructed by the islamic government to rebuild their native longhouses
for the tourists
and for keeping history alive
and for the money
where anggong and his son adrian work so hard to please we tourists
and genuinely seem to love doing it
and whose cousins and sisters and aunts and uncles
dance for us
"boom boom chak
boom boom chak"
the rhythm like
"we will
we will
rock you"
quickstepping over clacking together long bamboo poles
boom boom chak
book chak

drinking with us
laughing with us
getting drunk with us
but then going home
not sleeping with us
except for one rungus girl
she's going to marry a love-struck young brit
he's coming back to marry her
and i'm invited to the wedding
boom boom chak





the stars are millions
the night black as pitch
diamonds dazzling the eyes
giant green banana leaves
dwarf you as you cut your way through them to the old rubber plantation
now dried up and abandoned for
more modern production methods
and world trade agreements
deciding who can sell what where
too bad for the indigenous people with the natural resources

the food you say
the food

well
wati can walk the streets
and eat anything she sees
malay, thai, chinese, indian
it's all here
a full meal for 3 ringit
75 cents
marinated chicken, beef, sometimes pork
eggplant, green beans, bean curd, tofu
rice rice rice
fresh mango, kiwi, watermelon, papaya juice
for 2 ringit
everything grows here
it's the "throw and grow" method of agriculture

but me
me with the delicate, fucked up bowel
me who fears "menjeret", the malayu's monctezuma's revenge
like the plague
only a few steps up or down the fear scale
depending on how you look at it
from malaria or dengue fever
me?
i eat nasi goreng fried rice
fried noodles
bland
plain
barbecued ayam chicken
no hot sauce
no curry
i watch the others eat
swearing not to stoop to the all too prevalent and pernicious colonel sanders, pizza hut
....coffee bean






i soak in the hot natural sulfur baths at poring hot springs
built by the japanese during world war 2
when they all but devoured the smiling and benevolent borneans
until a few hunted heads later
hiroshima & nagasaki
sent them home
i soak up the sulfur
and the humidity
and the heat
and walk through skies of jungle ceilings over a hanging network of brilliant canopy walks
strung together with rope and silicon and dreams of profit
i drive through checkerboards of small villages
over broken roads
under drenching rains
and gobble up miles and miles of east malaysia
sweating and laughing and complaining
and loving it all

wish you were here












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