Bario

Batu2

Bario is close. First we find six limestone monolites, three on each side of the trail, disposed to create a sort of corridor. Ukau points and say: “Batu Lungun”.

Luat passes his thumb on his throat in the surprisingly international sign of someone being killed, implying that the place was used for human sacrifices. The rock structure dates back to the time when Kelabit people were head hunters. This is an unmistakable sign that we are in Kelabit territory, and Bario is not far away. The rainforest leaves ground to the heath forest, my beloved kerangas. The path is even and cuts right through it. Then we see water buffalo trails, and the first rice fields. And a road. And a car, and some motorbikes. And an airstrip with a plane rolling to take off. And two-storey buildings made of brickwork. And a bar, with Christmas decorations that look incredibly out of place in the tropical sun, playing bad western pop music and serving coke and cake. We are back into civilization.

My guides and me

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