Last evening the Controlleur’s wife sent us over some ice and we had cold water to drink for the first time since leaving Makassar. I only regretted that it did not arrive earlier when Hugo and I divided a bottle of warm beer on our return from the day in the jungle.
We started in the car at about 8 for the swamp country in the direction of Malili, taking a different road from yesterday. The Controlleur for Colonization, Mr. Maurenbrecher, went with us, taking with him a rifle on the chance of seeing a wild pig. Colonization had been carried on here from East Java and we saw the colony after which appeared well established with a small cassava plantation on land which had been jungle a year ago. Over 600 families have been brought here from Java. We followed a new colonization road into the jungle to the end, then left the car and explored the jungle. Hugo found the Livistona [Pholidocarpus] palms he had been looking for and I took some careful photographs of it. He also found some fruit that looked like a quince and another red smaller fruit. We returned to the car and hunted further for a Livistonia in another part which could be cut down, that being the only way to obtain the seeds. After getting wet in a swamp and doing a lot of walking on logs over water which was hazardous for the cameras I was carrying we returned to the first swamp and cut down the one we had first seen. The native cut the big palm down in 8 minutes. It was so covered with ants that Hugo got badly mixed up with them, especially in hauling some of the fruit out of the jungle for me to photograph in the sun.
The jungle was cool and delightful with little sunlight penetrating the tangled upper growth. It was difficult keeping directions and Hugo and the Controlleur were most of the time in disagreement on the right way to go.
At the end of the day we were all very hot from the exercise and badly muddied up. When we reached the Controlleur’s house, Mrs. Maurenbrecher gave us some fine cold beer, which was just the right thing at the right time. We did not, however, accept their invitation to go for a swim in the river.
Later the Controlleur, his wife and two children came over to invite us to dinner. She said not to dress up, which was fortunate as my only good trousers had been ruined in the swamp. Hugo became worried about my appearance and finally lent me a pair of white trousers and some white shoes, both much too large. We found after all that the controlleur and another guest were in shorts.
We spent a very pleasant evening. Mrs. Maurenbrecher was English and extremely nice. I showed her my collection of sarongs. She said all of them were made in Samarinda, Borneo. She also said that the colors were not fast and would fade. The price we paid was low. Mr. Maurenbrecher said that practically all the natives had malaria. Neither he nor his wife had had it and they did not take special precautions.