BORNEO — LAND OF THE HEADHUNTERS

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Wild jungles! Ferocious animals! Well—– kind of.  The island of Borneo isn’t the  Jungle Jim in movies we imagine but it still has wild and wonderful far-flung experiences. Rainforests are scattered throughout the island. We traveled by motorized canoe up the rich rainforest on each side of the Batang Ai River.

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 The Dayak people there live in traditional longhouses, that are long and narrow and sit on stilts because of seasonal flooding and made entirely of bamboo. The stairs from the canoe dock below lead to the communal floor. On one long side is a public area; on the other is a row of private quarters with a single door for each family. 

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River fishing is their main occupation and their social life is meeting each other in their canoes.Head hunting ended under British rule in 1925 but blowguns that stun and drop animals are still used in hunting.

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Man rarely sees orangutans but a rare natural treat is to get up close at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, one of the few in the world. You can watch them feeding but guard your hat and your camera. They grab them and run and, like the 200-pound gorilla in the room, you don’t want to mess with these 200-pound apes.

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