From Marudi to Long Lama.

They told me the ferry service to Long Lama might have not been active, then they told me it was leaving at 8, or maybe 10, or 14.

In fact I left Marudi on one of the spaceship-shaped boats at 13:30 (-ish). It took four hours to reach Long Lama. At the pier in Marudi, a sign warns against crocodiles, and indeed I saw one lying on the river bank a few minutes upstream of the town. The boat trip is enjoyable and it tastes like a little adventure (I have had the same feeling every time I board anything that floats ever since I was a kid, really). Instead of staying inside the noisy and stuffy rocket-like boat (by shape if not by speed) I spent the whole trip on the deck. Rivers are like sunsets, they make everything look nicer. The river banks still look well forested, but looking further the forest coverage appears suspiciously discontinuous, with only few trees towering much higher than the rest of the forest, as if most of the tall trees had been removed. While I cannot confirm this, I can confirm that palm plantations reach the banks in a couple of spots, and logging stations can be seen on the banks, with barges loaded with timber waiting to be taken downriver, and many dredges are digging gravel from the river bed, and there is a limestone quarry a few minutes downstream from Long Lama.

image

The trash disposal system on the ferry consists in tossing everything from durian seeds to plastic bottles overboard. I bite my tongue and shut up.
In Long Lama the usual ugly concrete buildings are mixed with the traditional wooden houses on stilts. A few women, possibly Kayan or Kenyah, have elongated earlobes that in one case reach below the woman’s collarbones. The English speakers are less and less.