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Making friends in Kalimantan

So I was miserable a lot of the time. But there were also good times, of course. Like when I first arrived and every thing was fresh and exciting and every experience potentially provided the germ for my research.

When I first arrived in the village, people thought it was strange that I, 1. a woman, 2. a foreigner, 3. alone, should have traveled to Central Kalimantan just to do research.



"Aren't you afraid?", my first acquaintances asked me challengingly. I have to admit this was intimidating, being asked that everyday for the first week I was there.

I routinely replied by asking them why I should be afraid. "I have been told that people here are friendly."

"We do THIS here," they would say, menacingly making a slitting motion across their throats with a finger.

Then I would smile, and say with delight: "Oh but we do that too where I come from!"

And the ice would be broken! Kantiaw, it must be a universal -- at least among Southeast Asian headhunters!

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