There is probably no place in the world right now that is more populated per square mile with ancient and incredibly resinated agarwood trees than Sri Lanka. And yet, despite this overabundance, this is where the locals know the least about agarwood.
I’m finally back in Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo), and boy is it good to be back! Kalbar, the Sanggau Regency to be exact, was a back breaker. And although this particular trip was very successful, I won’t deny I am totally enjoying the comforts of Kuching. One of the many little things I made sure to enjoy was real, brewed, coffee. A rare commodity in my travels.
But this post is not about Kuching; I wanted to share with you one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve ever had in my travels…
Borneo. A place I always dread going to, due to my overly Canadianized lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong; in my travels I’ve seen my fair share of rundown places, from cramped Khmer gaharu hunters’ storage huts in the middle of nowhere to eerie Myanmar localities and conflict zones in southern Thailand.
But Borneo takes the cake. I’m in “VIP 2” room of a guesthouse in Kalbar (Indonesian West Borneo), where the toilet is literally a hole in the ground without a septic system, and my back can count the number of springs in the mattress. I don’t even want to think about the black mould growing on the ceiling right above my head…
Mr. Wai, the distiller, is an interesting fellow. For one, contrary to what I commonly see here, I am fascinated by his longyi which is tied at his waist elegantly using a device I cannot decipher. He has wise eyes, he pauses before he speaks, and he is very patient. Most importantly, he expressed not a single objection to the Agar Aura distillation techniques I proposed.
The internet connection isn’t the greatest, I can’t seem to find ‘real’ coffee anywhere, and my translator will be arriving soon to pick me up and take me to the wood warehouse and distillery. For all these reasons, I’ll have to keep this post short.