12 Americans Encounter a Slice of Fallen Eden in Krayan

The forests, nature, ambiance, and fresh air of Krayan make 12 American citizens feel content.

Twelve noble-hearted and hospitable American citizens have arrived in Krayan, often referred to as "a piece of Eden on Earth." 

Certainly, the claim that Krayan is depicted with such fantastic words remains a mere discourse until travelers and adventurers witness and experience it firsthand. What do the 12 Americans who have set foot on the land of Krayan say, and what are their experiences? 

Just to remind you, these kind-hearted adventurers are Jordan Marsh, David Revell, Rebekah Payne, Esther McKaig, Christin Wisniewski, Wesley Bowles, Jonathan Gross, Katie Johnson, Marcus Ramirez, and Jack Clay. Their two adult chaperones are Mr. Dan and Mrs. Jodi.

Krayan area has always remained green

Upon meeting and introducing them to the nature, people, and culture of Krayan, the author briefly explained that historically, if one looks at a map of Borneo, the Krayan area has always remained green. "It's because the Dayak people not only preserve it but also live off the land. The Dayak are a part of nature. 

In fact, this land is their living refrigerator. The vegetables, fish, and rice you will eat later in Krayan are taken directly from nature. All the culinary delights of Krayan come from this natural living refrigerator," the author explained, greeted with exclamations of "Wow!" from the future MAF pilots, social workers, volunteers, and humanitarian mission members—young Americans who have "found themselves."

Through long-distance communication from Jakarta via WhatsApp messages, the author has been in constant contact with Kalvis Pagu, the head of Ba' Binuang village, where the 12 guests are staying. Kalvis picked them up from Tarakan airport last week. 

Rain Forest Inn, Ba' Binuang

In Ba' Binuang, Kalvin has a guesthouse. I've lost count of how many times I've stayed there. Originally, the guesthouse was named "Forest Rain." 

However, I pointed out that this is written backward. In American English, it is called "Rain Forest," which means a forest with high rainfall or a rainforest.

It doesn’t matter how Kalvin writes the name of his guesthouse, which is comfortable, peaceful, and located in front of the airstrip. It is very cozy there, even though it looks simple, made entirely of wooden planks and materials. Inside, there is an open lounge area for drinking coffee and eating cakes. 

The fresh mountain breeze from Krayan makes you feel refreshed. At the back, through the corridor of the guesthouse rooms, there is a bathroom. A bit further from there, there is a long open dining area.

Do Americans find Indonesian food palatable? 

Just like we don't feel full in America unless we've eaten rice? It turns out that the Americans who appreciate the beauty and fresh air of Krayan also enjoy the cuisine served by Kalvin and his family. 

Sometimes, what really whets the appetite is the ambiance. Look at what's on the plates of these 12 American citizens and observe their expressions as they eat. Quite different from America, isn't it?

The "sultan" rice, known as adan rice, has such a fragrant aroma that it stimulates the appetite. "The kind-hearted American guests enjoy Krayan food. They like the snails, even though extracting the meat is a bit tricky and requires sucking," explained Kalvin.

From Jakarta, Masri continues to monitor the 12 Americans still in Ba' Binuang, where their days are always filled with joy, laughter, and insatiable curiosity. In addition to playing with the Krayan children, they enjoy the natural beauty and charm of Krayan, which is nulli secundus on the world's third-largest island, Borneo. 

"Kalvin, ask them 'Is it true what I said in Tarakan last week, that Krayan is a piece of Eden fallen to Earth?" Masri Sareb Putra messaged via WhatsApp. 

Kalvin Pagu, the village head of Ba' Binuang, Krayan, Nunukan Regency, North Kalimantan, in Dayak attire.

"Yes, yes. It's absolutely true!" replied Kalvin via text. "Our American guests truly acknowledge that Krayan is a piece of paradise fallen to this Earth."

For your information, the island of Borneo, which is also known as Kalimantan in Indonesia, is the third-largest island in the world, covering an area of approximately 743,330 square kilometers (about 287,001 square miles)​ (Geology)​​ (Borneo Eco Tours)​. 

Kalimantan divided among three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. The Indonesian part, called Kalimantan, makes up about 73% of the island, while the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak occupy about 26%, and Brunei covers around 1%​ (Encyclopedia Britannica)​.

-- Rangkaya Bada

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