Sumbawa Island – Concluding the Borneo Expedition
Today was the last full day of the Borneo Expedition. Where did the time go? Sumbawa is part of the Sunday Islands chain and covers nearly 6,000 square miles. It is located within the Pacific Ring of Fire and we could see the Tambora Volcano in the distance. It last exploded in 1815 and killed over 72,000 people.
Our excursion today was billed “Sumbawa Highlights” and we were destined to see an array of cultural exhibits. The first stop was the Yellow House or “Bala Kuning.” This was built by the Dutch in 1932 for the Sultan of Sumbawa and is now occupied by his daughter. As well as a residence, it is a museum of sorts, holding many of the Sultan’s treasures.
There were only a few rooms open so it didn’t take long to visit everything. People lined up to take pictures of the greeting committee and then we were on our way to the old Sultan’s Palace. This is a very large teak structure that was built in the last half of the 19th century but is open today only occasionally and has no furnishings. It was renovated in the late 90s with funds from the Japanese government and the woodwork is quite nice.
An exterior view of the Old Sultan’s Palace
Next we continued on to the small village of Pamulung. Here we were greeted, again, by elaborately costumed ladies and small children. After traversing a narrow bridge to reach the local “race track,” our hosts invited us to inspect the buffalo before the race and then sit down for a reenactment of a wedding ceremony.
Although the ladies who participated in the ceremony were beautiful and colorful, I was more intrigued by the musicians who accompanied them. All older men, they were arrayed in bright pink outfits and played drums and horns I had never seen before.
Our village tour brought us in touch with many people, all of whom were very welcoming. It was interesting to see the style of houses built high above the ground and reached with a type of ladder. We saw the small school as well as the mosque which was filled with men and boys on this Friday noon.
We still had a few Indonesian Rupia to spend so we found a very pretty silk fabric where the women were weaving.
These giggling girls caught our attention as we left the village
Back on the ship we had a quiet afternoon before the final Expedition Cocktail at 6:00. Thirty minutes later we filed into Colosseo for the premiere of the Expedition DVD, always a favorite. As always, it ended the adventures on a very high note. A great day all around and at midnight we sailed for Bali.
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