It became expedient to prepare for our farther journey down the river, but first I wanted to take some photographs and measurements of the kampong people; this, however, proved an impossible task because of the adverse influence of the reticent and conservative Raja Paron, who spoke not one word of Malay. Recently he had been shocked by the sale to me of two live specimens of the curious spectacled lemur (tarsius borneanus), which had been added to my collections. The raja was incensed with the man who sold them, because the makiki, as these animals are called, are regarded as antohs, and in their anger at being sold were making people ill. Therefore these new proceedings for which his sanction was asked were regarded by him with disapproval, and as a result of his opposition the people began to disappear in the direction of their ladangs. Fortunately, I had secured good material in both respects from Long Kai, and I began preparations for departure.

Prahus and a sufficient number of men were secured, and in the middle of July we started. On the Mahakam there never was any difficulty about getting men who were eager to gain their one rupia a day. The difficulty was rather the other way, and this morning the prahus were found to contain more paddlers than had been agreed upon, and seven surplus men had to be put ashore. On the river-banks at this time were noticeable trees bearing small fruit of a yellowish-red colour, and which were so numerous as to impart their hue to the whole tree. Violent movements in the branches as we passed drew our attention to monkeys, which had been gorging themselves with fruit and scampered away on our approach. Birds, naturally, like the fruit, and, strange to say, it is a great favourite with fish, many kinds of which, chiefly large ones such as the djelavat and salap, gather underneath the trees in the season. On the Mahakam and the Katingan this is an occasion for the Dayaks to catch much fish with casting-net, spears, or hooks. The tree, which in Malay is called crevaia, is not cut, and there is no other known to the natives the fruit of which the fish like to eat. Though not sweet, it is also appreciated by the Dayaks.

Another singular observation made on the Mahakam was the effect of dry weather on the jungle. At one place, where it covered hills rising from the river, the jungle, including many big trees, looked dead. From what I later learned about the burning of the peat in Sarawak, where unusually dry weather may start fires which burn for months, this was undoubtedly also the case here, but it seems strange that in a country so humid as Borneo the weather, although admittedly of little stability, may become dry enough to destroy the woods in this manner.

I had decided to pay another short visit to Long Pahangei, where we arrived in the afternoon, and again we were among Oma-Sulings. Some good specimens were added to my ethnographic collections, among them wearing apparel for both sexes said to be over a hundred years old and which I bought from the Raja Besar, who was visiting here. He possessed a number of old implements and weapons of considerable interest. The raja of a near-by kampong arrived on his way to Long Iram, and the largest of his seven prahus was of unusual dimensions, measuring, at its greatest width, 1.34 metres over all. Although the board, four centimetres thick, stands out a little more than the extreme width of the dugout, which is the main part of a prahu, still the tree which furnished the material must have been of very respectable size.

The Raja Besar showed great desire to accompany me on an excursion up the Merasi River, a northern affluent within the domain of the same tribe. My preference was for Lidju, my constant assistant, but on the morning of our start the great man actually forced himself into service, while the former, who had been told to come, was not to be seen. The raja began giving orders about the prahus and behaved as if he were at home. As I remained passive he finally said that he wanted to know whether he could go; if I preferred Lidju he would remain behind. Not wanting a scene, and as he was so intent on going, I gave the desired permission. Though, like the others, he was nude except for a loin-cloth, Raja Besar was a gentleman at heart, but he did not know how to work, especially in a prahu. On account of his exalted position he had never been accustomed to manual labour, but always to command. He naturally selected a place in my prahu and seated himself at one side, which kept the boat tilted; however, it was out of the question for any of the men to correct him. When the prahu moved away the first thing he did was to wash his feet, next his hands and arms, finally to rinse his mouth, and several times during the trip the performance was repeated. He was of little assistance except through the authority that he exerted as a great raja.

Early in the afternoon we arrived at Lulo Pakko (lulo = river; pakko = edible fern), situated in a beautiful hilly country. The natives very obligingly helped to make camp in the usual way. Raja Besar, who made himself at home in the gallery of the long communal house, told me that he wanted his "children," as he called the men, to remain until the following day, his plan being to obtain double wages for them. With the swift current, however, they could easily return the same day, so I said I had no objection to their staying, but that they would receive no extra pay for the additional time; whereupon they left without argument.

Comfortably established on the cool, spacious gallery of the large house, I received articles they were willing to sell, had decorative designs interpreted for me, and interviewed the more intelligent of these pleasant Oma-Sulings. On the floor lay an admirably finished plank, which was used as a seat; it was about four centimetres thick and nearly two metres broad, the bark remaining on the edges. In Long Pahangei I noticed a similar one of slightly narrower width.

The women, who were genial in their manners, came to my tent constantly to ask for tobacco, which evidently was a great luxury with them, and sometimes they were even troublesome. One afternoon when all was ready for my bath, which I always take at one side of the tent opening, three young women came and seated themselves just outside. While the natives are always welcome and I like them, yet I was not prepared, after a hard day's work, to relinquish my bath in order to receive a visit from even attractive ones of the fair sex. There was simply nothing to do but to disregard their presence. Calmly I began to take off my clothes, as if the ladies were not there. At first my preparations seemed to make no impression whatever, but finally, when I was about to divest myself of the last of my few garments, they smiled and went away.

This was the season for the durian fruit and we much enjoyed this delicacy, of which Mr. A.R. Wallace, fifty years ago, wrote: "To eat durians is a new sensation, worth a voyage to the East to experience." There were some superb trees seventy metres high growing not far from my tent, and many others farther away. The people of the Mahakam do not climb these tall trees to get the fruit, but gather them from the ground after it has fallen. One night I heard one fall with a considerable crash. Roughly speaking, it is of the size of a cocoanut; a large one might kill a man and has been known to cause serious injury. It is most dangerous for children to walk under the trees in the fruit season.

The durian is intensely appreciated by the natives, and tatu marks representing the fruit are strikingly prominent in Central Borneo. It also has its European devotees, though most of them take a dislike to it on account of its strong odour, resembling that of decayed onions. On my arrival in Batavia one of my first trips had been to the market to buy a durian, which I brought to the hotel with anticipation of great enjoyment. My disappointment was great, its taste being to me as offensive as its odour. Nobody knows what a durian is like until he eats one that has been permitted to ripen and fall to the ground. Even in Java this would be difficult, unless one made special arrangements with the natives who bring them to the market-places. It is popularly supposed that the durian is an aphrodisiac, but that is not the case. Any food or fruit that one greatly enjoys acts favourably on the digestive organs, and therefore makes one feel in vigorous condition.

Those that were brought to me on this occasion, and which had just fallen from the tree, were of a fresh green colour with a streak of yellow here and there and had a pleasant, rich odour. The most satisfactory way to eat it is with a spoon; the pulp, though rich, is not heavy, and, moreover, is stimulating. It serves the purpose of a dessert, with a flavour and delicacy that is indescribable and that makes one feel happy. Among the great enjoyments of life are the various delicious fruits when really ripe and of the best grade, but comparatively few people have that experience. The vast majority are perfectly satisfied to eat fruit that was picked green and matured afterward. Many years ago I tasted a real orange from New-South-Wales, and ever since I have disdained the more acid kind.

My firmness in refusing to pay the men for more time than was necessary produced a salutary effect upon Raja Besar. He fixed fair prices on things I wanted to buy, which before he had not done, and I made him tie labels on the specimens I bought. As he was truthful, he finally served as well as Lidju. On the last day of our stay he helped me to repress the eagerness of the Dayaks to "turn an honest penny." The prahus, besides being defective, were not large enough for many men, and I was determined not to have more than three in each, a quite sufficient number when going downstream. I have a suspicion that he objected to four for reasons of personal safety.

Owing to the rapid current, we made the return voyage in two hours, and when we got to the Mahakam River we found it very much swollen, with logs floating downstream beside us. Our low-lying prahus were leaking and the situation was not agreeable, though I should have felt more anxious had I not been with Dayaks, who are extremely able boatmen. At Long Pahangei the captain from Long Iram, who is also the controleur of that district, had arrived and was waiting on account of the overflow of the river. I had an hour's talk with this pleasant man, who thinks that the Dayaks on the Upper Mahakam ultimately must die out because they do not have enough children to perpetuate the tribe. He said that in 1909, when he was stationed at Puruk Tjahu, nothing was known about the country where we then were.

The Oma-Sulings, according to their traditions, came from Apo Kayan nearly two hundred years ago. Oma means place of abode; Suling is the name of a small river in Apo Kayan. They had at the time of my visit six kampongs on the Upper Mahakam, the largest of which is Long Pahangei, with about 500 inhabitants. Material for clothing is no longer woven, but is bought in Long Iram. This is probably also the case with the Long-Glats, but the Penihings still do some weaving.