When travelers left Europe for the Orient, before the days of air travel and air conditioning, they could look forward to a long uncomfortable voyage on a sail or steam ship. The sun in the southern seas would beat down on the black hulls of those ships turning the cabins on the sunny side of the ship into ovens. Wealthy travelers could afford to reserve a cabin on the port, or left, side of the ship for the voyage east. This put them on the north, or shaded, side. They would then reserve a cabin on the opposite side of the ship for the trip west, again the cooler north side of the ship. This class of travel became known as Port Out Starboard Home, or POSH, which to this day refers to luxurious accomodations or methods of travel. The only way to go.
This is a member of the Mentowi tribe with Ken Muserlian,|
world traveler and cultural liason. The Mentowi inhabit the
forest deep in the center of Siberut Island. The island is
eighty miles west of Padang, on the west coast of Central
Sumatra. Padang is just a quick flight from Bali, so stop in
next time you're in the neighborhood.
The oldest member of the tribe didn't mind|
posing with an Eastside Marketplace hat
and canvas bag.
The younger members of the tribe thought the whole thing|
amusing, but one would pose with a hat. The tribe consists of
three families, with a total of thirty people. There are many
more tribal groups on the island, some of them more primative,
some of them less, but all of them equally at one with their
This is the Mentowi long house. It's over a hundred|
feet long, and is a beautiful example of primative
achitecture. The whole structure is lashed, notched,
pegged and even contains a few nails. Beautiful, and
functional. My kind of structure.
Nice day for loungin' around the long house. The house is|
raised on stilts, which allows the chickens and pigs the
Mentowi keep to wander around beneath.
The rafters of the long house are hung with the skulls of|
the pigs, deer and monkies the Mentowi hunt for food.
Hundreds, possibly thousand of them. The appears to be a
sign of respect for the animals.
The Mentowi diet also includes fish|
and Sorghum, a paste made from pulp
from the underside of bark peeled from
a certain tree.
The tribe members wear loin cloths made|
from pounded tree bark as well. They adorn
themselves heavily with tatoos, all very
similar to these.
The Mentowi hunt game with arrows|
dipped in poison. The poison kills
quickly in the blood stream, but is
harmless if ingested, allowing them
to consume the game without worry.
The "Piper" is brought to you courtesy of
Copyright © 2000, Chandler H. Johnson