The next day, we were introduced to some Indonesian culture. We were picked up from our hotel 30 minutes later than had been agreed upon, and then waited for the others for another hour and a half at KFC where we ate breakfast. Yup, KFC has breakfast. We didn’t branch out much with food, they like everything with hot chile sauce and we didn’t want to risk getting sick in the jungle.
We waited with the wife and child of one of our friends, and I quickly connected with her. She told us a lot about Indonesian culture, including the fact that when an Indonesian says they will arrive at 5 o’clock, they really mean that they will leave wherever they are at 5 o’clock. In addition, they love coffee, tea etc to be extremely sweet, and that if caught in possession of marijuana, the penalty is death.
The biggest lesson on Indonesian culture has to do with time, which connects to our earlier observation about it. We found out later that our five hours for the boat ride had been a rough estimate, but it was an adventure anyway. It was all worth it to gain the trust of the people that we are truly interested in what they do and in kratom itself, and that we are dedicated to the kratom industry. We traveled one hour by car to get to the boat.
Three hours by boat on the Kapua River.
Three more hours in the car to Ketapang.
And another hour by boat.
Finally, we arrived. The tiny fishing village was just like those I remember seeing in the Discovery Channel’s show “River Monsters.” When our driver pulled the boat up, it rocked against the haphazardly strewn logs and pieces of wood that were hodgepodged together to form a path that we teetered across to get to ground. The curious villagers greeted us with smiles as the children played in the river.
What came next, what we came for, would be the foundation of our relationships with our Indonesian friends. We were about to see kratom in its natural habitat.