National Geographic : 1955 Sep
Oil Fever Stirs the Sumatran Jungle To tap Indonesia's scarcely inventoried wealth of petro leum, American and Dutch crews push their rigs into tiger-infested jungles and build whole towns deep in sultry rain forests (page 375). This Indonesian team, su pervised by an American driller (center) and a French specialist, prepares to shoot a new well near Pakanbaru. A worker loads steel-jacketed bullets into a gun-perforator tool at intervals of about a foot. Lowered to the correct depth in the well, the bullets will be fired electrically, shat tering the hard sands and causing oil to flow. Once the well has been brought in, the derrick will be struck like a circus tent and moved to the next job. Over the buzzing mar kets hang bird cages hoisted to the tops of tall poles, safe from discour teous rats, and in between the ever-present betjaks wobble bikes loaded with rattan chairs piled up like Eiffel Towers, yard-long bunches of bananas, or tiered porcelain bowls of soup, rice, and fish. Perhaps one "statistic" tells a whole story of Surabaja. When the U.S. Information Service there advertised for a typist, it received no applications for weeks. When it called for an artist to make posters, 50 candidates showed up immediately most of them first-rate! But our goal lay farther eastward-Timor, half Portuguese, half Indonesian. Down the long island chain in ancient days the restless peoples of Asia and India had pressed, driving the aborigines before them toward Australia. Timor, last of the Lesser Sundas, represents the petering out of Indo Javanese and Islamic pressures; here the Pap uan-taller, darker, fuzzy-haired, with his heavy nose bridge-has made a stand.* "There is absolutely nothing to see in Timor," declared our host cheerfully when 357 we reached Kupang, capital of the Indo nesian sector. He was wrong. I shall always remember, for one thing, my accommodations. Taken to what I assumed to be a hotel, I was ushered into a whitewashed room with four wooden bunks, one chair, and one light bulb. I shook hands with a gentleman in pajamas, whom I supposed to be the manager, had some fried * See "Timor a Key to the Indies," by Stuart St. Clair, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, September, 1943.