National Geographic : 1961 May
KODACHROME© NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Ignoring passers-by, a weaver looms silver cloth in her home near Lake Manindjau, Sumatra. Restrictions on the import of silver thread have almost wiped out her time honored craft. Fabric draping the wall took four months to finish. Soldiers escorted the authors to the village, lest rebel bands intercept them. feigned shyness. She charmed him, and he became aggressive. She then discarded him and chose another. From my place in front I could see Helen across the circle among the women, standing on a pile of bricks. All at once, the dancer slyly advanced toward me. The gamelan picked up the tempo of the music, and the girl began to gesture. There was a rumble of masonry, and Hel en's pile of bricks collapsed. The girl reached past me, and I breathed with relief-or dis appointment-as she selected a young Bali nese behind me. Guerrillas Roam Sumatra Highlands A few days later we bade Bali farewell and headed east for a thousand miles of island hopping through the Lesser Sundas.* Twice we were reported lost at sea. When we returned once again to Djakarta, we decided with great reluctance that Tor tuga's amphibious days in Indonesia were over. Cruelly battered by boulder-strewn trails and pounded by choppy seas, she was in no condition to cross on her own to Su 614 matra, the next island on our itinerary. We loaded her aboard a freighter at Tandjung priok, Djakarta's port. The morning of departure was filled with uncertainty. Djakarta was still in a state of emergency, and armed patrols prowled the docks. Tortuga, with her tanklike lines, drew many suspicious glances from the soldiers. But she was going to have to get used to it, for we were headed for Indonesia's most trou bled isle. Sumatra's woes date back to 1956, when a group of Sumatran officers revolted. "With our petroleum, rubber, palm oil, spices, and tobacco," they announced, "Sumatra con tributes almost 50 percent of Indonesia's for eign income. Java spends most of it. We want a fair share." The revolt was crushed, but Sumatra still suffers from guerrilla warfare. At the time of our trip, much of the island's rugged moun tain spine was in the hands of rebels. South Sumatra and most of the island's towns, how *The Schreiders will describe their voyage through the Lesser Sunda Islands in a forthcoming NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article.