John Wall's comments on countries safety from a birders point of view are
interesting. We have just returned from a short birding trip to Sumatra,
Indonesia. It was extremely safe. However, there was an "incident".
In a homestay, (cheap accommodation) one night at 12.05am just last week
our bedroom door burst open and a voice shouted "Police. Papers!" Annie
handed over her passport and the policeman inspected it, and asked if we
spoke Indonesian. No, we said, so he returned the passport and left the
We heard much talking and arguing in the corridor for two hours and in the
morning found out why. Another couple were staying here and their interest
was pitcher plants. The man came from Malaysia, could speak Indonesian,
and was making inquiries in the village of the whereabouts of a local
Naughty, naughty. This sought of interest requires a permit. What was far
worse was the fact that he was sharing a room with a lady and they WEREN'T
For this crime he had to hand over his wristwatch and assure the policeman
they were in fact engaged. The policeman then demanded 400,000 Rupiah from
our host who had to spend hours beating him down to 100,000. We asked our
host if it would help if we reported this incident but he declined our
offer saying it would only make it worse. Apparently the police regularly
visit and relieve him of his hard earned money.
Our friends in the front room didn't hear a sound and slept through the
No, we didn't see Schneider's Pitta!
Trevor & Annie Quested
Phone +61 2 9955 6266
Fax + 61 2 9959 4005