The Kubu, or to use their correct name, the Suku Anak Dalam, are tribal hunter gatherers who live in Northeren Sumatra.
Before I left for the island, I had worked with my friends and contacts to arrange a meeting with the King of their Tribes.I was eager to learn more about their traditions and customs,especially in relation to the Orang-Pendek. Dally and Sahar had spent a lot of time negotiating a meeting, and as a result, we were lucky enough to be granted an audience with the King, during our stay in the town of Bangko.
Many of the tribe still wear traditional loincloths whilst in the jungle, but for this meeting the King strode confidently towards me in Western Dress- a casual shirt ,trousers and pink flip flops......
On greeting me , he gave me a kiss, and not sure of the protocol, I kissed him back. It didn`t seem to cause any offence , because he smiled back at me!
The King was a remarkable man, and I found the stories he recounted of his customs and traditions ,fascinating.
Turning to the Orang-Pendek, he described how he and his son-in law had disturbed one while they were out hunting in the jungle. It had chased them and in their terror, the two of them had hidden from it under some rattan.The creature had scoured the area for a while, before reluctantly giving up its quarry.
At the end of the imterview,I asked the King to wish me luck on the quest ."No, I will not do that" He said, looking worried ,"I really don`t want you to find it, look what happened to me!"
I really enjoyed my conversation with the King. His stories about his culture and about the Orang -pendek, were hugely engaging.
On the way to Volcano bound Kerinci, I reflected on our meeting.Whatever the outcome of the next few weeks I thought, how many people can say they have been kissed by a King?