Day 31, 9 March – we left Bukit Lawang the way we arrived, by shared taxi, same route out as in, through rough one-street villages that still turn out immaculatly uniformed school children. Past locals, 90% of whom seem to be sat doing nothing other than staring at their phones, the 10% being women listlessly sweeping dirt and leaves from their property only for it to be immediately blown back onto by the heavy truck transport and dozens of mopeds. Past smokers, so many smokers, all men. It seems most of the men smoke, constantly, but we cannot recall seeing any women with a ciggy. Worryingly for the country though we also saw lots of schoolboys smoking too.
Just as much palm oil traffic as before. Forest clearance around here is supposedly banned yet 22,000 ha have been cleared from Jan 2015 to April 2017. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer and consumer of palm oil and supplies half the world’s supply. 6m hectares of palm plantations – 2 Belgiums worth!