Fiasco: Get A Guide
Traveling around the countryside on the island of Sumba, Indonesia is quite an adventure. My wife and I asked our hotel to call us a driver that could give us a tour of several local villages. However, we were under the impression the driver would escort us into the villages and translate for us, but he did not leave the car. So our initial arrival was always awkward to say the least, accompanied by a lot of hand gesturing and uttering of a couple of mispronounced phrases we briefly rehearsed with the hotel owner before setting out.
Entering the villages was generally the same drill. First you get attacked by a mob of kids. Next a few adults approach saying, "smoking, smoking?" with two fingers motioning towards their betel stained lips. Eventually you are led to the chief, who invariably is the last person in the village you'd pick out as being a chief. Usually a young teenage boy with the only western clothes in the village. After an introduction, you are asked to sign a guestbook and pay a donation to the village. Just keep handing the chief bills until he seems happy, so don't break out your entire billfold. Lastly, the chief turns you loose to amble around the village and people offer to sell you things, but most of the villagers appear to be shy or surprised at your presence. It was quite an experience to see people living an ancient lifestyle in this modern world.