It has always been my belief that if you can communicate with locals in another country, you can have an authentic, personal experience no matter where you are. But Myanmar (Burma) was daunting. I couldn't read the script, couldn't comprehend one word of what people were saying and, when I opened my mouth, no one could understand me either. Then I made a connection.
For more than a century, since explorers and missionaries first ventured into the interior of Borneo, outsiders have been captivated by its half-truths and half-fictions, awed by its headhunting heritage, its tales of giant insects and snakes, of wild men who lived in trees, of prodigious leeches that stood up when sensing a human.