We were among the relatively few Americans who were for a while unaware of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
At the time of the attacks we were ending our stay in an Iban tribal “longhouse” deep in the forests of Borneo, with no communication with the outside world. We had no hint of what had happened.
The next morning — late evening in Washington and New York — we traveled a dozen or so miles by boat to a lakeside tourist hotel. As our small, somewhat bedraggled group was registering in the hotel lobby, a television in the bar was showing news of worldwide stock market plunges headlined “Attack on America,” with voiceover in a Chinese dialect. Unable to understand the announcer, we guessed that there was some sort of run on the dollar or sell-off of Treasury Bonds, until pictures appeared of the World Trade Center ablaze and then collapsing.
That night we sat for hours seeing the same photos over and over, worrying about family and friends at home, and starved for more details.
Naturally, we wanted to abort the rest of our trip and return home. We soon learned, of course, that this was impossible, as flights into the U.S were forbidden. So we continued our travels in Borneo, picking up bits of news as best we could along the way, until we were able to fly home.
Jan and Bob Allnutt live in Bethesda.