I normally carry Full Strength protein powder mixes when I travel. Carstensz was no exception. I really relied on it for this trip. I mixed and drank it at the airports, in hotels, and even on the trail in the muddy rain forest equatorial jungle, and in my tent in the evening.
Our meals were pretty bland, third world fair. Lots of rice drenched in a thin soup of corn and onion shoots. Sometimes a chicken wing. Local chicken isn’t fed like in the USA with corn subsidies. You get really scrawny chicken parts here.
One of my all time favorite meals:
We had a breakfast of eggs and oatmeal and “chicken pork” as the guides called it. Some kind of seasoned overcooked noodles. — Carstensz: Stone Age to Iron Age
One of the gear lists put together by a Brit who had done the trek recommended taking some protein with. I figured at 300 calories and 40 grams of protein, Full Strength would be the perfect complement to balance out the temporary malnutrition on the trail. I had experienced this in Africa when I did Kilimanjaro, and assumed it would be as bad here. I assumed correctly.
Carstensz Celebration Breakfast
The morning after Summit Day, to celebrate our great success in climbing Carstensz, one of the most difficult of the Seven Summits, we were treated to the most wondrous of breakfasts:
I have no idea who dreamed up breakfast. Rice and red bean balls. Little, inch diameter, sticky, slightly sweet. A bowl of them. Maybe it’s the traditional morning-after breakfast. We managed to get Charlie to give us some oatmeal. — Carstensz: Stone Age to Iron Age
Later, on the way out, while having our gear searched by local authorities I was witness to this fun:
There were two officers there looking a lot like Eastern Block secret police. They were introduced as being from the government and being in charge of illegal drugs and smuggling.
…they were excited about my Full Strength protein powder envelopes. Bart tried to explain that it was protein powder. They read and reread the labels, pretending to read English when it was obvious they couldn’t. I wanted so badly to say that anything with a Nutrition Facts label isn’t going to have any narcotics in it. At the beginning of the search Bart had informed us that in Indonesia any form of narcotic, including some that are legal prescriptions in the USA are punishable by death, or life in prison, much the same thing. — Carstensz: Stone Age to Iron Age