A Hasty Exit

Lunch was being prepared, and it was a scene of tranquillity, we were sat under the tree with the children staring at us while their mothers and older sisters panned for gold.

When some people appeared on the opposite bank,

Behind them more people were emerging from amongst the trees. We asked Nasulah what was going on, he shrugged and said "It's people from the taxi boat"
this is an overcrowded motor boat which runs a bus service for settlements on the river. We'd spotted it earlier but it had then stopped and taken a different channel of the river from us. While we'd been sat under the tree, we had heard its engine as it made its way along the river.

The people started calling over to us, Nasulah looked up, what was more interesting was the reaction of the gold panners (women and girls) as they looked up

They called out some questions, which were answered and suddenly looking extremely alarmed, they threw down their pans, grabbed the babies and small children and then rushed away.
We asked what was happening, and Nasulah said
"It's bandits, they have attacked the taxi boat and now they are coming this way"

He agreed with us that we had to go and straightaway. The charcoal burner was doused, the saucepans grabbed and we rushed back into the boat pushing off from the bank and the guys paddled hard.

Nasulah asked to borrow my binoculars and scanned the river bank on the opposite side

You'll be pleased to hear that the bandits did not appear and we escaped safely.