At 7 in the morning rain on our tin roof had stopped and I was out of bed and getting dressed, ready for breakfest. Today was Trek day, and jeans and a long sleeve shirt were the ideal clothes to fight the bugs, though not the heat. We were heading out at 8, so we made sure to go get breakfast as soon as we could to beat our guide, and just when we finished, he popped up, his afro visible first as he climbed up the steps.
The guy that had brought us in from the bus terminal was guiding us, along with another worker from the hotel who couldn’t have been 4 or 5 years older than me. They would be bringing us through the jungle for the next 4 hours.
When we had eaten and were all ready to go, we followed our guide out of the hotel and between the stores, cabins, and restaraunts down the river. We ended coming up to one of those really dangerous, unsafe looking bridges that I mentioned, and without batting an eye we started to cross it one by one. Okay, in reality maybe they weren’t that unsafe. Though the one next to use consisted of single pieces of wood and no guard rails. But it didn’t help that it had rained the night before and the river had risen and was going very fast.
It was a beautiful day, just a bit overcast so that we wouldn’t be soaking with sweat a few minutes in, and when we got to the entrance I realized I didn’t have to worry about the sun. Jungles pretty much cover you on their own.
The entrance to the jungle, which was a national park, was a simple arch way, and a few signs explaining what some different trees and plants are. But before we could even get to see that, another guide with a different group pointed out a Vine Snake in the trees next to use. Absolutely still and poised on a branch, in was probably about a foot and a half long on a vivid leaf green that made him blend in perfectly. Our guide explained what it was, and the only reason it stuck with me was because Vine Snakes generally pick a branch and stay there, for about 3 months. They don’t move for 3 months, besides for when an unluky critter climbs up the tree (not the monkey!) or a bird flies down onto the branch where the snake gets a meal.
When we finished taking photos, we finally went through the entrance, passed by a restaraunt-area and by some houses until we got to the bottom of a hill, where we crossed a wimpy stream of water on a wobbly board and started to climb. Walking up a trail, we passed by Rubber Trees (A whole valley) which hold little halves of coconuts midway on them to collect the draining tree’s rubber. After spotting jumping Thomas Leaf Monkeys in the trees, we discovered coffee beans, and glowing blue spiders. We kept our eyes peeled for orangutans, but it wasn’t until an hour and a half in we spotted some.
They were in the trees, a Mother orangutan and her child, probably a couple hundred feet up. Too far up for our Iphone 3 to take photos, sp onstead we “Ooohed” and “Ahhed” from the ground, taking a step back every time the baby would try to throw something at us (luckily he didn’t have a very good aim) After a several minutes of that, we kept on walking. My dad had made a sling shot out of dried pieces of Rubber from the trees and with a perfect branch. As we walked he picked up different nuts and aimed a certain rocks, the more he shot the more flexible the slingshot became. We also had walking sticks and small crowns on made of leaves, so you might say we had become one with the jungle just waiting for the perfect vine to swing off of.
After a couple of more sightings of orangutans far up in the trees above us, we finally spotted orangutans close up.
There were a group of people hanging around our red-haired furry friends, a mother and her 2 children. They were so close, hanging out in trees arms-distance away. Some people were grabbing their hands when they reached out, others were busy taking selfies (Hi, I’m James, and I take selfies when I travel and see mokeys)
We watched them jump, swing, and play. While I didn’t agree with the way people crowded them (A decent 10 to 14 people were there) or how they thought it was okay to touch them, but it was really sweet seeing the orangutans in their natural habitat.
Again, after a spree of photos, we were off, going up and down, grabbing onto roots and sometimes reaching points so steep you rather were climbing up or sliding down (usually on your bum)
We passed by a small waterfall at some point where we got to cool off, and after a couple of hours more we were on the last leg of the trip – River Rafting.
Now I mention earlier how the river was looking quite menacing that day, so one can only imagine how it looked a couple of feet away, as I sat in a tire tube barely fitting in it with my mum sharing it with me. But our fearless guides had long, strong sticks in the back and front (we were 4 tires connected front to back) and they heaved us off into the river wielding them around, slicing through the river water was they pushed us off of rocks.
The whole rafting-adventure lasted about 15 minutes, as we passed waterfalls, and really, really, really menacing rocks. But over all, the worst that happened was that we got soaked – which was also the best thing that could have happened.
So overall, our time spent in the Indonesian Jungle was spectacular. We ended up spending the rest of the day not really doing much (besides whining about how achy we were) and the following day we ended up doing a bat cave, which was an hour of sliding through dark caves with 2 flashlights that worked (in a group of 5) on slippery rocks, trying not to smoosh crickets or the cricket-look-alikes that were really spiders sometimes the size of half my hand. Besides a countless amount of bats, I got to see swallow-nests at the very back of the cave, wading through over-ankle deep water.
After a nail in the foot (trying-on shoes injury) and the revelation that we’d been living with a rat for the majority of our stay (cookies were our casualty), we headed out on our 5th day to do 3 and a half hour of riding in a van, quite comfier than our buses, and hopped on a plane back to Malaysia.
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS”
Oh, wait. What was that?
No Photographers were harmed in the taking of this photo.
Rubber tree for Slingshots, Croxs, Cond- … Er, and other certain rubber products
Vine Ssssnake thinking of something. Three months with nothing to do. I wonder what it thinks of?
Thomas Leaf Monkey just chillin’
Sadly, I didn’t pass the exam into their clan. Something about lack of “orange” and “…Banana-Eating Apetite”
‘Art thou’ King of the Jungle
Taking a dip was the main thing on my mind