Hello once more to our avid followers!
Well, we're going to try and keep this short. Of course we love you all and thank you for the messages. It makes us smile when we read them! Important news is that Adam's hat after nearly 6 days of service was left either on a bus or in a cab. Adam now has a new hat and it is already 6 days old, fingers crossed for this one!
We've been in Miri on and off for the last week. There isn't a lot here but there were a couple of things to do. We visited the Niah Caves at a National Park. The caves are home to some exceedingly old cave paintings and some burials were located there too. One skull from the site has been dated around 40, 000 years old! The park is not as great as some of the others which we have been to, but the accomodation was the best of all the parks! The walk to the paintings started along a plank walk and then through a very deep, dark cave. Not the most fun Ruth has ever had as it was incredibly slippy, with no hand rail and bugs flying around our head torches.
After returning to Miri we took a flight to Bario in a 12 seater twin otter plane. The flight took around 50mins and we landed in the middle of nowhere! Bario is tiny. The whole region in the highlands is home to 1000 people. There are few cars as getting them there is expensive and difficult. The roads are dirt tracks. Electricity is by generator for 3-4hours each evening and the majority of cooking is still done over an open fire. Bario is very famous for its rice and the Orang ulu tribe.
From Bario we walked with a guide through virgin jungle to his village Pa Lungan. He cut his way through the jungle with his rather large and sharp knife as we followed closely behind trying to flick off any leeches which were showing an interest in us! In the forest he showed us how to build a shelter and got us to drink from both bamboo and vines. He made a blowpipe quickly from bamboo and the soft inside of a palm stalk and a cup from a large piece of bamboo. The trek was long and tough. We were so glad to reach his village with its 40 inhabitants.
Pa Lungan, like Bario, is surrounded by rice paddies and water buffalo and hens. The houses are modest wooden buildings raised from the ground. Adam was lucky that they had been hunting so he was able to try wild boar which was butchered in the main room by the fire.
We returned to Bario by road. A road in Bario could be only wide enough to walk along, submerged by water, involve walking across single wobbling logs, sliding around...not suitable for cars! We ate our lunch from leaves on the journey and felt comfortable in throwing the leaf to the ground. No plastic bag or lunch box required!
Back in Bario we went to visit the Penan village. The Penan make very simple homes, often wthout 4 walls and no electricity. They move whenever they like and hunt to survive. Their existence is incredibly simple and primitive.
We were very lucky to see 3 women and 1 man with long ears during our stay. Noone elongates their ears anymore and most who have long ears have had them cut or wrap them around the top of their so as to appear normal. The ears were pierced with a twig which they would change for a larger and larger one as time went on before wearing ear weights. It's strange to think that in a few years noone will look like this anymore.
Aside from one leech bite between us (unlike two people we walked with - 15 leeches and we won't say where 2 of them were found) we are very well and happy. Lots of Love Adam and Ruth