Apologies that the photos are a little on the slow side. We are uploading as we write! Thank you for the messages on the board once again. It's really fun reading them, even if you are having a conversation amongst yourselves!
Since we last wrote the first place that we visited was Bako National Park. To reach there we took a bus and then a boat down the river to the park entrance. We didn't spot any crocs en route but they are known to be near to Bako village, but no the park. We waded ashore in the bath temperature sea and checked into our damp, smelly room for 3 nights. Aside from the room it was an excellent trip. Sat in a bush next to the canteen was a pit viper. It's been there for a month now and it is the deadliest snake in these parts!
Around all of the buildings you could see macaques. They have quickly learnt where all of the good food is and so hang around all day waiting for the unsuspecting tourist so that they can steal their dinner. Also not far from the buildings we saw silver leaf monkeys, two with young which are bright orange! Down in the mangroves we were lucky enough to see the rare proboscis monkey every day. One day we saw no less than 30 at once! All they do is pick a leaf to eat, then another and another and another!
We did three hikes while at Bako the first to a beach. We were the only two there and it was stunning and a great place for a dip (no crocs). Our second walk in the rainforest was in horrific rain and was like one long river crossing for over 3 hours! The worst part of the walk is the sad fact that Adam's new tree bark hat died a very sad death. We are now searching for a new hat with little success at presnt, but third time lucky! Our final hike could be called lazy! We caught a boat to take us round to a beach in between some rocks and a very well known rock called the sea stack which will have disappeared within the next 5-10years. We wouldn't have had such a good view of the rocks if we hadn't taken the boat! We enjoyed some more swimming in the warm water and wandered around the beach as two sea eagles flew over head before returning to camp!
Other wildlife at Bako includes the bearded pig which we saw on a daily basis, the tiny balck squirrel, spiders, paradise tree snakes, stick insects, swallows, mud skippers, blue crabs, sea snakes, king fishers and so on. We saw many of the previously mentionned on a night walk including a second pit viper which the ranger decided to poke continually with a stick in order to get it to strike. We were relieved when it didn't strike, but we were rather uncomfortable that he did this when we were less than a metre away!
On leaving Bako we heard that a Rafflesia was blooming at Gunung Gading National Park. The Rafflesia is the largest flower and can grow up to 3m. They only bloom for 7 days and take a year or so to grow! So we promptly booked accomodation and headed to the park. We arrived on the flower's fourth day and it was beginning to droop, but being 68cm and bright red it was still impressive. It's not every day that you get to see this rare flower! Seeing as it was so hot for fun we decided to do the hike to the summit of the park (957m). The hike was hard and took us 4 hours instead of the suggested 6. We must learn to take our time!
In the park there are three waterfalls. They are pretty, but nothing spectacular. However the park allows for open water swimming. So a well earned was fabulous.
We had a visitor in our room last night at the park. As we were about to turn off the light a lizard came under the door and shot up the wall. Adam chased it around the room with glass only to discover that there are holes in the joins of every wall of the rooms, so it was useless. We spent a slightly nervous night trying to sleep in the jungle this time!
Today we have arrived back in Kuching and are trying to catch up with little jobs and trip planning. We decided we deserved a treat though and we've been for an hour long body massage. For the two of us it cost £15, not each, for both of us! So, seeing as we splashed out we cut back on dinner and had a sugar cane drink each, Ruth had a Malay noodle dish and Adam had lemon chicken with rice. The total of the meal was £1.60. What an expensive meal!
We hope you've enjoyed our ramblings of nomadic life! We would like to take this opportunity to tell you that we appear to have jobs in NZ. Adam is pretty much starting as we arrive printing magazines in Timaru and Ruth has school interested in her in the same area. All very exciting!