so we arrived at our second destination, Taman Negara National Park. This is the oldest rainforest in the entire world that is amazing!!! to be exact 130 million years old, surviving the ice age and its teice the size of luxemborg so all in all its awesome!
we first braved the canopy walkway which is the longest in the world (i love all these statistics - can you tell?!!) 40m high and six skinny swinging bridges to cross!! for the record, Wendy was the bravest and Andy was the scaredy cat - me and chris somewhere inbetween! i was thinking we could brave it together and hold hands but you had to walk 5 or 10 metres apart so we were on our own! great fun and we continued into the forest and up to the steepest viewpoint ever! it was absolutely knackering, im sure my heart stopped at somepoint but it was good training for Mount Kinabalu!! In the afternoon we went and shot the rapids (some confusion from me who got on my high horse and was adamant i didnt want to shoot rabbits) and it was so much fun and the boat driver was taking immense pleasure from swerving the boat and drenching Wendy - our lovely guide Aida sat at the front with chris and they didnt get very wet - she was on his side as she fancied him! we went to an orang asli settlement which was fascinating. Again i was concerned and we nearly didnt go as i didnt want to support a 'human zoo' setup but it turned out that our friend Aida her father was a good friend of the Chief. The Orang Asli people are the indigenous minority peoples of Malaysia, and its a collective term for 18 different ethnic groups, each having its own language and culture. the group we visted were nomadic and travelled thorugh the forest not staying in one place for very long. when we visited most families had left already, just leaving their houses up, but they will never return to a place. as smoke repels mosquitos thus keeping malaria and dengue fever at bay, they believe smoking is good from a young age and we saw children of 5 smoking. they still use traditional hunting methods but cannot live without tobacco and salt from the modern world. The chief let us have a go at fire making ( the quickest i have ever seen fire made - better than ray mears!) and have a go at the blowpipe which they use for hunting longrange with a poisonous dart, they can go to a distance of 40 metres! the chief was a cool dude and the skinniest man ive ever met! Aida told us that they take the dead deep into the forest and hoist them high up into the canopy, and they leave them there, eyes open, so they can be close to the sun. all very interesting and i think chirs wants to join the orang asli and hunt monkeys for dinner!! had dinner at some lovely floating restaurants and went for another great trek to a the river and andy got several very mean leeches in his shoes!! a great experience and then off to paradise island - next blog!!!