Back on the malaria tablets as we headed into the rainforest for a 3 day trek. The base town is called Kuala Tahan and is a cute little town perched on the banks of a vast muddy river. The edge of the town is lined with a row of floating restaurants on the water itself, where whilst eating your dinner you are joined by all kinds of light seeking bugs!
We packed a small daybag for the jungle - 1 pair of trousers as few tops, 3 big bottles of water, a very tatty groundmat, sleeping bag and a plate and cup. Oh and oodles of Mozzie spray. We took a two hour long boat ride to the starting point where we saw water buffalo lazing on the banks. Right from the start our guide informed us that we would be having 'leech check' spots. It was gross. You could see them all doming up from the ground like little aliens, trying to find something to latch on to. And once they did it was so hard to get the little suckers off.
It was so humid. I didn't know I was capable of sweating so much. We scrambled through dense forest, squelched through rivers and streams- trainers and all, clambered over and under fallen trees and balanced along branches where he mud was too soft. There were the biggest ants i've ever seen - like thumb size. In fact everything was supersized.
The first night we spent in an amazing cathedral sized, echoey dark cave. None of us quite expected that. We huddled together on nothing but a roll mat and cooked dinner on a camp stove. we lit a fire, which our guide told us would warn the animals of our presence and they would stay away...It went out in the middle of the night. The guide slept by his knife. I think he was the only one that slept. I had the most uncomfortable nights sleep of my life, but what a place to spend the night.
I woke up the next morning after hanging my clothes on a line to dry - to find them wetter than yesturday. With only one pair of trousers I had no choice to put them back on, they wouldn't have stayed dry for long anyway. We saw a monkey swinging high in the trees today, which was pretty cool. Saw lots of elephant poo, but sadly no elephants. It was a great feeling to reach the river and some open space after being so confined for 2 days. We took a longboat and spent the night with a local tribe, sleeping on a raised bamboo platform witha grass roof. One of the tribesmen had spotted 2 tigers in the forest just 3 months ago. That was the second worse nights sleep of my life!
By the time we reached the river we were so hot and smelly, we just stripped and dived straight in. Which confused a boatload of Japanese tourists, who had taken the boat expecting to witness the practice of the native tribe, only to find 6 white westerners in their underwear washing with soap ands a flannel! We got to use a blowpipe again which is always fun and I bought one from them as a souvenier. Will have to try and smuggle it back as a walking stick! When we got it to the hostel. Tom and I set up a target above one of the other beds, to test it out. He blew a really hard puff..... and nothing came out but a cloud of black ants. It was hillaroius. We spent the next hour trying to sweep them out.
Before we left we got to walk the canopy walkway, hanging 45+ metres in the trees. This construction would never have passed british health and safety standards. A mixed-managery of ladders, wood and rope tied to the trees. It wobbled like crazy as you walked along and was suprisingly high. It was great to be above the dense undergrowth, but all the animals were wise to it and stayed well clear. It was more about the challenge.