Monday, August 20, 2007

Rainforest

A forty-five minute stroll, I thought. That will be nice! Except that when we got to the rainforest and looked at the various trails, we had been talking to a couple of young Dutch guys on the boat who told us they were coming for the second time in three days, and they did the three-and-a-half hour trail and it only took two hours. That sounded reasonable, we thought, so we decided to try that one.

We should have taken note that they were a couple of very young, tall, healthy and fit Dutch guys. They had legs about as long as I am tall.

Still, it was a lovely three hour and twenty minute walk. It was a very HOT walk. I was drenched in sweat after the first ten minutes. I had not expected so much of the trail to be vertical, but still, it was lovely. Plus we got to see some rare proboscis monkeys. They have very rude faces.

Actually, we saw these monkeys right at the beginning of our walk, and didn't realize how rare they were. We were just wandering along the boardwalk at the beginning, and there one was, a big guy, just sitting there up a tree next to the boardwalk. We stood there photographing it, and chatting about how rude its nose was, and then carried on.

A bit further up the trail we came around a corner and three people were there. We started to say hello and the woman said, "Shhhh!" and pointed. We looked up into the trees and couldn't see anything at first, but eventually spotted three more proboscis monkeys, too far away to photograph well. I whispered to the woman,

"If you go a little further there's one up a tree next to the boardwalk, much easier to photograph."

I showed her my photograph, and she looked a little deflated. Then she laughed, and off they went.

There were a lot of naughty monkeys, too. I took photos of them stealing bits of cucumber. I also took pictures of lots of pitcher plants, pointed out to us by the pitcher plant scientists and enthusiasts who we passed going the other way on the trail - seventy of them! - who are here for a conference. That was fun. We passed all kinds of conversations, and they were almost as interesting as the monkeys. Scientists get all excitable when they're in rainforests, and even the very large one who was carrying a lot of weight up the steep bits was being remarkably cheerful about it. I was impressed with his enthusiasm, especially when I saw how steeply that end of the trail started off. That bit must have almost killed him. I suspect that if The Man and I had started off at that end instead of the gently sloping (but longer) climb from the other end, we would have turned around and gone back. It was STRAIGHT UP. Some of the steps provided could more accurately be called 'ladders,' and there were a LOT of them.

The bus out to the park was amazing. We took an ordinary local bus rather than one of the nicer (but expensive) tour buses, and it rattled and shook so much it was a bit like riding in a portable earthquake. The boat ride after that was fun. We all got a little wet.

The walk, though ... that was HARD, mostly because it was so hot. There were places up the top where there were very few trees, but (weirdly) lots of sand. Those bits were very exposed, and very, VERY hot. I was the only person prepared for this, as I had brought along my folding parasol. I may have looked like an idiot carrying a lacy parasol along a rainforest trail, but I was a greatly envied idiot. I was the only one with shade. An Irish woman we'd met on the boat did the same trail the other way (it's a loop) and told me afterwards she started to get worried she'd collapse around that exposed bit. She'd run out of water by then, and was starting to feel a little dizzy. I told her she should invest in a parasol.

Tomorrow, I suspect, we will be resting, and any moving about we do will be done rather carefully.

I am taking photos, but will have to post those later, perhaps from KL. I asked about doing it here, but the woman told me that they sometimes have problems with the particular card my camera uses (xD) on the rather old computers here, so she didn't want to risk it.

5 comments:

Radioactive Jam said...

I'm stuck wondering how the proboscis monkey got its name. Guess it's just one of life's many imponderables.

Kay said...

Oooooohhhhh, another travel log from Badaunt---almost like being there, but the food isn't the same.....tell us about the food, too, and do more pictures--but most of all --ENJOY!!!

Lia said...

Can the parasol double as a hiking stick? I guess it would have to be a pretty sturdy parasol for that, but still - multipurpose is good.

Pkchukiss said...

I'm still surprised you haven't complained about the mosquitoes: are they very nice to outlanders, or were they all eaten by the sandflies?

Badaunt said...

RaJ: Odd, isn't it? You'd think they'd have called it a . . . oh, never mind. The children might be listening.

Kay: The food on Sarawak isn't nearly as good as the food in Peninsula Malaysia, but still pretty good. We couldn't find Indian food, though, and are making up for it now.

Lia: The parasol is one of those fold up ones. If I leaned on it, it would probably fold up, which might not be very helpful.

It does pack up very small and light, though, and I discovered it works pretty well in emergency rain situations, too. Probably not for long, though.

Pkchukiss: So far the only mosquito bite I've had has been in an Internet cafe. We found, when we were walking at Bako national park, that they only came when you stopped for too long. We were afraid to stop for too long because we were worried about taking so long we'd miss the boat back!

I have some mosquito repellent spray, and the only time I've used it so far has been on the cruise we did on our last day in Kuching, on the river. And that was only when we stopped to see the fireflies, and were just sitting there, targets for bloodthirsty mosquitoes. Actually, everybody on the boat sprayed so much stuff around we could hardly breathe for a while, and I'm not surprised the mosquitoes stayed away. We're still not sure whether our new non-smelly mosquito repellent spray really works, or whether it was everybody else's smelly stuff that did the trick.