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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tembeling River and Taman Negara, Malaysia

Taman Negara
We have arrived deep into the oldest rainforest on earth. The trip here was amazing--like something out of a novel. The bus trip to the jetty was uneventful-3h long and then we arrived at the jetty. We had to hang around for a couple of hours until our boat arrived. Peter got overheated and felt very ill. I found an office with air conditioning and insisted he rest there. He seems to have a little tummy bug and I realize now that it wasn't my ulcer returning but a tummy bug we must have caught in the Vancouver airport. I am better and Peter is nearly better.
The boat arrived. A long, wooden rickety Malay style canoe with a tin roof and an old motor on the back. It seated about 12 people. And then there is the river. The RIVER! A huge, wide, jungle river--fast flowing, deep and brown in colour. The Tembeling. It was terrifying stepping onto the boat--no life jackets expect ancient, moldy ones if you chose to brave putting one on. Even entering the boat proved death defying--the wooden steps of the jetty were rotted away in places and one false step you fall into the deep river.
Once we settled into our floor seats, off we went. The trip was so beautiful, wild and raw that I still cannot believe I had such an amazing experience. 3 hours of traveling down this giant river lined with thick jungle. The only natural animals I saw on shore were water buffalo. However, from the bus widow I spotted many monkeys and a giant hornbill bird. We finally arrived to unload at a floating restaurant. From there we hiked up a steep hill with our luggage and waited for our driver to take us to Travellors Home.
Travellers Home is proving to be an unique experience. We stay in a small pink terra-cotta coloured cottage away from the main brick lodge. It is quite rustic in the cabin, less so in the lodge. Breakfast and dinner are served at a very long table outside on the patio. We eat with all of the guests--most from Germany and Holland have met a nice Irish couple from near Belfast: Sveb and Nasia. The staff are very friendly, helpful and nice. Our cabin though is a little rough--one thin table cloth style small blanket and a bottom sheet is all the bedding we get, aside from 2 rectangular solid foam block pillows. The bathroom smells like sewer gas and we have to keep the door shut at night to keep from being gassed. The sink has only one water tap that provided luke warm water. And the drains are grotty, grotty, grotty! Such is the jungle I guess.
Last night we took a boat ride across the river to the park in the dark. There a guide led us on a jungle hike. Unfortunately all we saw were insects--big ones to be sure. However, the most amazing thing were the sounds. Nothing compares to the jungle at night. A symphony of thousands, millions of creatures calling out. So beautiful. It is VERY humid and hot and I nearly fainted a few times on the hike because me in my malaria paranoia was wrapped up like a mummy. I had to remove the hoodie though by the end on the hike or I would have fainted. My entire body was dripping with sweat and my pants had become heavy and wet.
Pics to come once my camera battery is charged.
PS comments anyone? What's up with that??? It is very difficult to find places to blog--these posts do not come without sweat. However, I take my job as reporter very seriously and I believe it is my photography and blogging that keeps me calm and present in the moment. I never feel culture shock or fear. I think it is the combo of my Buddhism practice and my job as reporter ;)

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Blogger Miranda said...

Ok OK! While you are braving the earth's oldest forest, we were braving the wilds of Kamloops....different but comparable.

So glad you're getting an authentic (ie not 5*) experience!!!

E/t sounds dream like! Wish we were there!!

July 4, 2010 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger theresa_hart said...

How about I am so busy keeping your daughters tickety boo that I have not had one second. Tried to duplicate your jungle experience in the wilds of kootenay lake by camping - quite a thrill! I thought you guys were going to wear those netted things around your head, what happened to those? I'm thinking all the physical risks you are taking would mean the trip wouldn't be open to someone like me ie) the steps to the boat, the hike to the guest cottages. if I thought the camping bed was too hard on me what about the jungle bed? Hope no monkeys attack you like they did Paul in Malaysia.

July 5, 2010 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Johan said...

Jungles, insects, noises all night.... Wonderful. Good description of what will be a most memorable trip. Are the Dutch tourists as nice as I am??
Your daughters are warming up to the old codger. I fixed the white screen of Mist's iTouch so she can see the songs again without having to guess where to poke. Pip chatters with me quite a bit and even the Tabs will share some words with me now and then. As for Dodo: he will be a new dog after my stern discipline efforts ;) Have loads more fun guys.

July 5, 2010 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Melissa Mix Hart said...

So happy my girls are having a royal vacation--Thank-U.
Kamloops is a cake walk!

July 6, 2010 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Thanks Melissa!! Doing the same old same old here so it has been fun reading about your adventures. Looking forward to your next post!!!!

July 6, 2010 at 6:19 AM  
Blogger Melissa Mix Hart said...

joop:Happy that you're keeping the crew in order. And no, the dutch aren't quite as suave and gentlemanly as yourself. They are nice to be sure, however they are cool and stand offish at first. One must approach them and chat candidly before they will acknowledge you.

July 7, 2010 at 4:33 AM  
Blogger Melissa Mix Hart said...

Thanks Carolyn, Happy you are enjoying the posts!

July 7, 2010 at 4:33 AM  

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