We have had a great day today. We did set our alarms but for a bit later as we all wanted to have a lie in today. We decide to go for the set breakfast which consists of toast, eggs, juice and coffee. We haven’t really had any good coffee since arriving in Malaysia and despite asking for Nescafe the coffee that we get here is really vile!
It is starting to rain and we decide that rather than getting our trousers soaked we will wear as little as possible with our raincoats over the top. The main fault with this plan is that our legs will be exposed to leeches and we cover them with repellent cream and then spray our socks.
We catch the river taxi across to the entrance to the park. As we have discovered we can hire jungle boots for 4 ringitt a day, we then make our way to the reserve office and get kitted out. I am feeling the part now and looking forward to a few hours trekking. We are going to climb Bukit Teresik a small hill that is described as being a fairly steep climb and slippery in parts, with good views across the forest once you reach the top.
We reach the entrance of the rain forest. As it has been dry for the past 5 days the path was ok last night but it is much more slippery today and we make our way along carefully. It is extremely hot although very shady and raining lightly. Before long we are all sweating and I decide to take off my raincoat and brave the insects. Suddenly we hear a little shriek from Maisie who has been marching along a great pace. There stuck to the back of her leg is a leech waving its head around and trying to clamp on. It is quite funny but Simon brushes it off quickly and it doesn’t leave any mark. From then on we all watch each others legs and all have to dislodge leeches from our boots at some point.
We have found out the canopy walkway is closed on Friday afternoons so decide to do that tomorrow morning and concentrate on climbing today. It turns out to be quite a difficult climb and we need to pull ourselves up on ropes for some parts of it. We were trying to compare it to when we climbed Savitri in Pushkar in India and decide that although that was much hotter in the burning sun, this is harder by far. I must be getting a lot fitter as although it’s very tiring I’m not as completely knackered as I was then and we all quite enjoy the challenge of it.
We sing “We are the Champions” by Queen when we finally get to the top and wow what a beautiful view. This is one of the most picturesque places I have ever been and in the rain it looks absolutely lush. The huge green leaves are dripping with water and the tops of the trees are covered in mist. It makes quite an amazing sight and we get some good photos for the website.
This area of virgin rainforest is around 130 million years old and we have been told it has never been felled or artificially planted. There are hundreds of different trees, plants and bushes ranging from huge trees to small scrubby bushes. There are so many different shades of green and we recognise trees such as bamboo which are simple to identify.
We begin our descent down and this takes around an hour. At the bottom is an exclusive holiday resort which is good news, as we have begun to realise 5 star means beer will be available. As we are staying across the river in a strict Muslim village there isn’t any alcohol available and after our strenuous efforts a cold Tiger beer goes down great. The kids have some chocolate cake and we head back to our motel for a shower and a rest.
We decide to have dinner at the same restaurant as last night. The kids have burgers and fries but Simon and I have some tasty sweet and sour beef and ginger prawns with rice. It is reasonably cheap and costs around 7 quid including drinks and puddings.
On the way back up to the motel we stop off at a bar where 4 fellas are playing their guitars. Ali hasn’t played too much recently but before long he is playing with them and Simon goes and fetches his own guitar. There are a couple of Greek lads there too and one of them also joins in. Its quite surreal, sat in the jungle listening to them all jammin along to a mixture of Malaysian songs, Greek tragedy and Greenday!
A bonus is that they also have internet access and this keeps Maisie quiet for an hour and a small library with books available for exchange and sale. We buy a 2005 edition copy of Lonely Planet’s China for 4 quid.
Its 11pm now and I’m off to bed, need to conserve some energy for tomorrow.