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Ash’s Travel Diary

Friday, 24 Mar 2006

Location: Kuching, Borneo, Asia - South East

MapPhotos added.

Went to Bako forest early on Thursday. Took the bus & boat with 2 Irish guys & lass (Pierce, Shaun & Helen) from my hostel. The poor gits are in the last 2 weeks of their 18 month travels but are remarkably upbeat still.
As soon as we got off the boat we spotted a green viper & i was there in my camo thinking i was Steve Irwin. I flashed a photo straight in its eyes. This is the ticket i thought!
We went to the office to report our arrival & the guy went through the warnings; leeches, stingrays, boars, cheeky monkeys & the green vipers! So i asked if we could take photos of the snakes. 'No, nooo crazy boy, he see flash, he jump 6 feet at you.'

I looked round & everyone was in their hiking boots & some had the full on trekking sticks etc. Me, pure amatuer in my Chang vest & pair of adidas.
We set off on our first trek & were joined by a really friendly canadian teacher called Lynn. First trek was looking for the rare proboscis monkeys, it was just over 2km round trip but it was heavy terrain & in 35 degrees it was no Irchester country park. Saw a few up in the trees but nowt clear.
After lunch, did another trek to a totally secluded beach which was about 3km round. Wasn't the best beach ever but set in a cave & the water was like a bath so mushent grumble.

After dinner, a big group of us got together & got a few beers in as it was Shaun's 28th.
There was a wide mix of us drinking including, a Kiwi actress, 50 year old painter from Bristol & a retired 29 year old American multi-millionaire!
As you can guess the yank got my attention. He was Havard educated & had been working as a wall street trader but had been told if he didn't quit, he'd die through stress & being a fat bastard. So he's doing a few months travelling whilst he's on gardening leave. He had some fascinating stories about America & the finance world (my line of work, zzzz) & was a really genuine bloke. Plus, he kept getting the beers in!

Today we got up & did an 8km round trip (5 hours) to the island's waterfall. After sweating out the previous night's beer, we made it to the waterfall & it was just like you'd see in the movies. Small waterfall with a clear swimming area below it. We were the only ones there & swam around & talked for a few hours. It was superb & no leeches thank God!

During the few days i managed to see most of the animals, loads of proboscis monkeys (weird things), few snakes, lizards, few wild boars, huge ants & loads of macaque monkeys. The macaque monks are the cheekiest little feckers i've ever come across. I remember my brother telling me a story from Sri Lanka where one nicked his toothbrush whilst he was in the shower & i thought he was shitting me. Now i know what he meant. They'd swing from nowhere & nick your crisps or anything they can get their claws on. When i walked out the hostel this morning, one snuck up behind me & was trying to open our door handle. So i gave him a little 'shoo', he hit back with a waving growl, so i returned the favour. We must have been staring/growling each other out for about 5 minutes before i won.

Tomorrow morning, me, the Irish & another lass i haven't met are off into the jungle to stay with an 'Iban' tribe for 3 days. Its sounds really good cos its not a naff organised tour & we will be sleeping in the longhouse with the family & helping them with their daily chores. Bound to be an expierence, whatever.

Am off, got an early start tomorrow & am totally wiped from the last 2 days in the forest. Have got cramp everywhere possible, various bites & a nice Rab C Nesbitt vest mark where i've been sunburnt!
I'll be missing the derby game tomorrow so if anyone can text me the score, i may attempt a sneaky look at my phone but jungle reception is unlikely.