Goodbye to the Jungle, what an experience – Day 30 – 17/Feb

Okay so the sleep was not the best but after a dip in the stream we felt a bit more alive and returned once more to our ‘home’ – the Cave – and to be sure it was one of the most awesome sights we had seen to date.

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The cave was not only huge but had a large window (hole) as well, which in our dilapidated state yesterday we failed to appreciate but today with the early morning rays streaming through it – well see the photo, even that does not do the scene its full justice. I think this raised everyone’s spirits as the lack of sleep we all felt was hardly mentioned with any seriousness – who needs sleep after all!

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The Troop – after the ‘Good Night’s Sleep!’

 

Dean our amazing guide then worked his wonders and he got some tea and toast going and the world immediately seemed a much better place. After breakfast we took the pots to the stream to give them a wash and as we packed our small packs, Dean packed everything else – rubbish included into his own pack.

The way back was going to be the same distance as coming so still a very long way to go but before we left the area where ‘our’ cave was Dean introduced us to another true Batcave. This was a much smaller cave than our ‘palace’ – once inside and through to the inner chamber there were hundreds of bats were literally ‘hanging out’, that is they were until us noisy lot entered and a few of the less sleepy ones started to take flight. This was one of those moments when keeping your mouth shut was imperative unless you wanted to be chomping on fresh bat guano but we did hang around long enough to get a few Bat shots before taking our leave.

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The way back was as arduous as the way coming but Dean would show us interesting bits along the way, like the bees who go for sweat rather than honey – I could have let them have a few gallons alone. He also showed us the trees the local tribe, the Orang Asli, used for getting the poison they need for their blowdarts you could see the markings they had made on the trees. it looked as though the poison was collected in a similar way to latex from the rubber trees.

We still had many a stream to cross once again using various means – one of the worst being two bamboo poles tied together in a kind of crisscross fashion – this was ‘a bridge’ – then we had to use a pole in the stream to stabilise ourselves. Where is Isambard Kingdom Brunel when you need a bridge or two?

One of the stops before dinner gave us all chance to regress a bit as it had a ‘Tarzan swing’ on the other side but this was real vines etc – so the proper thing (aka Jonny Weissmuller for those of you who know who he is!). I decided to give the thing a hint of realism with my Tarzan call which ‘resounded’ around the area to which the jungle gave the ‘appropriate’ response – silence! Calls itself a bloody jungle indeed!

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‘Tarzan’ – soon to be disappointed1

 

The next stop was the dinner stop where our chef/guide/donkey whipped up another storm to prepare Super Supanoodles Dean-style. The setting though was superb it was where one of the larger streams actually had its own sandbar and Dean set up our meal there whilst we soothed our aching bones/muscles whatever in the cool waters. The Norwegian guy ended up with a leech stuck to him so most of us stayed a bit clear of the water after that!

The last few km saw a couple of the younger lads lose their heads a bit and go charging off ahead – Dean had warned them that if they came across junctions simply to wait there but it appears they did not heed his warning as we all arrived at the river where the boat was waiting for us and they had taken a different track (at a junction). Dean himself went back for them and was quite okay about it all – I think I would have either left them or made them walk the plank!

On the way back down the river the rapids were far easier to deal with and it was just after negotiating these that we stopped for a while at the Orang Asli tribe’s ‘village’ – I say village it was more like a few huts thrown together and a lot of these had been damaged by the flood – or perhaps that was how they were supposed to look. The chief, resplendent in authentic headress – baseball cap, and other vital warrior gear – jeans and tee shirt, first showed us how to make fire use a grooved piece of wood and some jungle ‘string’, then he moved onto blowdarting which turned into a kind of tribal ‘Bullseye’.

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And here is what you could’ve won!

 

The target was a small teddy bear and although one or two of us were good at hitting ‘Ted’ – none of ‘us’ was actually me or Liz. I even managed to miss the elephant stood behind Ted! We were then allowed to have a look round some of the village huts – some of another group pointed out that the chief did appear to have a TV as if tribal chiefs should have no need for modern communication devices but even jungle drums have to evolve, don’t they?

This was our last adventure before home, burger and then bed – I am writing this a good few days from when we slept in the Cave and did the ‘hike from hell’ but even now it brings a smile to my face to think of us all seemingly forgetting that we had had no sleep simply because of the first few rays of dawn that crept into the cave – amazing eh!

 

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