Thursday, May 19, 2005

taman negara - 04


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morning sun streaming into Gua Kepayang Besar: for an idea of scale, look for e Irish & Finn guys posing in e first two photos.

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packing up everything including all trash & clearing out, after a breakfast of coffee/milo in stream/bath water & toast.


leaving by e other entrance that leads to e stream. Gua Kepayang Besar is large enough for e elephants that sometimes wander in there. during one rainy season e cave was flooded & e guide had to swim out of this place together with two Dutch tourists....if you believe what e guide says =P he's quite a character....a Cantonese Muslim who has learnt about stem cells & e scientific names of various plants from Google, who learnt to speak Thai during e years he spent hiding in Thailand while on e run from e authorities - he has supposedly been involved in e heroin trade & mafia, spent two years in Amsterdam, been sent to jail, deported from the Netherlands, been in & out of drug rehab four times, & been a guide in Taman Negara for 9 years.

walked out into e morning chorus of gibbon calls & birdsong. thunder had been heard e previous evening, e blanket of leaf litter was damp, & e ground seemed muddier. came across a hornet's nest along e trail, a wood scorpion in a log that we sat on when we stopped for a break, & a few leeches. further on, e Finn offended a bee & got stung on his head & another guy discovered his first kiss from a leech, & so we stopped for another break, only for one of e French to get stung on e armpit by another irritated bee. April-May is bee season & they were out humming in full force today, settling on our arms, fingers, neck, faces, ears, legs (for those who didn't wear long pants) & armpits (for those in sleeveless shirts) to join e butterflies in licking up e salt in our sweat. this is one of e best ways to get e beautiful butterflies & cute fat bees to stay still & capture macro shots of them =)


~2m muddy drop on e right & e little stream crossing leading to bee central - a tiny bee-infested islet where we stopped to cook lunch. for some reason one bee-weary Frenchman was very nervous about catwalking across e logs, even though e water was at most knee-deep. sat down to soak our feet & wash off whatever e rats hadn't licked up off e plates in e stream. a while later e Irish shouted for e cat to get him his camera from his backpack pocket so that he could photograph his new pet leech having lunch on him.


cooked tom yam (cat poison!) flavour maggi mee with e third dose of assorted vege in streamwater soup, which we ate while trying not to swallow any bees by accident. at any one time e cat had a bee parked on each finger plus a ring of tom yam-loving bees on e edge of its plate, & e cat attracts e least bees in e group....unlike e Irish & French guys who became bee airports - e Irishman appeared to walk around in a noisy buzzing cloud =P his cap was hidden beneath a layer of bees & he had to figure out how to pick it up as e bees hadn't left any space for his fingers to hold it. likewise for his backpack....dragging it over to e fire didn't help much - these bees seem immune to smoke & e backpack remained blanketed with bees.

after feeding lunch leftovers to e fish in e stream, e guide said that we were ahead of time & could hang around till 1pm, which elicited a violent protest from e Frenchman who was obviously more than tormented by e bees =P & so we continued on, climbing over many more fallen logs & crossing many more streams, at one point walking along in one. along e way we found a dead tarantula, & e Frenchman somehow tore his pants during one of e stream crossings.


catwalking across e longest log 'bridge' along this trail. a few muddy sections after Bumbun Kumbang, & then we were crossing e last stream of this trek - another ex-bridge where e planks that weren't rotting were missing - & suddenly we emerged from e forest trail onto concrete pavement....e transition was kinda sudden & took e cat by be walking on hard ground again (e floors of e caves had wall-to-wall soft guano carpeting). found toilets that had taps with running water in e ruins of Kuala Terenggan Lodge. e place has been abandoned for 4 years according to e guide.


end of e trail at e abandoned Kuala Terenggan Lodge. once upon a time guests at e lodge lounged on rattan armchairs on e verandah, enjoying e view of Sungai Tembeling & boats getting stuck at e rapids below.


sign that greets those who chose to start trekking from Kuala Terenggan. covered all 5 of these places on this trip.



where e boat propeller was damaged yesterday: e deceptively calm rapids that were strong enough to suck e boat back towards e rocks on e right. on e left is e little channel that we pulled e boat through to get upriver.


loading onto e boat at Kuala Terenggan for e return journey to Kuala Tahan.


pulling away from Kuala Terenggan.

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