Eh heh hum (that’s me clearing my throat), as I lay on this bunk bed typing out the blog, I am completely overwhelmed with tiredness. It has certainly been a long day, one of which had equal parts travel and exercise, I can physically feel my body screaming out for rest. Being the committed writer I am, I will do this one before I go to sleep.
• 6am start, can you believe that! I climbed down from my bed, and using my puffy eyes to guide me, made my way to the rooftop shower.
• Feeling slightly awake, Anna, Sarah and myself walked to a local coffee franchise for breakfast.
• The Kaya Butter toast was nice, however, their idea of boiled eggs left something to the imagination. My brain was telling me they were eggs, yet when I put the spoon to my mouth the texture was that of soup. Instantly my body rejected the egg flavoured meal.
• The 3 of us returned soon after, grabbed Jenna and Megan, checked out, and waited outside for our lift. At quarter to eight a small green and white minivan pulled up.
• We were only driven for a matter of 5 minutes (passing the bus station we first arrived at in KL, turned out we were close to our hostel the whole time) before reaching the office where we had to pay for the trip.
• While Sarah, Jenna, and Anna sorted that out, I escorted Megan around the dodgy looking bring and buy sale going on outdoors. It was a horrible sight. The street was filled with mats, containing what was clearly stolen merchandise. The reason Megan and I walked around was because we were hoping to find any of her belongings, which were snatched the other night. Sadly we didn’t find anything, but it was obvious the phones, iPods and other electronics were stolen, due to their quality and lack of quantity. Another shocking item to see for sale was a dirty pair of trainers. The stain on the top had to be mould, no doubt, quite who was buying shoes like that, I don’t know!
• After our detective skills let us down, we returned to the bus to find everyone else loading our bags aboard. We were very lucky when we left the office, as we only had to share the bus with one other guy. He was a Dutchman in his mid forties named Eric.
• Because of a lack of passengers it meant we were all able to recline our seats. I made conversation with Jenna for the best part of the trip, as well as making a start on my “Marching Powder” book. It was very difficult to read because of our driver. He was very fast, at points he would stray across to the oncoming traffic lane to help maintain his speed, almost as if he were following a racing line on each corner. We overtook lots of vehicles, stopping only once for a bathroom break and snacks.
• Our driver was so quick that he shaved 15 minutes from the supposed 3 hour journey. How we didn’t crash was anyone’s guess. We were dropped off at the ferry port (I guess that’s what you’d call it) where we were told we’d have to wait a further 2 hours before the boat would be ready. We used that time to order some food and drinks, ready for the 3 hour boat ride we’d be partaking in.
• The boat didn’t look very reassuring, and was not what I was expecting at all. Instead of being a larger vessel that would be capable of carrying people and luggage, we got a long tail style boat which was very low and close to the water. Miraculously, the driver got everything, and everyone on, then off we set.
• Sarah decided to sit next to Anna the whole way, I sat next to Jenna, then Meg was left with an Australian gentleman. Jenna and I got even more acquainted that trip, talking about diving for the best part, which didn’t help matters, as by the end of the conversation we both wanted to go diving immediately. It was a nice boat ride, comfortable enough, and the weather was gorgeous. Somewhere between 4-5pm we arrived.
• We were given a quick briefing by one of the employees of Taman Nagara, who told us the do’s and dont’s of the park. We were then given directions to our hostel, which we followed perfectly. We dropped off the bags (which is always a satisfying feeling, and maybe why I always mention it) but had to have separate rooms. This was because there were only 4 beds per room. We lost Jenna and Meg, in the process, but when we were all sorted we went for a walk to find somewhere to drink.
• Just around the corner from our place of residents was a local shop. We sat there for a while, enjoying refreshing beverages, each others company, and the occasional foul stench of stagnant water. Not long after that we found a place to eat.
• One place which was suggested to us was “Family Restaurant”, it was just after we checked in that the receptionist told us about it. Good job too, their food was lovely, and to say we were in the middle of nowhere they charged very little for their meals. Usually in places where they know you’ll buy food, the price triples. It was lovely to sit on the river as we ate. The surrounding forests were breathtaking. Tall trees packed with wildlife, rivers with children playing, and passing boats every few minutes really made for a nice scenic dinner.
I also saw a young boy playing Grand Theft Auto, he can’t have been any older than 5. This is completely unrelated but I just feel as though it should be mentioned, he was killing cops for goodness sake.
• Afterwards, we returned to the hostel to put on some jungle attire (long sleeves, trousers etc) as we were about to take part in a night safari. This saw the 5 of us squeezing into the back of a pick up truck, 3 on the roof (plus our guide) and 2 in the back. Then we were driven through the jungle to see what animals we could find.
We didn’t find much, in order of appearance: a leopard cat, herds of cows, a bat on a branch, a sleeping hummingbird, a kingfisher, a golden webbed spider, and a final leopard cat. The most annoying part was when we first discovered the leopard cat, not because of the discovery, but because there was another truck hot on our tails (no pun intended). With two trucks driving around, and the second being older a louder, it scared off any potential animals. In the end I think our driver got on the radio and told them to leave us.
We saw many animals that trip, which was good, as we were told we’d only have a 35% chance of seeing anything. Towards the end I was lead down in the back, that was until we stopped. I immediately sat up thinking we had discovered something new and amazing. Instead, I ended up in the saddest situation of my life. The reason we stopped was because of 2 tiny kittens.
Sarah asked the guide if we could take them back to town and home them. When the driver said yes, she told me to hop down and pick them up. The cutest fluffiest white one was more domesticated, “meowing” as loud as it could, coming up to me for tickles, then climbing my leg like a tree. The other brown and ginger one was more timid, but “meowed” all the same. It turned out the guide and our driver didn’t want them. Meaning I had led these kittens on, and then had to jump in the truck so we could get away.
They wouldn’t leave, they looked so defenceless and sad, being really careful not to run them over we pulled away. Things got worse as they began to chase us. They looked too small to have made it to the middle of the jungle on their own, which lead me to believe someone had dumped them there. Lets hope after millions of year of evolution, and Charles Darwin’s proven and tested theory of the strongest survives, was wrong. At least, just this one time. I really hope they survive, as the vulnerability they showed as we drove away, leaving them to fade into blackness, hearing only their meows echoing into the night is still killing me now!
• The night safari was ruined for me shortly after the kittens, even if Anna and I swapped seats with the girls on the roof. I befriended our tour guide, he was only 17, and when I told him of my travels he asked me to add him on Facebook. It’s funny, every time you make brief conversation with a stranger in Malaysia, they always end up asking you for a friend request on Facebook. Feeling quite flattered, I jotted his name in my phone for future reference and we continued back towards town.
• Aizat was his name, and he told me that the biggest creature he had seen was a leopard in a tree. Sadly we didn’t see anything that grand, but on the return journey I did see a young ginger cat walking into the jungle, perhaps there was hope for the kittens yet!
• We were dropped off in town, we bought some ice creams, sat around and had a chat with a local for bit, then returned to our hostel for a good nights sleep. I have a feeling Taman Nagara is going to be an exhausting 3 days, hopefully this time I won’t get heat stroke, or bash my head during any of our treks!!!