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Sarawak and Jungles

Right, This is my attempt to stay in touch with you all during the next year - most of you know (but some don't) that Mike and I have skived off for a year, planning to do some travelling.

Right now we're in SE Asia (Malaysia)

We've just returned from four days staying in the jungle (a national park called Bako near to Kuching in Sarawak). It was bloody brilliant!

To get there we had a great speedboat journey up the river from a dirty little town near Kuching. Every now and again, the boatman slowed right down - at one point he said "ver shallow" - and then we heard the bottom scrap on the bottom of the boat... So WHY did they make us wear life jackets then ? (I reckon the locals enjoy watching fat westerners struggling to get into the mini malaysian sized life jackets)

When we reached the park, the tide was out, so the landing stage had no water around it - bracing myself for the cold (my only other beach experience being Bournemouth out of season...) I gingerly stepped out of the boat into... boiling water!

As we walked up the beach we nearly fell over a Mangrove snake ("ver poisonous" - sorry dad!) and saw wild pigs snorting around the canteen.

Our cabin was virtually on the beach, and there were signs all over it, saying to watch out for the macaque monkeys who will steal anything not bolted down. (They were everywhere).

There were also monster ants (Some of you will know that I have only one fear - Ants. As our next door neighbour at the camp asked - "why did you come to the jungle then?" dunno.)

There were all sorts of marked tracks through the jungle - in the early evening and inhumanly early mornings we saw proboscis monkeys (very rare) falling ungracefully through the trees. (They appear to be clumsier than me - which is truely saying something). The males of these monkeys have the most enormous noses (hence the name), and pop bellies - a bit like little old men in the trees! The babies apparently have bright blue faces - presumeably to prepare them for life as an object of ridicule - but we didn't get close enough to see.

We also saw eagles high above the cliffs and a flying squirrel (David Bellamy eat your heart out... actually, Mikes Beard has grown so much, maybe he thinks he is David Bellamy!)

The other thing we saw was rain (I understand the term rain forest now...) one evening we got caught, and it was as though we'd jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed.

The nearest town to the park, Kuching, has become like home from home - although we're leaving tonight.

It's a nice town with a relaxed feel about it. We've particularly enjoyed the food (lots of seafood, including bamboo clams - like a worm in a piece of bamboo) and the fruit juices, although beer's not that cheap (d'oh!)

We've spent quite a few days just wandering around eating - I'm supposed to lose weight!

The highlight of Kuching was visiting a local Orang utan rehabilitation centre - and seeing the most immense beast I've ever seen. We got there (like the other hords of tourists) for feeding time. After ten minutes of nothing happening, fatty threw himself through the jungle and sat and ate the feeding rations for all twenty orang utans at the centre! have you ever seen anyone eat a banana in one - from the centre!

That's it really - I could probably bang on all day, but as Neal so sweetly observed a while back, I am now sitting in a sweaty internet cafe, where they have a particular fascination with that song "then I got high..." and are playing it incessently at top volume - once more and I may commit homicide!

I'll write again when I've got something interesting to say.