Sunday, December 27, 2009

Up-side down

After a morning watching Orangutans in the flesh (and on a decent educational film) and Dad pulling leeches out of his leg, we are now getting prepared to spend a few days in the jungle with some wildlife-spotting river cruises amongst other activities.

Yesterday we went white water rafting and capsized once whilst falling out once. It was fantastic. The 'danger' (not that there really us much, adds a lot to the experience, and the thrill of it! A great day and definitely something i want to do again -although it is hard to find decent white water rafting in Asia it seems. The rafting included trips along an old train line that is the only transport to parts of the river, passing by incredibly remote villages who had built tiny little stations/platforms near the train to get on when it came by. I have no idea where the villagers came from sometimes as from the train we would be lucky to even see 1 house, but they came, and we all crowded onto the very old train as it trundled along, peering out the windows or through the (open) doors along the way.

I imagine the train was built to get access to the forests and cut the trees down -most of the forests in the area did not look more than 50 years old; certainly compared to what we saw today. Malaysia has a bad (though not as bad as Indonesia) problem with deforestation for either timber or for using the land for agriculture, often growing palm trees for their valuable oil. Both being awful for the forests, the former as it is often done illegally and the latter because it destroys biodiversity and affects wildlife.

A passing comment, as we have decided not to climb the mountain here that takes 1-2 days; instead we literally flew (on our way to the jungle) right next to it, at the same altitude (4,000 m) and only a kilometre or so away. A great view/photos of the mountain and the surroundings without the hike -almost making it worth waking up at 5am for the early flight this morning!

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