Jungle Fever...Part Two: Attack of the bat!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Sumbiling Eco Village

Flag of Brunei  ,
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We woke early in the morning to find our breakfast sitting on the table for an hour already. Even though we were told breakfast was at 8am, they decided to cook it at 7am instead...but didn't inform us. Most of our meals were served cold...or not made when agreed upon. There seems to be a lack of communication between the villagers (workers) and the guide (Rudi). We headed out to Temburong National Park....access only by boat! It was a beautiful day and a spectacular boat ride through the jungle to the park (about 40 minutes). Once we arrived, we hiked up to the tree canopy...quite a hike, straight up! It is so humid in the jungle, that you sweat just by standing still! haha. The tree canopy is about 50 meters high, consists of about 6 towers, and is built just like aluminum scaffolding. Wow...the view is awesome! So gorgeous, so lush green, and so thick! There are trees for miles and miles! We're assuming it's a bird, but we are not sure...it makes a sound exactly like that of a skill saw!! We thought there was construction around...haha...but it was just a bird! The jungle is actually quite loud. On the way back, I got brave and decided to play with the Jumbo ants...even though I now have a severe fear of ants (from the fire ant attack)...lol. These ants are over an inch long, and are thick with a bright red butt! They are harmless though. Apparently they are only found on Borneo Island. So...here I am...brave. Right. As soon as he dropped it into my hand, it started running up my arm, I screamed...and shook the poor ant off! Jay managed to get a picture in between though...lol.

We continued on our hike to the safest suspension bridge in the world! You actually need to wear a life jacket to cross it....even though they have a guy who stays out there all day and checks each bolt for wear and tear...daily! And people say Canada has a lot of rules...haha. Just outside of the National Park is an amazing waterfall! We walked for a couple minutes through a shallow creek and came to this magnificent waterfall. After swimming for a bit, we tried out the "free" and natural fish spa. The fish were bigger than you usually see in the fish spas...and startled you when they latched on! It's a weird sensation. Rudi showed us a certain type of rock that used to be used for the cave paintings, etc. I tried it out as war paint...it worked pretty well!

That evening, we were relaxing....listening to the jungle sounds, reading our books....oh wait...that's what we would've liked to be doing!!...I mean, we were listening to "Big Bang Theory" playing in the middle of the jungle...I was reading my book...and WHAM!! What the heck?? A gross, disgusting, disease infested, bat flew right into the side of my head! He hit dead on...and really hard! How does a bat crash into someone who isn't even moving?? So much for bat sonar! Jay was laughing hysterically, while I tried to figure out what had just happened, when the little buggar came flying back for more! I swear, he was trying to attack me! Not knowing what to do...since the bat kept swooping at me, Jay told me to go further into the shelter...where the bat "can't" get me....while he armed himself....with a....yup...an umbrella in one hand and a towel in the other! As soon as I went further into the shelter...where the bat "can't" get me...the crazy disease infested creature took a turn...INTO the shelter!! He was swooping into the building and swooping at me!! So here's the picture: I'm screaming and ducking under picnic tables inside a huge shelter...with ceiling fans on...while Jay is standing at the opening of the shelter, umbrella in one hand and towel in the other...ducking and swinging for the killer bat. HAHAHA...it was so funny! Rudi came out from the kitchen, about 10 minutes into the attack, eating an egg sandwich and confused as to what was happening. Finally, after jay's macho beating, the bat left....and we went to bed!...contemplating on leaving a day early...lol.

The next morning was another jungle trek. We went across the river to the villager's trap line. They still use it, so it was interesting to see how the traps actually work....strings and sticks...that's it. Soloman, one of the villagers, is an excellent guide and definitely knows his stuff! He showed us some edible fruits, plants...banana shoots, bamboo for cooking, leaves that taste like garlic, lemongrass, etc. He also showed us a tree that is used for handrails or bridges...but is still growing and living. They just re-plant it the way they want it to grow, and it will grow sideways, across rivers, etc. Truly amazing! We went to cross one river...which was probably deeper and stronger than safe....and as Jay went to step in, his foot got caught between a log (the water wasn't clear, so we couldn't see through) and the river bank. He fell backwards into the river. I was behind him and quickly caught the camera and his back. He managed to balance himself...but anyone who knows Jay, knows that he has zero flexibility...so when his ankle is twisted and at his chest level...there's issues! I thought his foot was going to be broken. The water was about chest level on me...so pretty deep. We finally got his foot free, and he was still able to walk...although it was sore for awhile after. It could have been so much worse.

Rudi needed to go into Limbang, Malaysia to renew his driver's license, so we went with him...since we needed a post office, and wanted to have some well deserved beer! In between the Brunei border and the Malaysian border, there is a river crossing...with a ferry. You could throw a rock across the river! It was such a small crossing...but since the border is in dispute, no one will take the lead to build a bridge. Instead, they use a ferry...literally a ten second ride across, 3 car lengths long. It was crazy! We went to the post office, then for beers...or we thought we were! Rudi says...I'll drop you guys off at the mall and then we'll meet up again in about an hour. Really??!! A mall??!! Jay just twisted his ankle in the river today, and we're going to walk around a mall? I don't know where he went, but we just hung out at a restaurant and waited. Then we went for dinner and back to the Eco Village...only one beer...sigh. We made arrangements for the morning, to be sure we would make the 1pm bus to Miri, Malaysia...then went to bed.

9:30am...we are suppose to be leaving...but where is Rudi?...where is our ride? Rudi showed up about an hour late...which left us late. We missed the ferry and had to wait until 11am for the next one...which is when we had planned to be in the city. After another amazingly, beautiful, National Geographic type boat ride through the mangrove river, we arrived, just in time to catch a 1pm bus to Miri...no help to Sumbiling Eco Village.

All in all, Brunei is one of the most beautiful, stunningly spectacular places we have been!...Sumbiling Eco Village...I have a lot to say about them...but let's just keep it short...I wouldn't recommend staying there. The day trips (which are actually really short half day trips) would be good to go on...but not the overnight.

After our adventurous week in the jungle, we decided to leave Brunei and head to Miri, Malaysia...for a couple nights....ahhh...the comforts of a city....
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