Planes, trains, and automobiles part deux

Trip Start May 17, 2006
Trip End Jul 01, 2006

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Taman Negara was sweet! David got here in the afternoon and we took a car to the park from KL airport (350 ringit, quite expensive). The hotel we stayed at was also ridiculous. They let a private company run the accommodation in the park so it is retarded expensive like the places in national parks at home, like 380 ringitt ($100 US) for a night in a maybe $30 room. Weak sauce. That night we saw bearded pigs and a mouse deer (this one was kind of iffy, I am still not 100% sure whether it was a mouse deer or a civet). We walked around with flashlights and looked for other animals, but loud groups of tourists came by and scared everything off.

The next morning we went to the canopy walk, seeing some resort monekys on the way (my new name for asshole macaques that hang around resorts and harass tourists). This canopy walk is the highest one in the world. It was really cool but it was really scary, too. It was about 400 feet off the ground in a lot of places and swayed a lot the whole time. I was kind of afraid to let go of the sides to take photos. We didn't see any new animals there, but we got a really good view of the jungle, which is supposed to be the oldest in the world, having been missed by the ice age and so being about 130 million years old.

After the canopy walk we checked out and rented gear/bought food for the night to stay at the Bumbun Kumbang hide, which is a hut raised to about the third story level with wooden planks for sleeping and a toilet and cold shower. It took a 45-minute boat ride to get there from the headquarters, plus a hike of about an hour. We made it for awhile in flipflops, but it got muddy and David slid on his ass for awhile down the trail, so we decided to put boots on. The walk starts at an abandoned resort that is super fucked up. I guess an elephant came through and tore everything up.

We got to the hide and waited for some animals to show up. We heard some crazy noise like a spaceship landing and then saw two huge hornbills fly over before two Canadian girls and another dude showed up and made a bunch of noise. After they settled down and right before sundown we saw a Malaysian tapir! I was really excited as that was what I really hoped to see when we went to Taman Negara. Plus, the tapir is one of my top three animals (probosicis monkey and capybara being the other two). After that we just listened to the crazy jungle sounds and tried to sleep. We brought sleeping bags, but they were super thin and didn't cushion us from the planks any, plus who the fuck wants to sleep in nylon in the jungle heat and humidity? Then the rats showed up and tried to get into our food, climbed on us, and generally kept us awake all night.

So, we got no sleep, then got up for the hike back, on which I got bitten by several shitty leeches, including one that made my leg bleed all day and made a big black mark on it. We took another boat back to hq (90 ringits each way for the boat) and saw some Orang Asli huts along the way, and one Orang Asli woman and her baby. These are aborigines that live in Malaysia and it seems that they are nomadic by the looks of their dwellings.

When we got back to the park hq, we waited for the boat back to Kuala Tembeling. We saw a wild water buffalo on that boat, plus a monitor lizard before we left. Quite a lot of wildlife for a two-day trip.

The planes, trains, and automobiles part started then. In one 24-hour period, we hiked, took two river boats, a bus, an overnight train, then a taxi, then another boat. We got a room at the Sri Emas Hotel in Jerantut to get ready for the night train. I cut David's hair in the bathroom so now he looks like Tony Danza rather than Luke Skywalker. The guy that works at the hotel is crazy. He is this Indian dude with a greaser hairdo and a Harley moustache, but with the voice of a female hairdresser. It was really funny. I think he liked David. The train was rattly and we got no sleep, but it was worth the trip to get to the sweetest island on earth. See the next entry.
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