Going Batty

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unbelievable, this morning required another check out. This time it was from the comfort of the chalet back to the slums of the hostel. Giles went about his morning bathroom routine leaving Charlotte to pack up and get out, what a gent?  Meanwhile, I was running around stuffing our bags in an attempt to leave whilst Polly was working on her evolving prototype 'I can stop world time and create 20 minutes to suit me'.

We settled for breakfast after being told off by the kitchen staff for being late and switched our minds to the adventure ahead.  The warden who would be our guide for the day was most unimpressed by our lack of preparation.  Her name was Serias and like those around her, she did not appreciate my joke of "You cannot be Serious?!" She sent us off to the store to buy torches whilst the amusing German family continued to ask questions about appropriate footwear.

We pushed hard for the cave, concerned by rapidly rising water levels.  It was amazing fun when we got there.  It involved a good deal of climbing and paddling to reach The Garden of Eden.  We passed by Adam and Eves Showers before taking a magical swim in the underground rivers.  The four of us swam along the stream to find ourselves back out in the jungle.  The water was pretty cold having flowed down from Mulu's Summit but there was no sign of snakes or leeches so we splashed around happily.

Back with the group (the Germans were checking that their footwear was appropriate for the next stage) we clambered back along the heart of the cave to pass piles of bat pooh.  Made famous by David Attenborough and the Planet Earth BBC Documentary, the mountains of stinky Bat Pooh gave off an overpowering aroma.  We were covered in the stuff, literally in the S@#T!

Exiting Deer Cave, apparently called Deer Cave because deer used to flock here to lick the salt water from the streams (that is before the guide’s father had been there to shoot them all), we continued to Langs Cave.  After some top questioning by Charlotte (we have discovered that Char is the kid at school who asks questions when everybody else wants to go out to play.  "What is the lifespan of a bat?" she asked, just seconds after the guide had told us that bats live between 20-23 years), we entered the fairy tale surroundings. This was a very different chamber with wonderful rock formations and swiftlet nests filled with tiny babies peeking down at us, lining the ceiling, but still no sign of snakes.  I just want one shot at a snake, I need to confront my fear and look him in the eye, maybe even wrestle him into submission.

It was then to the bat lookout to take our seats for the main event.  The Bat Exodus has been the subject of a David Attenborough classic and we were all very excited about seeing this first hand.  The weather at first did not look good, the cave entrance draped in cloud and the afternoon rain still a threat.  But then the cloud lifted and after an hours wait spent eating crisps and biscuits and watching the Macaque Monkeys play around on the cliff face, we caught our first sighting of the bats.  At first it was a wave of 100s of bats, rising from the dark background of the forested cliffs to emerge in a snake like formation against the clear blue skies.  Impressive enough but then the wow factor multiplied.  Like smoke rising from a fire the bats left the darkness of the cave to fly in their thousands above our heads and off into the jungle for their evening feed, between them ready to consume several tonnes of tasty insects.  We watched in amazement for half an hour as the flying mammals continued to flow out of the underground chamber.

Content with our day’s wildlife fix we reluctantly returned to the dorm to freshen up.  It was then another evening in the park café to play cards and try and order something off the menu which we have not already tried.  The jungle adventure continues tomorrow with a morning stroll across the canopy rope bridge.
Miles Cycled: 0, still messing around underground
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Mum and Dad on

These blogs have been the perfect end to a perfect day!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ernest on

I was so glad to read of your 'panic in the jungle'; makes me feel less of a whimp when I decided, on reading of the 'rhodent sized flying beatle' clawing it's way through your mosquito net, that a visit to the rainforrest for me was highly unlikely! Your adventures since leaving India have been amazing, what a couple. New Zealand will seem quite tame. Your leg muscles must be like sprung steel Polly.
We raced toward Easter at school. St. A's is in fine form: KS1 now has an outdoor classroom on the field and with the guidance of JN a magnificent willow bower has been constructed for the children to sit in. TJ taught Y3 up to Easter (very bossy) when CH left to have her baby; you probably know but it was a girl, Rachel. We all were were delighted and relieved as it was 3 days late. I am pleased for TJ as the temporary teacher for Y3 till the end of Summer Term is of a similar height and it must be lovely not to be looking up all the time.
We have just had Easter half term and consecutive three day weeks, the second when we return on Tuesday. I spent four days on the IOW with C O-J stimulated by Keats visit in April 1817. We both memorised poems to recite at appropriate spots. Somehow I managed the first 27 lines of Endymion.
Of course the wedding of Will and Kate was one of the days off. You have regular access to TV, I wonder if you saw any of it, it was magnificent. We had a Red, White and Blue day on Thursday and a prize was given for the best couple! The AV referendum is another day off on Thursday: the status quo will be retained! (hostage to fortune).
I am looking forward to reading of your further adventures and I hope you will find time on your return to put together an illustrated talk with St.A's high on the list for a visit Polly.
Take great care.

Ernest on

For rhodent read rodent and for beatle read beetle; it is nearly 1 am!

Jonny Goldsmith on

Hi Doodle, Hi Mikey!

I started looking at your blogs since this weekend, I asked Alan how you were getting on and he sent me the link.

It sounds all great fun, at least from the comfort of my armchair. I'm zipping through your entries - much amused!

betty on

Hello. I got behind with your blogs and have spent some time catching up. Your adventures are completely fascinating, not least the last few with Giles and Charlotte. I'm not sure where you are now but will keep reading. Take care and love from Betty PS Some weeks ago now you mentioned tapping into a hard boiled egg to find a hard boiled chick - eggs have never been my favourite food and that particular experience of yours has seriously not helped!

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