Borneo – surviving into the jungle, meeting the long-nosed monkeys and running away from high tides

mujki-dulgonos

Long-nosed monkey

04.04

We have two options: to take the ferry back to Sumatra, Indonesia or to first visit the Malaysian part of Borneo. The things is that there are no ships sailing to Borneo, the yachts going in this direction are just a few, so the only option left is to find a cheap flight. On this journey we travel only by land or on water, but we decide that Borneo is worth it so we will make an exception. In addition the flight with Air Asia costs just 25 Euro per person (luggage and all included). So we will visit the oldest tropical forest in the world, a dream come true for every nature lover and explorer and we will also see the sultan of Brunei :)… or at least the sultanate.

So we buy the tickets and now is time for the flight. This date is emblematic to us. Today (04.04) a year ago we started our journey from our homeland, Bulgaria. After a year on the road we don’t feel tired or over-saturated, on the contrary, we are eager to explore even more new places and to get to know new people, and in addition we are heading even more exotic places. Here you can read our thoughts of what it is to travel this long: A year on the road – some thoughts.

map

Our flight is at 6 p.m. so we head to the airport at 2 p.m. hoping we will have enough time. We know that with the subway it takes half an hour to reach the airport.  With so little sleep and so much talking with different people our minds are somewhat weak and we don’t even bother to ask for details of how to reach the airport.

We arrive at the subway station and there is a surprise for us. It turns out that for the last three stops to the airport one should take some special fast train. The distance is 60 km and the train costs 40 ringgit per person (8 Euro). This is a heavy blow to our budget and we are panicking slightly. We try to find a taxi but the price is the same and they are slower than the train. We have to decide fast because if we don’t catch the next train we will miss our flight.

This month we have more expenses than usual and find it difficult to fit them in our budget of 2.50 Euro per person per day. After this train our diet will be white rice for a long time 🙂 We hope for a miracle 🙂 We arrive on time and in two hours we are in Kuching, Sarawak State, Borneo.

State-Legislative-Assembly

The main administrative building of the Sarawak State in Kuching

Borne is the third largest island in the world and everything here is very endemic. The Malaysian part takes 1/3 of the island, the rest called Kalimantan is Indonesian. The Malaysian part has two states: Sabah and Sarawak. The feeling is that one is on a continent rather than on an island.

It is raining and dark outside. We pitch our tent on a glade next to the airport. Welcome to Borneo! we say to ourselves. If someone had told us 10 years ago that we will be here we would have though this is not very probable. We are overjoyed and we can’t believe it where we are and that we came so far.

05.04

The airport is 10 km away from the city so we hitchhike. We wait just several minutes when a nice Chinese woman takes us. On the road she stops at some dance club for elderly people in order to sell some jewelry there. While she is selling we eat the longan fruits she gave us. After the successful trade the woman leaves us at the center of Kuching. Unexpectedly for us the city is inhabited mainly by Chinese. It is calm and the streets are almost empty. We sit on the coastline street and take some hot water from the shop “7eleven” to prepare instant noodles for breakfast.

Besedka-s-chistachki

Pavilion at the coastline street in Kuching

After breakfast we start searching for an Internet cafe. We walk with our rucksacks under the hot sun but we don’t find what we are looking for. The people who we ask point us always to some place where we don’t find anything Finally we find an Internet cafe in the outskirts, hidden on the third floor of a building. The computers are very old and slow and we don’t manage to do anything.

These are the problems the old-school traveler, who travels with no electronic equipment, faces. Especially when one has a blog to maintain and has 100 other projects in mind 🙂 The only thing that made our visit to the cafe worth it was the meeting with the cafe’s owner: a nice guy from Bosnia who left his country during the war. Obviously the Muslim people from Bosnia love Malaysia.

Four hours later we go back to the center. We see a park with an artificial lake surrounded by trees and find a hidden place for the tent on a small hill.

Bivak-v-parka

Hidden in plain sight at the central park of Kuching

06.04

We want to be free from our Internet obligations for the next month so we have to sacrifice one whole day at an Internet cafe. Luckily the people from a hotel are OK to leave our rucksacks there and the owner of a shop lets us see on his laptop where the closest Internet cafe is.

Chinese-temple

Chinese temple

We spend the next 5 hours working and luckily the Internet speed is high and we manage to send and do what we planned. We will not use a computer for the next month and that is a relief. In the afternoon we walk around and visit some old Chinese temples and the State’s mosque. Kuching is not so interesting and besides the Chinese temples and the several colonial building left form the time of the “White Rajas”, as they call the British colonizers here, there is not much to see.

Kitaiski-hram

Chinese temple

This is a small town, all is calm and everyone smiles and greets you. To our dismay we don’t find a cheap Indian restaurant so we have to eat instant noodles again. In the evening we go back to the park. Since we are in Kuching everyone warns us to be careful because someone may rob us. But the town looks safe and calm and we see quite a few policemen. Maybe this is the typical Chinese paranoia of “how dangerous the world is”.

State-mosque

The State’s Mosque

07.04

Lately we stay so much time in different cities but hopefully Kuching will be the last one this month. It is time for new adventures and some nature. Today we plan to visit Bako National Park. Before this we have several “very simple” tasks to do…

A not so easy day that ends up at the graveyard

First task: breakfast. In order to prepare tea Mr. Shushtari goes to the close-by 7eleven and fills a cup with hot water from the coffee-machine. We prepare some sandwiches with the special soft Asian bread that is slightly sweet and never spoils under any circumstances. When the portable stove is broken life is hard. We take a shower in the park’s bathrooms and is time for task number two: repair the above mentioned portable stove.

If you are in equatorial rain forest the simple task of setting a fire is as hard as cleaning the Augean stables. Without a stove we are doomed to eating chemical bread. Mr. Shushtari is a high level expert now of kerosene stoves. This is due to the many months of experience he has with assembling and disassembling it, pumping and greasing it with diesel fuel and many other activities that one has to engage with when one is operating such kind of devices.

The story of our friend the portable kerosene stove, or Dieselito as we call it, is a long one. Originally it had a heavy metal construction that provided support for the utensils you put on it. We decided to make it lighter and asked some people when we were at the Himalayas to cut it. But after this intervention another problem popped up. The bottle had to be connected to the burning mechanism.

So it took Mr. Shushtari some long working hours in various repair shops until he managed to finish the first version of the stove. We were still in the Himalays back then and when he did his repairs we headed on a 48-hour long walk on the highest route on Earth with no trees around , calm that we are prepared. After a long day of walking without eating anything we arrive at the high mountain camp site Pang (4800 m above sea level, 15 500 feet). We felt the high altitude sickness symptoms strongly and we were dizzy, exhausted and starving.

So we light up Dieselito and put the only pack of spaghetti on the fire. The meal was almost ready and just a minute before we take it off the fire the rubber hose bringing fuel to the burning mechanism caught fire and Dieselito exploded together with the spaghetti.

This incident made us very sad. We bought a portion of fried rice from the mobile restaurant at triple the price and went to bed half-hungry. So later on Mr. Shushtari decided that the rubber hose is not a good decision and after some more hours spent in other work shops he managed to attach a metal pipe. From this moment on Dieselito is our trustworthy partner and it brings admiration or maybe  bewilderment in everyone who sees his unusual looks.

In addition we cook whole week with a liter of kerosene or diesel and we don’t have to look for and buy expensive gas bottles. In India (Dieselito’s mother land) we could find the right parts in every workshop. But after we arrived in South-East Asia things changed. The burning mechanism clogged and the specific ultra thin needles we used to fix it with couldn’t be found anywhere.

No other needle served the purpose and cooking became difficult endeavor. Dieselito started puffing out black clouds, Mr. Shushtari was pumping it at the same time, but the fire was very weak. One day, while we were at the jungle, we found a tropical bush with some very fine thorns and we unclogged it. But then… another thing broke. To summarize: every time when we were starving or we planned to use the stove there was a long procedure of putting all the parts together, filling it with diesel fuel, pumping and… at the end facing the bitter truth – today we will probably not eat… again.

Naftechko-Ps Dieselito

So let’s go back to Borneo, Kuching. The fate itself made Mr. Shushtari enter a small workshop and… a miracle happened! Here they were selling everything: needles, burning mechanisms, sealings, wrenches and everything we needed. The reason? It turns out Chinese people use similar stoves here to singe pigs. Dieselito’s light was going to shine once again after almost four months of it being unusable. We fixed it and started with different tasks. We had to buy food for the national park, buy additional battery for the camera, withdraw money from the ATM, look for a gas station to buy diesel fuel… I wait with the luggage and Mr. Shushtari is running around doing things.

The bus to Bako Village costs 3.50 ringgit (around 0.70 Euro cents) In order to go out of Kuching we will have to walk at least 3 hours under the hot sun, so we better us a bus. Mr. Shushtari went to look for a gas station and in the mean time the bus arrives and the driver joyfulyl tells me this is the last bus to Bako for today. It is 4:30 p.m.

I am bored with waiting and exhausted from the hot weather. I get very nervous and anxious and when there are just 20 seconds left and the bus is ready to take off I tell myself: “well it doesn’t actually matter” and I feel very relieved. The driver starts the engine and at this moment I see Mr. Shushtari’s hat in the distance 🙂 We hop on the bus and we forget a bag of eggs in the hurry. Well before this I dropped them anyway.

Dylgi-banani

Exotic kind of bananas

In an hour we reach the village (the distance is 35 km) and energetically head to the forest. All national parks in Borneo have entrance fee of 20 ringgit (around 4 Euro), so we will try to sneak in if there is any pathway going inside.

We walk on a dirt road next to the river in order to reach the entrance but suddenly it ends in a Chinese graveyard. It starts getting dark and we are starving. Obviously we will sleep next to the graves. The bivouac is set and quivering we put Dieselito together. Mr. Shushtari starts pumping. Everything gets covered in diesel showing us something is not right. After an hour we come to the conclusion that it won’t work. Even though it happens again it is a big surprise to us. We think that this time we lost the rubber sealing of the burning mechanism and there is not enough pressure.

Besides the fact the Dieselito has disappointed us many time we still feel connected to it and don’t want to leave it. Neither the nights spent in hunger, nor the fact that it spilled out diesel in our rucksacks several time will cloud our relationship 🙂

Luckily this night we find dry wood. We wash away our hands from the oily diesel fuel and start setting a fire. Our spirit rises when we see the eggs cooking. We put the pan on the fire and rapidly pour cooking oil inside it. In two seconds everything is on fire! We look at the cooking oil bottle and we see in horror that we have poured diesel inside the pan… We start washing, rubbing and cursing… But at the end the evening goes well – we eat a delicious dinner surrounded by cluster of mosquitoes and the silence of the graveyard 🙂

grobishteto

 

At the graveyard

08.04

When we wake up the weather is cloudy – the best weather to travel when you are at the Tropics. We take a shower with the water of some small reservoir next to the ceremony altar and start preparing our morning coffee. Then two tourists show up and look shocked – they see strange guys with ruffled hair cooking on fire at the graveyard. Then we start talking to them and they see we are not so crazy as we seem. The man is an old French guy, geologist, who works for an oil company. He is accompanied by a young Indonesian woman. We shock them again when we tell them we plan to enter the park secretly.

I don’t know why we never manage to leave yearly in the morning and we always take off at midday when the weather is the hottest. Maybe it is some kind of unconscious masochism. We start at 12 p.m. We don’t see any paths around the graveyard that enter the park, so we go back and start walking on the asphalt road that passes on the south border of the park. We see some houses and people there tell us that after 2-3 km we will see a pathway.

Two hours later, after we have walked along the whole border, we still haven’t found a way to enter. Suddenly two women show up with a car and propose to drive us. They leave us in a small village – our last chance. Luckily we meet a boy who knows a pathway that enters inside the park and shows it to us.

The path is narrow and we don’t know where it leads. We put on our rubber boots and clothes for the forest and enter the thick jungle. Soon we loose sight of the path but here we can walk without one. Usually we wouldn’t take such a risk at an equatorial jungle – think of Borneo as the Malaysian Amazon forest. Anyway the topography of the park allows us to take the risk. It is surrounded by sea on its three side as it is a kind of small peninsula and on the fourth is the asphalt road that connects the villages. The area of the park is small enough to reach the marked path in several hours.

bez-puteka

In the beginning all goes well. We occasionally  wipe out some spider’s net off of our rucksack, though one time it was 5 cm tarantula. With it we find a micro scorpion too. We maintain nice walking speed and in an hour or so we come across some vertical high cliffs that are on our way to where we think the official path is. First several meters going up are easy, especially after our 8-day training at Taman Negara National Park.  The final part of the climbing turns out to be quite extreme. The rock above us is 2.5 meters high but is very steep, almost vertical, eroded and wet. There are no places to catch hold and the rock is crumbling. The situation below is is similar.

First Mr. Shushtari manages to climb up in some mysterious to me way and then pulls me up. The next big challenge is his rucksack that weighs 30 kilos. It is impossible to climb with it and when we try to pull it up with a rope it snaps. Finally Mr. Shushtari goes back down, besides the fact every climbing up and down is very dangerous, puts the rucksack on his head and brings it up to me, another impossible thing.

I am on the edge of the cliff standing on two holes we dug up with our machete and somehow manage to get hold of the rucksack. I cannot pull the 30 kg thing and stand in a semi-acrobatic posture waiting for Mr. Shushtari to come. He climbs a root, almost tearing the muscle filaments of his arm and comes next to me. Then we manage to pull up the rucksack. This operation continues for an hour and the last half an hour was done in the dusk with only one head-lantern. We crawl on the ridge and with a sigh of relief crash at the first flat space we find.

09.04

We wake up replenished. Eat fast and head to the path thinking that the worst is behind us and that we are inside the park. Soon we are disillusioned. After walking over some fallen trees, thorny grass fields and lianas the path disappears and we start walking through the jungle relying only on our compass for orientation.

The thick vegetation makes walking extremely difficult, every step is so hard. Every now and then a spiky branch catches your rucksack, sleeve or hair. Lianas and crawling plants try to stumble you. One thorny plant stretched its tentacles a catches Mr. Shushtari’s eye-lid. He sways left and right with the heavy rucksack but  can’t move forward as the plants holds him by the eye-lid. 🙂

cherveni-dyrveta

Red trees

We use the machete a lot and I don’t even know how we would have managed without it. I can’t explain our joy when we suddenly come across a wide path. We are saved. Finally we find one of the tourist path that crosses the whole park.

The path seems like a highway to us. We walk very fast. Then little by little we start seeing some unusual views. It turns out that this is a road for the illegal wood-cutting area and there is something like a field saw-mill. It looks horrible. The thickest threes are cut out – healthy old trees cut in logs, ready to be taken.

Everywhere there are wood rods and giant trunks. We can’t believe this is happening inside a national park. And the other sad thing is that the path stops here. We have a decision to make: to give up and go back the village or continue inside the jungle with no path. Of course we choose the second option but we soon become to regret it. Here the vegetation is so thick we can’t walk. Our clothes are torn to pieces and we feel like we are gonna cry. After going on a short scouting trip without the rucksack Mr. Shushtari finds a small crook and we start walking along it. Like this we move much more faster.

pulnene-na-voda

Collecting water

Then an hour or two of painful climbing follow. To bright our spirit rain starts falling and wind blowing. We walk in silence following the north of the compass without a clue where we are. We saw a sign saying “National Park” and we are hopeful again. This time the path won’t disappear though we are slightly worried that this is maybe the border of the park. Walking is easy-peasy now so we step firmly happy that we can finally enjoy the beautiful view and the red trees surrounding us. But the adventure is not over yet. Good that we at least stop and entered one of the natural pools we find on our way.

razhlada-vuv-virche

Bathing in the black pools

Walking seems endless and the rain turns into flood rain. We are very tired now. We reach some electric rods and a cable and water pipe passing under the ground. This is a sign that maybe the civilized part of the park is somewhere near.

In the late afternoon we discover some signs and marks pointing at one of the routes. At night we finally reach a beach with a mangrove forest and a pavilion. Exhausted and soaked we pitch our tent inside the pavilion. We eat wondering whether the strange noises we hear are coming from the long-nosed monkeys. We passed through all the hardships namely to see them. Then we go to bed.

jenski-dulgonosi

Long-nosed females

10.04

The long-nosed monkey (Proboscis monkey) is endemic to Borneo, meaning here is the only place one could see this strange looking animal only here. The area of the Bako National Park is small enough, which means we will most likely see the animals for whom we did this extreme journey these past two days.

The long-nosed monkey is quite big, males have huge noses and ridiculous faces as well as round protruding bellies. They inhabit mostly coastal and mangrove forests and eat mainly leaves. The unknown noises we heard yesterday make us think we are on their territory.

The moment the sun comes up we rush to search for them and… Oh, what a joy! The forest is teeming with them. We see strange, human-like face peeking behind the leaves of the trees. We have the opportunity to watch them till they sense our presence, make some warning snort-like sounds and run away. They are easy to scare and non-aggressive. We are in exaltation all the morning. All our efforts are now worth it. We saw the monkeys in their natural habitat.

dulgonosko

Male long-nosed monkey

We gather our stuff rapidly before the crowds of tourists start coming and head to a beach that is an hour of walking away. We want to rest and dry out our soaked rucksacks and clothes. All paths have wooden boardwalks, stairs, signs and maps. At around 10 a.m. the tourists arrive by boats and start flooding the place. The boat comes only during high tide and stays 3-4 hours so people don’t have enough time to enjoy the jungle. This in addition costs 40 ringgit (around 8 Euro).

Nepenthes

Insect eating plant, genus Nepenthes 

On the pathway we see quaint plants, giant trees, phosphorescent mushrooms, insect eating plants and dark red crooks. The jungle is so beautiful and interesting, that despite the so many days we have spent in different jungles, we are still flabbergasted. We never get bored, on the contrary, we feel like home. Soon we near the beach and it turns out this is the most crowded pathway in the park.  Luckily it is late afternoon and everyone prepare to leave.

Gone with the high tide

The view from the top of the cliff towards the beach and the sea is incredible. This is what one expects imagining what Borneo will be like. Rock with exotic plants on them, dark yellow sands, red river flowing through the jungle and endless sea.

zaliv-1-otliv

The amazing beach during low tide

We descend the wooden staircase leading to the beach and start searching for a place to pitch the tent. The last tourists leave. We see some quaint rock formations that make something like a shelter close to the river and relatively far from the sea.

We pitch our tent on the golden beach and start cooking, exhausted from the heat and starving. The pot with Indonesian coffee cooking on the fire smells sweet. Then we notice something worrying. The river starts flowing backwards and small sea waves come closer and closer.

maika-makak

Female macaque, you little thief 🙂

It is obviously high tide and the sea comes closer and closer. We have some experience with tides and we expect it to be 1,20-1,80 meters high, so it shouldn’t come to us and flood us. But later things start changing. Just in case we move all of our stuff on the other side of the river, which is now waist deep.

In the mean time our old friends the long-tailed macaques come. They have sent spies to rob what they can if we are inattentive. We don’t know what to watch – the macaques or the incoming water or the spaghetti on the fire. Soon we have to move the tent and the rucksacks again because of the approaching sea. One female monkey with her child on her belly is going behind us as we run with the pot and the last things towards the shore. The last wave floods the fire and extinguishes it with a hiss.

 iznasqme-se-ot-purviq-bivak

Moving the pot to safety

We move on the other side of the beach at the highest and most far from the sea part. We start setting the fire again. We just finish eating when the sea “attacks” us again and we have to move away quickly. Now the sea is waist deep, we climb the wooden stairs and move at the pavilion which turns to be the only flat place. We are now 30 meters above the sea and hope that the tide won’t come to us. 🙂

 evakuaciq

Rescue operation – moving the tent to the pavilion

We manage to move everything, including the pot and some live coals with which to set the fire, for the third time. This was supposed to be a day for resting, but only now we sit to enjoy the beautiful sun-set and the already flooded exotic beach. We make a dough, bake some flat bread for tomorrow and go to back happy that we are in a pavilion, far from high tides, low tides and monkeys. 🙂

 

Before and…

after the tide

11.04

While we have a breakfast the long-nosed monkeys show up again. We see their giant noses behind the leaves of the trees. Soon the first visitor shows up – an eccentric Canadian who spends his vacation inside the park. He told us he heard some rumors about two adventurers trying to sneak in the park and somewhat came to the conclusion that’s us. The French guy who we met at the Chinese cemetery turned out to be so impressed by us, that he told the Canadian guy. He said he is amazed and he expected us to be eaten by a crocodile.

bradato-prase

Endemic bearded boar

We pack our bags and head to a neighboring beach before the tourists come. The trek to Teluk Tajor Bay takes about an hour and a half. The pathway leading to it has many insect eating plants on both sides. At the final part there is a waterfall with red waters, perfect for bathing. While we swim the pool two Dutch women and several Englishmen come. They warn us to not enter the sea as someone has spotted a salt water crocodile.

 

Biological note: The salt water crocodile is the biggest reptile in the world reaching 6 meters and a weight of 1000 kg. It lives in mangrove forests and estuaries and deltas  of river. It can also enter sea waters. It inhabits the lands in South-East Asia, mainly Borneo, Indonesia and North Australia.

DSCN2322

Salt water crocodile

Before the Canadian leaves he fills his bottle with water from the pool where we swim. The water has many particles in it and even some strange foam. The guy declared that he drinks this water every day and hasn’t had any problems up to now. So… there are people that are more extreme than us. :

We reach the beach in the afternoon. It is awesome and there is no one here. We pitch the tent high in the forest, though now the sea is more than 500 m. away. Water drops from the thick vegetation above the rocks and gathers in small holes in the stones, so we have water. In several hours the high tide comes. This is the biggest we have seen. Soon the whole bay is underwater. While we wash our clothes in the see we are vigilant about the crocodile, as we are just a meter away from the sea. Borneo is intense! 🙂

zaliv-2-otlivzaliv-2-priliv

Before and after the tide

12.04

We decide to stay one more day at this heavenly place, but can’t just lay on the beach all day so we decide to walk on the beach. During low tide one can reach the furthest cape of the park, which is 10 km. away. The beach is 500-600 meters wide. We reach the last rocks and worried see that the high tide starts.

The water enters inside very fast – half a meter for just 5 minutes. We start running back hoping we will reach our bivouac in two hours, otherwise we will be stuck inside the thick jungle, somewhere on the slopes for the next 6-7 hours, till the low tide starts. Luckily we made it. We don’t see a single person for the whole day so we rest well, which is a rare luxury in the 24/7 “working schedule” of the traveler 🙂

panorama

The secluded bay

13.04

We eat our last food supplies at breakfast and start a long journey with an unknown end. We start the epic going out of the jungle. This time though we have a plan. On the marked path we will reach the cable and the pipes we saw earlier. We know they pass along the park’s border and then we will follow the path that follows the high-voltage pylons and probably reaches some village. There will be at least signs of the path which is thousand times better than walking through the super-thick vegetation.

gigantska-meduza

Giant jelly-fish

It is amazing the resources these people wasted to bring water for the park’s offices from the village, since there are tens of crooks inside the park. The path is easy to follow and besides the hot weather and the mud walking is not difficult. In two-three hours the pylons lead us to the asphalt road at the same place we had asked the locals if there is a way in the park and they told us it is 2-3 km further, which costed us 16 hours of raoming in the jungle…

Изумително е какви ресурси са изхабили, за да се прекара за офисите водата чак от селото, при наличието на десетки потоци из парка. Пътеката е доста отчетлива, въпреки калта и жегата вървенето не е трудно. След още два-три часа стълбовете ни отвеждат до асфалтовия път и то точно на мястото, където на идване бяхме питали дали няма подстъп към парка, но местните най-безцеремонно ни метнаха, че пътеката е 2-3 км по-напред, което ни коства 16 часа лутане из джунглата…

If someone wants to enter Bako National Park without paying the entrance fee (2 hours walking), please write us to give you exact instructions and a map of the park

From Bako we hitchhike back to Kuching. We wait for the heavy tropic rain to stop at an Internet cafe and at 12 a.m. we head to the park we were before.

14.04

We have to stay one more day in Kuching in order to buy provisions and fix for thousandth time our kerosene stove Dieselito. This time we made it, well not perfectly, but now we can cook in cities in the rain.

After the four days we spent in the jungle our clothes look terribly, I would say unusable. I have two thin pants, four t-shirts (two of them with holes) and two skirts (the second one I bought at a second-hand shop in Thailand and use only for special occasions) 🙂 I also have a vest and a pair of short pants which I use for sleeping. At this time Mr. Shushtari has a pair of short pants and three t-shirts (one is with many holes on it).

I also have a swet-shirt, a summer jacket and a shawl for the mountains – all of them are 99% of the time used as pillows. Regarding the shoes – we both have sneakers we bought in China that are now 2 years old and both are worn out and needed repairing many times on this journey. For the jungle we have each a pair of rubber boots.

This is all the clothes we had and after the jungle we parted with Mr. Shushtari’s short pants. I now have an old Indian pants, that I bough 5 years ago in Sri Lanka and Mr. Shushtari is now walking on the streets with his boxer underwear. 🙂 When we got out of the jungle he couldn’t be dressed like this so he put on my pants that have flowers on them and I put on a skirt (usually I never put on a skirt when hithchiking). We looked startling to put it mildly.

Our rucksacks are covered in mud, torn from the thorns. The covers of our sleeping mats are hanging like rags and Mr. Shushtari is dreesed in woman clothes on top of all this. We need tobuy stuff ASAP. The rest of our equipment is also in very bad shape – our sleeping mats are very thin and have many holes on them; our rucksacks are not looking good; our only head lantern was flooded and discharges the batteries very fast, in two-three days; one of our sleeping bags is unusable as it has its filling gathered on one of the sides. Even my hairpins are covered in rust!

Enthropy and destruction possess us. One of the reasons for this situation is that with a budget of 2.50 Euro per person per day even the cheapest t-shirt that costs 1-2 Euro has to be bought on the expense of our food for the day so we have always chosen food before comfort. The other reason is that one travels so long one stops paying attention at jis looks as you don’t have social interaction with anyone you know and you don’t care who thinks what. In addition Asian people never neglect anyone because of their looks. We don’t lament here as big dream sometimes require sacrifices. This kind of epic journeys are not the same as sitting on a couch watching TV.

Cvetin-vozi-orangutani

Mr. Shushtari dressed in woman pants, ready to search for Borneo’s ornagutans

We rush towards the shops and markets of Kuching searching for the cheapest, but also the most comfortable, pants and for food. In order to feel financially better and limitless we buy 100 grams of the most expensive Indonesian coffee (White Coffee), it costs us 0.60 Euro cents.

The day we find the pirate treasure chest we will buy new rucksacks, new sleeping mats, sandals… well everything we own will be new 🙂 I will also share with you another dream of ours – we will drink milk and eat cheese every single day, instead of once a month (cheese actually is now once every six months). We will eat three instead of two times a day. But till then we go on without caring much. Who gives a damn about some patches on the clothes and milk when you see the most exotic islands on Earth and million secrets and wonders unravel before you eyes.

We buy a pair of long and a pair of short pants for Mr. Shustari, as well as one for me and we even buy a rain coat which is very needed for the lands close to the equator. Last night at the park and we are ready for more expeditions.

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4 thoughts on “Borneo – surviving into the jungle, meeting the long-nosed monkeys and running away from high tides

  1. To summarize: every time when we were starving or we planned to use the stove there was a long procedure of putting all the parts together, filling it with diesel fuel, pumping and… at the end facing the bitter truth – today we will probably not eat… again. I really feel pity for you guys, but I will say you guys have the best adventure life in this planet earth. Cheers and keep moving ..

    Liked by 1 person

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