30.01.2012 - 31.01.2012 28 °C
Tama Negara Malaysia – Commando in the Jungle
I have four pairs of shorts with me, of those three I had originally bought only one pair, these were my trusted Merrell cycling shorts that could double as swim wear. I bought one other pair in China when I first saw and felt the sun, I added to the collection with another two pairs which I bought on Khao San Road in Bangkok. I don’t need four pairs as I constantly wear the original pair that I bought with me however on the rare occasions I wash my clothes one of those pairs comes out from the bottom of the bag to make a guest appearance.
As well as being good for swimming, they also fit pretty well around my muffin top and do not sag below the waist, half way down my ass, which is pretty much what the other cheap crap did. Having good fitting shorts in this Malaysian humidity means that I can go au natural, and nobody will get a peek at my butt crack. So to say that I was getting the wear out of these shorts would be an understatement. I had limited clothing and most of them were of the utility type, you can get away with them in most conditions. However this was one time when I should have thought a little bit more about what I was or rather what I should have been wearing and that was when I was in Taman Negara.
Taman Negara National Park is the oldest rainforest in the world, and in the jungle there are still a huge ecosystem at work and the wild animals that still roam here include Tigers, Elephants, Panthers, Wild Boar and all the damn insects you couldn’t imagine possible (ever heard an insect that’s half spider and half scorpion? Well hello crazy insect species number 1).
I had signed up to be dropped off Bear Grylls style, about 6 hours upstream of a river that runs through the national park. From that point as a group, with a guide a may add, we had to weave our way through the jungle to get back home for supper. The trek was for two days and involved sleeping in a cave for one of those nights. You know what, when sleeping in a cave in the middle of the Jungle, it wasn’t the thought of the tigers or any of the wild animals that may come in and make a meal out of my tasteless mass, it was the fear of the smaller things, those that might crawl into my ear…. Those that could have one small chunk of my flesh and leaving me dying of some Ebola type disease. But most of all, the one thing that I was most fearful of was those damn leeches, those blood sucking carnivorous disgusting looking worms that clamp their teeth into you and suck blood out of you.
It was impossible how these leeches could sniff us out just as we were walking past them, they could smell us a mile off, and they knew which direction we were advancing from, that was the frightening thing. Before you knew it, your foot was covered in the bastards, dripping with blood, and you were hopping around the jungle tearing your socks off, salting those slimy bastards to death, again.
So it was these little bastards that I was really worried about, these were the immediate threat. General protection against these pests was merely a pair of socks, not rubber, not plastic just your average pair of C&A cotton socks, well good luck with that. I can tell you this, C & A socks were about as useful as Anne Franks drum kit. Those blood sucking mutants bury their little heads through those socks and disappear underneath. Its not until you take off your sock that you realise you have a family of 5 feasting on your foot blood. The only constructive thing your pair of white socks has been able to do was to shield them from view and to turn red when they started nibbling.
Of course, being one not to complain I put up with that, I did scream like an absolute pansy when I got first attacked, but it was not so much my feet I was worried about.
Have you seen the scene in ‘Stand by Me’? It’s the scene where the kids are trekking waist deep through the swamp. They are all covered in huge leeches when they get out, but one guy has it bad, he finds a leech in his pants…
This is the scene that is playing over and over in my head when I'm walking through this jungle, but this damn jungle the leeches live on the land, so there is little to do to avoid them. I didn’t even know that dry land leeches existed, a leech that doesn’t live in the water? Leeches that live on the land? In every square meter of track you could find those blood thirsty worms.
It was when I found a leech on the inside of my thigh that I froze. I looked at the little bastard crawling up on the inside of my leg, working his way to where the blood runs thinnest on my body. It was a part of my anatomy that I hadn’t had to worry about in the jungle, or at least hadn’t needed to up until now. It was about this time when I started to feel the fear. Of course I had my Merrel shorts on, my trusted utility shorts, and what better way to see the jungle is to do it commando style. Only it was around this point that I realised that this little fella could have had a little feast up there and I am not so sure I would have known anything about it. I picked the leech off and pulled my shorts down, I needed to inspect here. I was relieved to find only my own little maggot recoiling at the thought of being a Jungle dinner.
But that was it, I had gone commando at the wrong time, for the next two days I would have to take a brief stop check, pull my shorts down and do an inspection, I wasn’t taking any chances in the Jungle.
Perhaps a leech could have helped circulate some blood in those parts.
Or maybe the conventional way would be better….