A Travellerspoint blog

Commando Style

sunny 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).

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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….

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Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 25.03.2012 14:18 Archived in Malaysia Tagged park malaysia jungle national insects bears lions tigers taman negara leeches Comments (1)

Chinese Dog

sunny 27 °C

Georgetown, Penang – 12th January

Today I had an unexpected and very strange exchange with an elderly Chinese twat. It was early afternoon and I was sat out on the front of my hostel in Georgetown, I had only meant to be in Georgetown for a day or so but this was my fourth day here. I was speaking with Victoria on the phone, catching up on the last day’s shenanigans. The weather here as any day in Malaysia was hot and humid, I had just bought a bottle of ice cold water and was enjoying having something cold to drink.

The street is built up of old white washed colonial style buildings, with front arched terraces each of them with louvers on the windows, most of the buildings have been converted to small guest houses, in others they are working factories filled with printing presses and machine shops. The street is quite narrow so the traffic moves slow, the occasional trishaw, a three wheeler bicycles would pass slowly, some with passengers on board others selling fruits and odds and ends. Idle unemployed people were all about today for some reason, the only other thing constructive I did at that time was by adding to that tally.

A silver people carrier pulled up right in front of me just in front of the terrace, nothing strange about that, the street had been bottlenecked now so the only one trishaw could pass at a time. The driver jumped out and ran into one of the buildings.

I was still on the phone to Victoria when I saw the passenger of the silver carrier open his door ajar, he didn’t step out, he just dropped a drinks carton along with some food wrappers right on the floor. I couldn’t believe it, I still had the phone to my ear as I shouted to the bone idle bastard. I walked up to the car, I opened the door and told the guy to get out. He didn’t need me to tell him what to do next, ‘Pick that up will you.’ I told him anyways, he might need reminding. ‘There is a bin over here’, I stood over him and watched him become very sheepish, he knew that he was a dirty dodgy shitty arsed litter bug. He picked up the litter and I followed him to make sure he did what he was told.

‘Sorry, sorry’ he said, his first attempt to bury his guilt didn’t work, the paper didn’t have enough momentum and didn’t make the bin, so he had to bend down to make it on the second attempt.

‘Hmmm’ I muttered like a disapproving parent.

I escorted him back to his car.

‘Sorry Victoria, what were you saying?’ I still had the phone glued to my ear, we carried on where we left off…

I can probably say that I haven’t managed to teach this old fart anything today other than to make sure no one is looking when you throw your filth on the street.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks and this Chinese man would have probably eaten the dog and threw the bones out the back….

Blog by David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 02.03.2012 19:51 Archived in Malaysia Tagged dog malaysia penang chinese litter Comments (0)

Batak Dreams

rain 18 °C

Ive jumped ahead of myself here so that i can share with you a moment i have had recently in Sumatra.

I along with a Dutch couple had intended on visiting a coffee plantation that specialised in Luwak Coffee, the ride was to take about 4 hours on a motorbike and was to take us through a Jungle road normally reserved for logging trucks and little else.

Enroute through the Jungle we got caught up in a spell of torrential rain so we had to take cover in a small shack, a wooden building that had to be the Indonesian version of a service station. So we stayed there and played cards for nearly 3 hours while the rain flooded the roads.

In the hut we met an Indonesian who spoke a little English, we ended up naming this guy Mr Movie.

Mr Movie shared with us his Videos of himself singing on the roads of the Jungle. He sent me it through good old Bluetooth (havent used bluetooth for years!). I promised that i would upload this to YouTube... of course i would, this was too good to miss...

So please enjoy Mr Movie singing on the Jungle road in Sumatra...

Mr Movie ended up showing us to the coffee plantation, he stayed for a cup of coffee, then he stayed and had dinner with us, then he stayed and drank turak with us, and then he stayed the night.... When we left in the morning, Mr Movie was stood there waving us off from a house that he had never been to, nor had he even known the people of the house until the night before....

Such is the way in Indonesia....

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 19.02.2012 00:42 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia village jungle singing batak sumatra solo dreams Comments (0)

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