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Thursday, 31 March 2011
Location: Bahau Hulu, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Day Two in the Jungle: Parangs and Shelters

forest shelter
forest shelter

After sunrise the guides started to prepare for the day. We were sleeping a bit longer but we soon had to wake up, too. By the time we got prepared ourselves, the breakfast was ready. Rice of course, and a huge frog on a stick...

By the way Adri had the ninth anniversary of her vegetarianism at the beginning of February, but after this she started preparing for this journey. She got used to meat day by day, so she didn't have any problems with any food. It was a good idea as apart from here we haven't found vegetarian food anywhere.

In fact she said frogs taste like chicken :)

parang
parang

Today's trek wasn't as demanding as yesterday's because we didn't have to climb as many hills. The forest undergrowth got thicker and thicker, so the guide walking in front had to use his parang more and more often. The parang is like a machete, but it seems even more powerful. It's amazing what kind of things it can cut. Demonstrating it's power, one of the guides cut a leg-tick tree with it.

So, as the undergrowth became tougher, the guides kept cutting a path all the time, so we could proceed more slowly. We had some time to look around. We saw a snake, wild boars, and a deer. We disturbed a tree full of bats (the cat-sized ones) and we heard a group of gibbons whooping above us and jumping from tree to tree. Unfortunately we didn't see them.

Our path led among wild coffee bushes and huge fern-like plants.

Pak Daud shot a wild boar
Pak Daud shot a wild boar

In the afternoon it started heavily raining, so we had to put up our shelter earlier. That said we still walked about an hour in the rain. As for the shelters, they always preserve the main poles and the fireplace, they never ruin them. Locals use these routes quite regularly, like this is the quickest route to Malaysia. So we meet quite a few of these half-built shelters on our way, but we only stop at the ones where the evening falls. This afternoon we took a rest because of the rain, while Pak Daud went hunting again, and he was finally lucky this time. From now on there's no more frogs and noodles, but we'll eat wild boar :) (Rice is ubiquitous, just like in the Philippines: in the morning, at noon, in the evening.)

They've cooked a big pot of meat and they fried and well smoked the rest to preserve it for the rest of the trek.

It was raining all night again...

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