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Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Location: Nunukan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Out of the jungle

great survivors
great survivors

We are creating history. And we are being photographed. The reason is that in Long Bawan, in the heart of Borneo they have internet since the 1st of April and we are the first foreigners to use it. Hurrah!

Now, this is a summary of our jungle trek.

First the impotrant thing: we got out of the forest. I mean we got into its deepest pocket. The WWF coleague, Pak Ishak helped us a lot but unfortunately he spoke very little English - luckily we did speak some Indonesian. The trip on the river took 4 days instead of the initially planned 2, we went as far upriver as the rapids made it possible. Even so, in the end we carried the boat more than what the boat transported us... Anyway, the deeper we got into Borneo the slower it became to move forward - and the more expensive. This is because the fuel has to be taken also from where we came, from Tanjung Selor, at 4 days' distance by longboat.

trekking in the rainforest
trekking in the rainforest

We were going up the river for 4 days among forgotten villages, and then in a village called Apau Ping at the headwaters of the Bahau river, Pak Ishak handed us over to two Kenyah Dayak hunters, who guided us while making our way through the rainforest with the help of parangs. This took us 6 days. This meant no mobile network, no internet, and no bathroom for 10 days. There was instead an ever looser definition of the Indonesian mandi (bath) which meant no more than a creek in the end. Our lunch was shot by these brave hunters and we slept in the forest at night, at 3 days' walking from the nearest Indonesian village and 6 days from Malaysia.

Then after 6 days we finally got to Long Layu where the locals were staring at us, people coming from the forest, because there's nothing but rainforest where we came from. We found out that Long Layu was actually in the middle of the forest and that it was only possible to leave by plane. Or on foot, of course, the way we had come. We gathered all our strength left and walked out to the grassy runway where buffaloes grazed and where apparently a small Cessna turns up occasionally, and we flew to the next village, Long Bawan. From Long Bawan we'll need another Cessna to get back to the coastal towns. There's such a flight tomorrow. From there everything will go smoothly. All we want to find now is a small island to relax.

roots in the moss forest
roots in the moss forest
Guys, this was terrific!!!

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