Leeches and Lechers
Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
67Trip End Feb 14, 2007
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We arrived in the Mulu national park and were allocated the vip suite. Well that was electricity from 6 to 9 pm, and if it had rained there was enough water for for a cold shower. There were worrying animal noises under the floorboards (on stilts) during the night but no problem because the 5 am rooster must have frightened them off.
we were being broken in gently. Off we went in a dug out type boat up the jungle - first stop blow pipe shop. Suitably armed we continued until the outboard started making ominous noises and boat started going backwards. We all clambered out smartish and pushed it up the rapids. (Gill later confessed to just hanging on for dear life and not pushing at all)
Suddenly we were there- there was in the middle of another rapid were there was no hope of the boat getting any further. Back packs on and of we went to find the beginning of the 8 Km trail to Camp 5 (what ever that was).
8 Km may not sound much - but we remember every step - Gill took a tumble and has now got a blue leg - but she cheered up when our fellow tourist (andrew) also fell over. Funny how important it is to feed off other people's misfortunes.
2 1/2 hours later we walked into camp 5 - which is not quite true because I walked straight into the river there first- I couldn't be any wetter and the river looked very inviting.
We put up our mosquito net around our alloted floor space whilst our guide boiled the water and cooked our supper. We were sharing our dorm with a Canadian family - "who told you to bring mosquito nets?" the mother asked with some anxiety. Again we thrived off their misfortune at bed time when they were clearing millipedes out of their sleeping bags and wrapping spare shirts round their heads to keep bugs out of their ears.
We attempted the pinnacles climb at dawn the next day. Gill was back in bed by 7:30 and I decided to call it a day 1/4 of the way up ( 1 1/2 hours into the near vertical climb) - I was saving myself for the big mountain (Guido) - so we spent the rest of the day washing our clothes and ourselves in the river and applauding each conquering hero as they stumbled back into camp. Night fell and there was still one unaccounted for - so dinner was put on hold as the guides mounted a rescue mission. An hour later the dehydrated chap was carried into camp - I felt sorry for him - he was the only guy in a party of 11 butch looking females who had all made it there and back.
Next day we set off on the head hunters trail (11.3 Km) - Now we found the leeches Andrew and the Guide were bitten - but Gill's home made leech proof socks were marvelous. We spotted the buggers (the size of a cocktail stick) before they could get to any skin.
We finished the trail exhausted and in time to meet a boat which took us on a white knuckle ride down stream for a couple of hours to an Iban Longhouse for the night.
Jo explained that you could tell how many sculls the men had earned ( heads collected) by the number of tattooed stripes on their hands. He told us how to address these people - and I can tell you - we took note!