Saturday, January 29, 2011

Borneo: Danum Valley 2

We met some great buds there, and ran into them on a short trail near the centre. They said there were some red leaf monkeys up the trail.

It was so cool. Getting late in the day, and they were headed right over the path we were on. We just waited and they slowly made their way overhead towards their roost.

The next day we decided to climb to the upper platform of the tree climb. Just at dusk a mother orangutan crossed a limb at our level (about 120' high). It had a baby with it.

Some pretty big ants they got there.

I've got more to put up about this place, it was so rich. Next up is night creatures.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Borneo: Laha Dahtu and the Danum Valley 1

This is Laha Dahtu, the gateway to the Danum Valley field conservation area. It was a kindof intimidating place, what with the guys with sewing machines and facebook t-shirts hanging about. I think everyone in Malaysia gets free satellite TV.

I have had my nose in jungle books since I was 4. This place was like a more diluted version of those books. Walks had to be done slowly, because there was so much detail.

There was a tree ladder platform, and we went up to the first level. It was intensely scary and unsafe but totally worth it.

We saw a giant squirrel up there, with great big tan fluffy paws. I saw a swarm of asian bees in a tree later on.

And these deer were common around the bunk houses.

I saw this guy when I was looking for something else and thought "Wow! A spider mimicking a fungus! Brilliant!" but then I realised that the spider had been infected and consumed from within by the fungus. Once it had its fill it sprouted a stem off the abdomen to seek new spider hosts.
I'd like to point out that this "Field Center" does host scientists, which is cool, but they also tenuously host tourists like us. Karin had to give them academic credentials to get a spot, and the place was completely empty. I know why. The center is an eco-tourism front for a massive state corporation which selectively logs portions of the surrounding forest. It is a "managed" forest, which I guess is better than the 400km of palm plantation that is the rest of Sabah. In the park there is a display of the bright shiny new building this corporation has built. It was obvious at that point that the money spent to build that tower came straight out of the rainforest I was standing in, and that every extra penny spent on it was another felled hardwood. It was a disgusting realisation, but a beautiful forest nevertheless.

More to come in Danum.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sydney Phone Soup


And then we stayed at the Tune hotel in the 1Borneo mall. Boy that sucked.

But I did some archery. I must have looked a bit rusty, because she kinda just wouldn't stop standing about 3' away from me staring the whole time, totally threw my game off! Actually the pic doesn's show how close the target actually was. Shameful!
There was a big empty hallway leading away from the elevators. You couldn't see the end of it, and weird noises came down it. We joked that it was the Trex hall. We walked down it and there was an open mop closet with red paint swached on the wall like blood. I should have got a picture.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Borneo: Mt Kinabalu

It was so pretty at the base of Mt Kinabalu.

I did know that the death march was about to begin, but I didn't realise how bad it would be.

Because really I like to think adventure is an attitude, and I can make it as subtle as I want. That's where the detail is. That's why climbing mountains is against my method. It's too hard, and there's not much subtlety in it. Speaking of subtlety, can you see the winking cat in the mountain?

It was so steep. Then it started raining and got very cold. All I had was a tee-shirt and a rain coat, and it wasn't enough.

But we made it. Actually Karin carried the pack the whole way up. We got up there and man it was good to be in the shelter (Laha Datu). We had hot chocolate, and our room was above the kitchen which warmed it. The next morning at 2am Karin decided to try the summit. This is "normal." But it was rained out, and she struggled back into bed, dejected. I never planned to summit.

I had it the whole way down (almost...)

Look, he ate it! The crunching. Very rare Iguana species.