Wednesday, 16 June 2010

miri/mulu: day 2

the next morning dawned bright and early. have to lar, coz we were setting out to see more caves at 8.30am!

morning view of benarat lodge...

it's situated right next to a river!

after breakfast, we set out for more spelunking on the longboat... but why the big bag? coz we'll be going straight to camp 5 after. so need to bring our 2 nights worth of clothes etc, as well as the things we'd need for the climb up mount mulu. the rest of our stuff, we left in a storage room at benarat lodge.

one of the more common mode of transportation there...

on the way to the caves, we made a short stopover at a penan village in kampung bungah.

in a bid to boost the economic status of the penans, the mulu national park authorities made this stopover as part of the itinerary. there's a small area set up to display and sell the penan handcraft...

hey, this looks very familiar... it's the horizontal snail we saw yesterday! ok, not the exact same snail, but you get what i mean!

penan woman weaving basket...

according to ryuu, this practice of extending the ears in penan women is a dying tradition. as more and more penans of the younger generations move into town and assimilating with the rest of the civilization, they become very ashamed of their long ears. those who've not started "extending" their ears will not do so, and those who've started will go have their ears sewed back!

some of the crafts being sold...

mostly baskets, bead-work and stuff made from parts of plants... no, we didn't buy anything coz those are really not the kinda stuff we dig.

penan woman showing how the nose flute is played...

finding nothing interesting at the "market", we decided to go take a look at their longhouse. N was a tad disappointed to find that they use these vinyl mat for their floor... hello, people need to advance also, ok?

a real-life longhouse is THIS long!

on our way again...

we'll be visiting the wind cave and the clearwater cave today, situated right next to each other.

at the king's chamber in wind cave.

next, we walked about 4km along the plankwalk built onto the outer walls of the cave towards the clearwater cave.

lots of rajah brooke's birdwing (or just rajah brooke) butterflies here, named after james brooke, the rajah of sarawak.

passed by this parking area for longboats...

before going into the clearwater cave, we had a short tea break provided by the organizers at a picnic area there. really applause their efforts... they had to haul all the mugs, hot drinks (coffee and tea), sugar (for the drinks), food and eating utensils along with us! i think if we were in KL, the organizers would've just given us milo packets or something!

after tea, we went into the clearwater cave, where we saw the subterranean river system. according to our guide, richard, this river system is ever expanding and they're still measuring the length and exploring it. also, it seems that there's another underground river system directly underneath this system (sorta like double-decker river system), which will emerge like hundreds of years from now due to earth movement and whatnot. (photo from gunung mulu national park)

out from clearwater cave, we had our lunch at the picnic area. lunch was packed rice, fried chicken and vege. and of course, free-flow of hot coffee & tea! ;) then we were brought by longboat to the spot where we'll begin our 8.8km trek towards camp 5.

at the beginning part of our trek. still very energetic... we were very excited to see this hanging bridge. "faster take photo! faster take photo!"

we joined a group of 15 (noisy) students from UUM for this leg of the trip and one of the guys took on the all-important job of "egg-bearer". crossing the hanging bridge is the most challenging part for him... whether or not we'll get eggs in our meals during our 3D2N stay at camp 5 is all dependent on him!

halfway on, it started to rain. i'm the only one who put on my poncho. the rest just sloughed on undaunted! but it's good that it rained, coz leaches don't come out during rain. it's only when the forest floor is wet (but not raining) that the leaches come out searching for prey.

short stop to rehydrate... i decided to walk in the rain like the rest, coz the feeling of wet poncho (from sweat) sticking to your skin and clothes is really uncomfortable!

this is at about the halfway mark... as you can see, we're all tired out! not to mention drenched from head to toe in both sweat and rain...

even tho' drenched, we were very hot! so hot that some of the members just dunked their heads into the river. ah, must be very refreshing... but we refrained from doing so, tho' god knows we wished to! :P

imagine our joy, when after walking on and on and on in the jungle for the longest time, we saw this sign... it's like the happiest moment in our lives!

finally! after trekking for more than 3 hours, we finally saw some sort of structure just a mere few steps away!

there's a river next to camp 5... and guide richard wants us to jump into the river once we arrived, coz bees will be attracted to our sweat stink! but N and i decided to just dash into the bathroom for a shower, which was a wise decision! coz there were only 2 shower cubicles, so we were the first to shower while the rest were still in the river... :D

our sleeping quarters... i wouldn't call it a "room", coz it's without doors and people walking outside can easily peep in. and  the quarters were allocated according to our groups, so boys and girls of that group would have to sleep together! anyway, each of us only got a thin mattress, so it's a good thing that N and i always travel with our trusty sleeping bags!

getting ready for bed... we had to start early tomorrow. it's gonna be another long and tiring day...

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Biow said...

nose flute??! that's so yucks..

also their ear lobe hole..

that transparent thinghy is a blow up pillow? wow.. your are so well prepared!

stargal said...

biow, i know! i don't think i'd wanna buy that one she demonstrated on lor... :P

yup, blow-up pillow comes with my sleeping bag. hehe...