Now back in Miri, I've spent the last five days on a an amazing trek through the jungle of Sarawak and Penan villages. On the way, I experienced the hospitality of the Penan people and saw some incredible natural beauty. At the same time, the trek was incredibly tough at times, with steep climbs, slippery ledges and narrow bridges to cross. Luckily the Penan guides and porters who were with me were jungle experts and they were patient and protective of me.
In order that you can get a sense of the journey, I'll go chronologically though the trek, using the diary which I kept.
Wednesday 25 August:
Today I met the lovely couple who were also going on the trek with me. We met at the airport and boarded a propellor plane, which would take us to our first location, a village called Long Lellang. At Long Lellang, we met our Penan guide, Isac and the two young Penan porters, Alan and Hagai, who would accompany us and carry the food for our trip. The first day of the trek seemed quite mild, although I struggled on some of the steep slopes (thanks to my dicky knees). We walked until the afternoon where we came to Long Sait Village.
|The plane ride was an adventure in itself - so small that we could see inside the cockpit and feel every movement of the plane.|
|From the air, I could see huge areas destroyed by logging and palm oil plantations. Closer to my destination though, were lush mountains, their peaks obscured by clouds.|
|The beginning of the trek looked pretty tame.|
|My guide carved this stick for me from a tree. I needed it to balance the weight of my bag!|
|The children in Long Kepang village were very curious about us.|
After a wash in the stream, we ate a lovely and simple dinner of rice and cooked tapioca leaves in one of the Penan houses. They were very generous with their food, although there were many people and not alot of food. The Penan have a custom of sharing, no matter how little there is. It was quite an experience. At night, we slept on Rattan mats which had been woven by Penan women. I slept pretty badly; I just couldn't get comfortable on the hard surface. In the morning, I was woken early by the sound of cocks crowing - something I've only heard of in childrens stories. Who knew it could be so loud!