Deforestation

I’m not much of an environmentalist, but I was taken aback at this:

Devastation

 

Once rainforest

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Radio run

As it becoming all too common, the following posts were written a long time before I’ve been able to post them. Lots of pics in this one, too.

Just got back from of the most fun trips I’ve had. Alpha 6 had trouble with both their main radio and their spare, so to ensure they had the ability to communicate with us while trekking, we went on a courier mission. We in this case were fellow logistician Lee, PM Sam and me. We first drove to Sipitang, the nearest town to our trek route. There we settled in for the night, having had a very late lunch at KFC and a very early roti dinner with a film. Not a massive selection for vegetarians at KFC, but they do sell little buns there for the equivalent of 10p, meaning I could have a Borneo chip butty consisting of ‘cheesy’ wedges (almost, but not quite, entirely unlike cheese) and a bun.

Sam and Lee, Sipitang

The South China Sea Paradise which is Sipitang, feat. rooftops.

Next morning, an early start in order to begin driving at first light. We had a 3 hour drive to the village of Long Pa Sia, where we were due to first test and then leave the radios for A6 to pick up. The last 90% of that was off road, which I was lucky enough to drive – brilliant! I think I’d quite like a Land Rover…

Sam and the Bravo, keeping it real

Long Pa Sia

Me, wearing pendant, and apparently standing next to a dog turd.

Long Pa Sia itself is pretty beautiful as you approach it. It’s a sprawling village, which actually has more people living there than Shepreth (my home). We spent a while looking for a suitable radio location, before seeing Nooh, one of our trek guides, who invited us in for coffee and a chat – and gave us each a pendant to protect us from malevolent jungle spirits.

The legend Nooh - I didn't take these

The legend Nooh's book

We tested the radios and were preparing to leave when A6 surprised us by arriving early – it was great to see them all and enjoy a brief reunion with some of my training group, Delta 6. They’re all enjoying the trek, some a little more than others, but all were in good spirits.

Alpha 6, phase 1

On the way out, school had just finished, so we got to have a chat with some of the local kids, who ran alongside our Bravo as we left. Then it was just a 6 hour slog back to KK and Field Base, to get ready for the Loop the following day…

Long Pa Sia kids - I don't think the girl liked us

Curious opening hours

Not sure this restaurant’s business plan is a recipe for success:

Osia restaurant, Sentosa, Singapore

Postcard # 4

Here’s an entry from Nat who feels the urchin reminds her of me. I don’t know that abuse will win the prize, but here is the fourth card:

Miner

Exotic wildlife

Over the last few days I have seen leeches and a scorpion. And that’s just at our field base.

A leech, yesterday

 

A scorpion, ready for action

 

Deployment day

All of the past month has been in preparation for this. The long days, the sleepless nights, the seemingly endless counting of cans and tools, the driving up and down the state, the sweating, oh the sweating…

Seeing the six buses leave with 78 venturers aboard, waving them goodbye, knowing they were ready for the experience of a lifetime (even if some of them didn’t know it themselves, or were nervous, or even a little scared) gave me a sense of achievement I haven’t felt for a while.

Location, location, location

I currently live on Lorong Muntahan 3b. A couple of our Host Country Venturers almost cried laughing at this; after they picked themselves up from the floor, they let me know that it means ‘Vomit Street’. I checked Google translate and they weren’t kidding.

We're not even allowed to drink

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