21 July 2010

Garden Of Eden: The Chronicles of Jippiana Jones

*[Just in case you missed the first entry on my Mulu trip, get back to here and it’ll make reading this entry more interesting :-)]
So… waking up on my second day in Mulu, I was greeted a good morning by this little greeny thingy here.
It would be the day when we were set to go on a journey towards a very special place in Mulu called The Garden of Eden.
The journey would take us past the lunchtime so each of us was provided with a lunch pack. Ohh, don’t expect anybody else to bring it for you, you gotta bring it yourself. :-P
The Deer Cave is more like a gigantic hallway where you go in through the entrance and go out to a different exit. The exit would be where the Garden of Eden is.
I really thought it would be easy. Mind to tell you, it is not!
First you’ll be asked to traverse along the walk board inside the cave. Oh well, it is a walk board so you’re free to try some of your catwalk skills that you learnt from watching The Next American Top Model.
You can expect the millions of bats that were there inside the cave to be your audience.
At least up to this point.
Another stupidity of mine – I didn’t bring a torch light! Mind to tell you that a trip to the Garden of Eden would bring you through some of the darkest parts of the cave so it is only wise that you bring the brightest torch light that you’ve got back at home.
Or you have the choice of burning RM15 out of your wallet to buy this at the Park HQ shop. (I was too late to know!)
I have to keep telling you this: A trip to the Garden of Eden is not easy. There was one part of the trail (although there was no apparent trail) that we had to get across the river against its strong current. The guide actually asked to chain up to each other so that just in case one of us got carried away by the strong flow, all of us would go with her. You see, it was teamwork in totality. One die, the rest die too. Hehe.
Traversing along the trail IN THE DARK has proved to be more challenging than I would have thought. For a moment I felt like I was being in the movie set of The Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark with me being Indiana while the rest being my err, porters? LOL!
If you ever wished that you were born bigger that you are now than wait until you come to this part of Mulu cave. It was one of those times when I wished I was born a midget. I mean, some parts of the trail would require you to squeeze your body in between piles of rock with minimum space I wondered how it was possible for all the big-sized mat sallehs to make it through them.
Seriously, I wished I was smaller than Ulai. The advantage really was on her. :-P
Forget about wearing your expensive shoes or branded pants or you’ll be so sorry for the rest of your life.
It is one of those places that you’d want to put on an ABIBAS instead of ADIDAS, or POMA instead of PUMA. And that is not a joke.
I mean, it is wet – which was probably OK since the water was crystal clear.
BUT for your BUTT, it was so muddy and the mud was not the just the ordinary mud that we used to happily play with back in our childhood years. NO NO. It was the mud that consisted mainly of the mass production by the millions of bats that had inhabited the Deer Cave probably since the Stonehenge time.
The mud that never tasted the natural drying and disinfecting mechanism of the sun making it just a perfect breeding port for all kinds of micro-organisms and only God knows whatever bacterial shits they are.
If I were the owner of these hands, I’ll never want to eat with my bare fingers for at least one year. He he he.
It was like an endless series of ascending..
...and descending..
Some of it was just so impossible to climb without the help of a rope..
It was more like climbing the last few hundred kilometers of Mount Kinabalu but darker and much more slippery.
I’ve always liked GREEN but seeing green on a rock surface was making me wince.
IT was like a flickering danger. LOL!
So, after a series of incidences including asses thumping on the ground, we finally made it to the Garden of Eden. It was actually the light well area on the other entrance of the cave.
Everybody was happy. We did it!
But just when I was about to raise my hand in exultance, I was told that the journey hasn’t come to its end just yet. In fact, it was the only beginning of a journey that would take us further into the thick jungle of the ‘Eden’.
Our guide was such a dude. He had sugar all over his tongue that could simply melt the hearts of the ladies through both his words and acts. He really knew how to win their hearts and I couldn’t help but questioning what kind of schools did I go to. LOL!
Looking at how he wowed the girls with his poetic arrangement of words, I began to question whether I should have read more love stories instead of those thriller books that dominate the book shelf back at home.
I silently wished that I’d have that heart-melting tongue that he has even after 20 years from now.
Awwwww. Hehe. For the first few kilometers from the cave exit we were led to traverse along this beautiful river.
The river was so much a pristine wonder to me considering how most rivers that I had come upon didn’t have that crystal clear water that this one had.
Seriously, looking down at the water was like looking inside an aquarium where you can see the fish swimming in between pebbles of stones.
But of course, we couldn’t stay in the water forever.
Somewhere along the way, we got off the river and began a series of ups and downs into the heavy forest.
And getting off the river means you’d have to be prepared for obstacles such as this one here.
It really felt good to be in the lush greenery of a virgin forest again. The last time I went through the same experience was in Maliau Basin when Sabah was undergoing a very dry season.
Getting into a rainforest on a rainy season, the rainforest was in its ‘real form’ this time and without a doubt much more beautiful.
I've always seen the underwater marine life as a world of complexity but being in Mulu I could see that the diversity of plants is a world of mysteries.
There were just so many things to see. Everything was there to complete the beauty of the rainforest whose complexity has sparked interests to so many biologists and scientists from all over the world.
Oh well, you know how beauty always comes with a price. ALWAYS.
Before I knew I had these unintended visitors giving friendly suctions all over me. Ohhh, how come I forgot. WE WERE the visitors.
Whatever it was, I was more worried about the ladies because they didn’t look at the blood-sucking leeches as the blooding sucking vampires in one of those The Twilight Saga movies. LOL!
The guide really knew how to surprise us. He didn’t tell us that the trip would end at a waterfall. (did he?)
And the waterfall was quite a nice surprise.
Despite its deficit in size compared to the one that they have in Maliau Basin, the beauty of the waterfall lies very much in the its clear water and for the fact that it was in the middle of nowhere and was totally free of any element of pollution.
Then it was time to choose between having lunch or hitting into the water first. I did the later.
Not only because the water was so appealing to me but I wanted to make sure I was totally free of the blood-sucking leeches.
No more free blood donation for them.
Then I took my lunch while the rest took their turn to hit into the water.
And this is the closest picture of them that I could safely post in. Anything closer than this would put me in real danger. They're gonna kill me.  *D-E-S-O-P-X-E-R-E-V-O!
Don’t you think they make a good couple?
Hehe. Before I knew it was time to say good bye to this beautiful waterfall.
On our returning trip, I really hoped we would go on a different trail so that there’d be more things to see but no.
We returned to the cave via the same route that we took earlier. Walking along the river again we took our time to be more appreciative of the surrounding this time.
And the guide would continue impressing the ladies by crafting up the Mulu’s version of vuvuzela and giving them one each.
Needless to say I didn’t get any. :-(
You see, if you’re a guy, never ever go on a trip with a group of ladies or you’ll become a victim of gender discrimination. They’d rather see you deal with your own safety ALONE. Oh well, of course they wouldn’t admit it but that was just it. :-P 
Hehe. WE were later on the edge of the Garden of Eden again. 
And further on inside the darkness of the cave. 
And squeezing in between the piles of rocks. 
Before finally back in the comfort (and safeness) of the walk board again. 
Heading towards the entrance of the Deer Cave later, we noticed something that we didn’t realize on our way in before – waters dripping down from the ceiling of Deer Cave!
Illuminated by the sun through the gapping entrance of the cave, it really was amazing to watch how the ‘threads’ of water dropping down to the floor of the cave. 
Ohh and although I had heard something about the image of Abraham Lincoln at the Deer Cave, I didn’t really see it until I made my time to figure it out this time. 
Ohh OK. Abraham Lincoln it is. Whatever. :-P So, coming back to the hostel later, I was greatly relieved to finally get out of the discomfort of my bloodied pants. 
There goes my RM THB 200 worth of pants that I bought in Bangkok last year. I knew whatever disinfectant that I was going to use to wash the dirt off; it’d never look the same again. Uhuks!
My idea of trekking on a wet and rainy day was actually by doing it naked. At least I could always be assured that none of the blood-sucking creatures were there hiding somewhere and enjoying sucking on me for free while I had to deal with the consequences later. *pardon my side-butt, I really want to show you guys the blood.

Seriously, this thing would rather die blowing up of overcapacity than letting go of your skin so long as you haven't found it.
I thought I was totally clear and clean – until I woke up the next morning and almost screamed in horror when I found patches of blood on my mattress cover!o.O  
I had to fold it up before the ladies found out about it. I didn’t want them to do one of their ridiculous jokes by running over to me with an absorbent pad in their hands and screaming ‘We’ve got a bleeder!!!!!!!!!!!!!’. They really love to create scenes I tell you. :-D
Luckily, it’d be the day when we moved out to Camp 5 so I didn’t have see the reaction of all the cleaner aunties upon finding out A GUY HAD HAD A PERIOD in their hostel. Erkkkk!
Moving out from the Tongkat Ali Hostel, we would be heading to a long journey to the Camp 5 from where we’d be going on what turned out to be the toughest climb that I’ve ever been up to in my 30 years of living on earth – the climb to the Pinnacles!
Seriously, it was just so tough and I mean it. But of course, it'll be all in my next post.


aud said...

What an adventure!

I absolutely detest leeches, esp pacat cos it's so tiny and gets everywhere! That's my main issue with jungle trekking in a rainforest. Haih. So petty, kan?

Can't wait for your Pinnacles post :)

JIPP said...

hehe. Yeah, it really was an adventure. Well, most ppl, both male and female alike, have issues with these friendly leeches. But the rule of curing a fear, if your fear someth, face it. And that was what I did. :-D

Murphy said...

Wow, this is a real jungle trekking which covers forest trail, caving, river crossing and hill climbing. so far I haven't seen any trail in Sabah that can match this.

JIPP said...

Ya Murphy. Isn't it interesting? I didn't expect trekking in Mulu could such an exciting one. We don't really have big caves in Sabah. Caves are so amazing to discover if they are big like the ones in Mulu.

Kelvin said...

U should sneak nearer and take some bikini shots~

Can really a lot from ur adventure^^

JIPP said...

Haha. I've got closer pics of them in bikin Kelvin. It's just that I wouldn't post them here. Email me if you're interested to see them. LOL!


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