By Lisa on Feb 01, 2014 with Comments 5
We retrieved our backpacks off the one luggage belt in the whole airport and made our way outside to the crowd of meeters, greeters, families, taxi drivers and touts. It didn’t feel like we were in the Borneo Jungle.
Not yet anyway.
Toni spotted a guy holding up his name and immediately made his way through the waiting people to his side.
This young, stocky, long-haired chap was to be our guide and companion for the next four days. He introduced himself as Iim. None of us could pronounce it!
The Drive to the Borneo Jungle
No sooner had we shaken hands, Iim ushered the four of us into two taxis and we sped off through the streets and shacks of Pangkalan Bun and headed for the national park, stopping only briefly at a roadside shop to get a photocopy of our passports.
The drive was erratic because the car was full of mosquitoes, that the driver tried so hard to swat, the car swerved and lurched around the road. His frequent turning around to apologise about the mosquitoes to us in the back didn’t help his driving skills.
The further away we got from Pangkalan Bun, the further behind us we left the sunshine. There were heavy, menacing clouds ahead of us.
Between worrying about the ominous clouds ahead of us, worrying about the mosquitoes in the car trying to eat us and worrying about the driver’s erratic lurching around the road, we didn’t get to enjoy much of the landscape.
All Aboard the Klotok
After 20 minutes of driving we pulled off the road by the enormous river. There were many klotoks (Indonesian river-boats) moored there, all waiting to take people to Tanjung Puting National Park or having just returned from there.
No sooner had we got out of the car and the heavens opened. It was that instant, inexplicable downpour that you only get in the rainforest.
We only had to walk two minutes to board our klotok but that was enough to soak us to the skin. We climbed aboard clumsily, jostled by our own backpacks, unused to manoeuvring on a rocking boat with such a weight on our backs.
We had to remain docked for 40 minutes before the rain eased enough for us to start moving down the river. We sat there under the tarpaulin canopy as the rain bounced down around us, rocking the boat and dripping through the roof.
As we listened to the deafening thunder and glanced awkwardly at each other, realisation set in: now we felt like we were in the Borneo Jungle. We had no idea what was ahead of us for the next four days, but there was definitely no going back now.
When the rain did subside and we tentatively started to chug down the river, lunch was served to us at the table on deck. And what a feast. There was a huge bowl of steamed rice, crunchy green beans stir-friend with garlic, another vegetable dish with cauliflower, and a whole small fried fish each.
We started to relax as we realised that when the rain stopped and the sun came out, there were certainly good things about the Borneo Jungle. Lunch was one of them.
We began to feel excited about what the next four days might bring…
This is just one post of twenty articles that make up the Rainforest Blog.
Read the rest of it here.
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About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....