Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Gibbon Experience day 2 - SPIDER!!!

Today I awoke at 5.30am, and we had a pact that whoever woke first would wake the others, however, I just looked outside, saw it wasn’t a great sunrise so far and rolled over and went back to sleep until 6. We then all awoke to the sound of Gibbons – they were so loud in the mornings and the jungle was a very loud alarm clock – started around 5am and lasted until around 7. So we all headed down to the lower platform where we sat on Gibbon Watch for a bit. Bas and Tim then decided sitting around wasn’t enough entertainment, and so zipped their way out of the treehouse and went for a walk to see if they could get some better pictures of sunrise. In the process, they also saw Gibbons, the lucky sods! We though, still on Gibbon Watch, didn’t see Gibbons, instead we saw a flying giant Skunk! So this gave us some wildlife entertainment for a bit, the guys came back from their walk and made us all jealous with their footage of Gibbons flying across their heads and breakfast was delivered by the flying Laos lady. She also brought with her some fizzy pop, so we bought the two cans of Fanta and a coke, and ordered another 4 cokes for her to bring with lunch, as these would make some good mixers for the Laos Whiskey that Bas had brought with him – everyone was his best friend because of this haha.

Breakfast was yet more rice, with omelette, some more green stuff (morning glory) and cauliflower. So we ate and then along zipped M.J and his shadow, a little early as he’d said between 8-9am and it was only 7.40, so we all rushed in to shower and get ready for our day of zipping and trekking. Then it was ‘on like a nappy’ and ‘safety first’ across the exit zip to our treehouse and on our way to the next few ziplines. We did the junction zip again, this time heading in another direction – we were making our way to other treehouses so we’d get to do all the zip lines and see a few others with different views of the jungle. On the way we heard the Gibbons again and they sounded super close, so we asked M.J if we could go on a hunt for them, he was reluctant at first as he thought they were further away than they sounded but after listening again he ran off and beckoned us to follow, telling us to be super quiet otherwise we’d scare them off. So we pegged it through the jungle, over tree trunks and under fallen bamboo sticks, trying our hardest to keep quiet, but super excited with the chance of seeing more Gibbons up close.

Eventually he stopped us and we all listened and then out of no-where along came the Gibbons! Swinging from branch to branch they were super quick and had probably sensed us as they didn’t stop, just kept going across the jungle, but it was so amazing to see them again, after an uneventful Gibbon Watch morning. After the excitement was over we headed to treehouse number 7 where the other gang was staying for a well deserved rest...at 9.30am! Even though we’d only been out an hour me and Maaike were absolutely nackered! The other group were on their own trek and zipline experience so the treehouse was empty when we arrived...save for one large can of beer! But instead of drinking it, the nice people that we are, we decided to hide it instead, but with a purpose! As the guys had done last night, we decided to hide the beer, whilst cooling it for them in the coffee canister with water, so it would be a pleasant surprise. We then zipped out of treehouse 7 and made our way to treehouse 5, which would take us another hour of trekking and some more ziplines. Along the whole way, by the way, our guide M.J was serenading me and Maaike with love longs, such as Ronan Keating, Backstreet Boys (which won me over! Lol), Blue, Westlife etc. He was a right old crooner, but we found out that he wanted a western wife as he wanted to work in Europe to send money home to his family. He’d even spent a year learning English solidly so that he could work with westerners – who learns a language fluently in ONE YEAR?!

So treehouse number 5 was the best treehouse by far! It was one used on the waterfall experience, high up, quite small but with amazing views. It also had an amazing zipline into it and two amazing ziplines out of it – including the drop line and the bungee line! So we had another break here, M.J went on the drop line and stopped in the middle to take photos of us in the treehouse, then it was time to zip out of it, using the bungee zipline. This was basically a line where you sat your bum on a platform with nothing but the jungle below you and literally just jumped from, hoping the line would catch your fall. Maaike was quite scared as she’s also afraid of heights; it’s one of those things where you know you have to do it as there is no other way out of the treehouse, but your brain is telling you that it’s a bloody crazy idea! But we did it, and we all made it!
Then it was on to the last zipline – the biggest one! 700 metres this zipline was, and it was so high you may as well be in outer space, the mountains are in front of you, the jungle below, and it’s just 700 metres of flying like a bird through the sky! It was pretty amazing! Then we had to go the whole route back to our treehouse for lunch. It was already midday and we’d  been out since 8.30am so we were all pretty knackered by this point, especially me and Maaike holding up the rear. The guys checked out another treehouse on the way back but me and Maaike decided we couldn’t do anymore so we kept going with the trek until the guys eventually caught us up. On one of the ziplines, Bas wanted to get some proper pictures of the view, so he stopped himself halfway...and then had to monkey crawl all the way up the line to get back! Effort!

When we got back to the treehouse around 2pm, lunch had already been brought over, along with the extra coke we’d requested, which was...vegetable fried rice!!! Yay. On the way over me and Tim had been fanaticising about beef burgers and big juicy steaks, so you can imagine our disappointment. Luckily we did still have a whole pineapple in our cool box, so Lukas started cutting it up and it was the best pineapple ever, because it had some flavour and wasn’t rice for once! We also had some mandarins, but the cookies we saved for pudding later this evening.

So we had lunch, showered, Maaike went for a nap, and the guys from treehouse 7 came over for a visit, mentioning how much they liked their little surprise.  Then around 4pm we were left to our own devices...which meant the guys’ immature imaginations came to life and thought ziplining across our private line in their boxers would be an awesome idea, because it would look like they were ziplining naked! So they did just that, stripped to their boxers, harnesses went on like a nappy – which for guys is very uncomfortable, even more so in just boxers apparently – and off they went, safety first and all. Bas even took the kitchen broom with him and went across with that like a witch – but he just looked like Peter Pan really. During all the fun and excitement, M.J came back over offering to get the guys some weed to smoke tonight, which is a big deal as S.E.Asia is pretty strict and Laos people can get in serious trouble if found with weed or selling weed, but he wanted to help the guys out, even though it meant walking all the way to the village to get it. M.J had also come over halfway through the boxer-zipline venture, and he seemed a bit embarrassed about it, which we found out was because Laos people believed spirits and fairies lived in the trees, and so being naked in the jungle would offend them – woops guys! Eventually they agreed on a price for the weed and off M.J went to get it.

Then Maaike woke up and we all just sat around chatting, and sitting on Gibbon Watch, without any spots. Before dinner Lukas had gone over to boil us some water so we had some coffee – which was like a big brother moment as everyone thought it was instant coffee, but nope, after a quick taste, you had to strain it first! So me being the only one with brains (ha) had already strained mine and so strained everyone else’s too so it was drinkable, and out came the sweet milk! Dinner came which was more rice but...we did get some pasta and soggy French fries!! They were the best soggy french fries ever! We ate just before it got dark so it was a rush to finish before we couldn’t see our food anymore.

M.J then came back with the weed so the guys went up on the middle platform to smoke that and watch the sunset, so me and Maaike cracked open the whiskey and strawberry fanta and watched the sunset sipping that. Then we all headed back downstairs when it got dark and sat chatting with our whiskey, the guys also with their joint, eating cookies and Pringles (there was a cookie crackdown halfway through to make them last, but Tim and Lukas didn’t listen). Lukas really wanted an apple but we told him to wait until the morning for pre-breakfast. As we’d probably be hungry before breakfast arrived.

We ending up heading to bed around 10...however, we didn’t head to bed because the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in my life, with pincers and everything (I thought at first it was a scorpion) jumped out at me when me and Bas walked onto our platform! So obviously I was NOT going to bed while that thing was still up there, so everyone searched for it (bear in mind, all the guys were scared of this thing too) and we eventually noticed it had gone through the floorboards and was underneath us. So me being the brains in the group (hehe), decided the only way I was sleeping upstairs (instead of moving all the mattresses down as everyone else had decided, because Bas wasn’t going to sleep up there either), was to spider-proof the top deck, using mattresses, sheets, bed linen, clothes, backpacks etc, to cover the cracks in the floorboards so Mr poisonous spider couldn’t stage a 2nd attack, while Tim kept his flashlight on the spider so we knew where it was.

Once we’d spider proofed, it was then ok to head to bed, so it took me a while to feel safe, but after taking a sleeping pill – I was out like a light! (Apart from being woken up sometime in the night by Bas talking in English in his sleep, haha).

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