Temburong and the Ulu National Park.
Temburong Travel Blog› entry 19 of 23 › view all entries
August 15th, 2008 – by: andytite
We started by taking a 'ferry' to Temburong - a place we'd stopped briefly at on our way to KK. The ferry was more like a speedboat, and zipped, crashed and bounced down the river and across to Temburong in an alarmingly quick time. The views were interesting, if brief due to the velocity of our travel.
When we arrived at Temburong we emptied our bladders - leading to an interesting piece of Brunian education on how to use a toilet (apparently you should sit, not stand, squat or perform a headstand on the cistern as a helpful sign explained to us). We met our guide and piled into a dilapidated car before roaring off into the jungle. We stopped on the way at a zoo. It was free, and featured a variety of native animals housed in some of the poorest conditions I'd ever seen. Tiny cramped cages full of large animals that would rather be anywhere else. I knew the feeling, it was one of the most unsettling experiences of my travels. There were no visitors apart from us, and our guide appeared to be faintly apologetic about the whole thing.
Our next stop was far more pleasant and more interesting. We went to a Iban long house. The Iban are formally known as headhunters, which was slightly disconcerting. Luckily the headhunting ways are long gone, and they were very welcoming and friendly. The longhouse gave a new meaning to communal living - a series of about twelve flats upstairs all linking onto a communal corridor and living space. Each of the flats were beautifully decorated - some had made mobiles and firezes out of tickets and leaflets, others had colourful posters and mats. It was pleasantly cool and the people greeted us warmly. While the Iban are becomming more urban and 'civilized' (for want of a better term), it was nice to see how much of their original culture, beliefs and practices still remained.
After the long house we took a trip up the Temburong river in a motorised canoe. The views were spectacular, as the banks rose on each side of us and giant trees soared into the the sky. I felt utterly relaxed, and sat back enjoy the scenery and the sun on my face. That was until I noticed the pool of water steadily increasing by my feet, and I heard the muffled oath of the guide and the sound of furious bailing. This meant a little uncertainty - I wasn't dressed for swimming, but we managed to reach a bank in time, with only minimal dampness of the rear and feet.
Ahead of us stood a path. It wound up the bank at an alarming gradient. My legs made a muffled protest. I made a louder one. My companions and I looked up. And up. And up some more.
I wont lie. It was hard work. Bloody hard work. Our guide cheerfully told us that there was an easy path, but it had been washed away by raining leading to an interesting and exciting landslide. He went on to add, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, that this path was an emergency route and was a lot (and he repeated the word lot) harder. Sigh.
After a few metres my legs were screaming, their mute agony that I'd learnt to live with whenever I did something simple like climb into a car or walk up a flight of stairs to bed gave way to an agonised scream with each step. But I continued.
We stood at the bottom as I wheezed and stared up. I'm ok with heights generally, but this was tall. It rose majestically towards the tops of the trees, a stark metallic contrast to the natural greenery omnipresent on all sides. Our turn came and we wound up and up. A sudden gust of wind rocked the tower and we wobbled with it. My heart beat a staccato rhythm in my chest. The wind subsided, and we continued.
The view at the top defied words.
It was a fantastic goodbye to Brunei, and a place that defied belief.
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