Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Unwinding in Tioman Island (4)

Trekking In The Rainforest

We reluctantly signed up for the two hour trek to imbibe a little knowledge of tropical flora and fauna. There was a slight drizzle the next morning, and Huat Sheng gleefully announced that the trek was off. However, the ever obliging waiter who had arranged it previously, ran to us and assured us that the drizzle would not hold. And true enough it stopped as soon as it came. Having been betrayed by the drizzle, Huat Sheng became a reluctant participant. But the real reason
for signing up was to force ourselves to get off our arses and to do something physical so that we had a reason to consume more duty-free Heineken beer.

The path of the forest that we took was well trodden, evidence of the many trips made by first-timers eager to see what a rainforest looks like. On the edge of the forest are cotton trees and the common durian tree, the lime tree and the curry plant. We of course were more concerned about mosquitoes than what a curry leaf or durian tree looks like. However, we did discover to our astonishment that certain plants that we have previously thought of as weeds have their uses.

At certain parts of the trek, the track became slippery, and Huat Sheng, wearing only sandals found it hard to keep a firm grip on the slippery path and slopes, but he is without doubt a stronger specimen, having to work daily in his oil palm plantation. I was more concerned with whether my trembling legs, weak from climbing over rotting tree trunks and scaling slippery slopes, would hold out. Noticing my unsteady legs, John had a good laugh at my expense.

Our guide, Salam

The cotton tree


The leaves of this plant are used as an antiseptic

The leaves are crushed to produce a juice that is applied to cuts and wounds in the jungle

This plant is commonly found in secondary jungles and on land left unattended. However, it serves a useful purpose

Mixed with a little water, the leaves are crushed to produce a thick foam which is used as a cleaning agent. A natural liquid soap in the forest

Listening to Salam as he enthusiastically explains things found in the forest

Climbing up a steep, slippery slope with the help of a knotted rope

An ants' nest

Rattan that is used to make rattan furniture

Thick, sinewy creeper hanging from an ancient tree

A leaf from the sandpaper tree. It is used to smoothen wood carvings

A chameleon clinging on to a trunk

Close-up of another chameleon

A chameleon clinging onto my hand

The waterfall where we took a breather

John taking a cold shower

At the end of the trek, we spotted a lizard hiding in the grass

A monkey eyeing us inquisitively on our way back from the trek

This is what happened after the trek.

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