Just another day in the jungle

Day XI – March 29

I wake up at 6am in my little penthouse – I got the one bed upstairs, on the tiny platform just above the roof, and I’m not even going to attempt a description of what it felt like when I opened my net. It was a little lonely up there though, and the smell of coffee was luring me downstairs, where together we sat at the railing, holding our breath as not to disturb anyone out there, taking in the wonder of just another day in the jungle.

At 7am it starts, suddenly, and so loud!
Dett told us a little bit about the Gibbons and their way of life, last night. How they live in families of 5 to 8, and that there are about 4 families in the area, so we’re bound to see and hear at least one, during their active hour, early in the day.
But when they actually do start singing this morning it sounds like there’re more than 30 of them! And it sounds nothing like you’d expect of monkeys. We all sit, captured by this wall of noise, focusing on the trees ahead, trying to spot any movement.
As suddenly as it begun it’s over just 5 minutes later.
Only after that is it that we see the trees swinging. They‘re too far to actually make them out, but it’s still exhilarating to know they’re there!

A short while later our breakfast is zipped in; about the same as we had for dinner last night; a big basket of rice, some omelets, a pan of tomato-peanut mash and two pans of different cabbage stews.
As soon as we have that down we put our harnasses back on and zip out for a morning swing and some heavy hiking as the sun steadily climbs over the hills.
Oh jungle how I love you so. You wear me out until every pore drips with sweat, my lungs are about to cave in and just at the point where I think I can’t take one more step up, I see a flat bit up ahead where I can level, where I can breathe your pure air and vicinity and all pain is forgiven and forgotten.

We do the full round today, zip the longest and highest and scariest of the 17 lines that are included in the Classic Experience – in total there are 25 lines, Waterfall Experience just uses 11 – and go all the way to the end where there is a treehouse that is entirely in the open and which you enter and leave through the window. Going in is not very different or especially scary exciting compared to the rest, but the drop out; just letting yourself glide out with a 50m freefall at your feet; this one is definitely unique.
Treehouse n°4 has a really nice view as well. We’re all staring ahead at the vastness of a megacosm we couldn’t have imagined before, when Dett points out what is right in front of us; it’s camouflage working perfectly so we didn’t even notice it in that tree no meter away from us, a bright green rattail snake slithers along. It didn’t notice us – or doesn’t care, and just keeps on moving tardily through the tree, making it’s way up to the roof.
We get a while to catch our breath and digest our lunch before we set out again. I’m feeling comfortable enough to bring my camera this time and will make a brave attempt at visualizing this intense experience. No promises they’ll be better shots than the ones that are already on youtube though.*

We spend our night sitting around the table playing this really fun cardgame golf and chatting.
Dett comes over again – guides stay in a different accommodation than the participants – and this time even brings a few friends who want to practice their English. They’re a bit to shy to actually talk to us, especially to the girls.
Dett more than makes up for them and tells us all sorts of stories, like the one of how he got lost in Thailand for two years, and the horrors of bandits beheading inocent travelers in the night by spanning a rope over the road, and about his tribe and his mums tribe and his dads tribe and how he speaks 15 (!) different languages – just a few sentences in most though. Eitherway, again a man who loves to play silly little jokes on us.
We’re having so much fun we don’t even notice the clock striking midnight before we go to bed.

* And I might say I failed. My cam’s too big to handle swifly enough when swinging from a cable. You’ll just have to go see for yourself… I still didn’t get around to editing

[this was day two of the amazing Gibbon Classic Experience, expensive at €220 for 3 days and 2 nights. But after careful consideration (believe me, I’ve had the question if it’s worth it asked so often, I am absolutely sure) I do have to recommand it to anyone who has the opportunity!]

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