Stuck in the Jungle Baby...


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Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang
March 27th 2014
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -7.83075, 112.697

Stuck in the jungle Baby... yep that's me. Bukit Lawang has been incredible not only for the jungle and orangutans... the people, the villages, the cultures, the scenery, the mountains, the rivers, the flowers and fruits, the many animals, there's so much to see, do and get involved in that I've found myself staying much longer than I anticipated but it's all part of the adventure.

I love being involved in local culture and love the fact that I'm invited everywhere with the friends I have made here. I'm not shy to explore and the be out in villages in the middle of nowhere on my own, normally via a motorbike that I've borrowed... all part of the fun. The shouts of 'bouley, bouley' go up to mark my arrival which basically means white tourist, they feel it's lucky to see us and I always return the waves and shouts which they appreciate.

I travel on local 'bekack' or minivan type buses always to the delight of the locals... one group of Muslim girls were in fits of giggles seeing me as they borded, and they all seem fascinated with my nose of all things because it's more narrow than theirs,
and they love the freckles too, I've had young kids trying to pick them off for me which is funny, they've no idea what they are! Just as well I've not got a complex with the amount of laughs I create.

There are some fabulous local rivers and I been delighted at being taken out on the back of the motorbike, crossing scary shaking bridges is not for the faint hearted, or riding on non existent paths at speed! The rivers are clear and the water warm although the local Bahorok River, the locals say that once you've been in, you'll never leave Bukit Lawang... well I'm struggling to leave already. I've renamed Hotel California, the Hotel Bukit Lawang... 'you can check out any time you like... but you can never leave'.

Some of the local villages really do exist on nothing, there are very poor people here and it's heartbreaking wandering round and yet they're happy, spirited, talented people I really have fallen for them. I love the local market every Friday which has fruit, vegetables, clothes, tools, all sorts really and experience the local people and their ways, I can sit in the local cafe with the men just chatting, I just feel so privileged to be on this level to experience them. Everyone here seems to play guitars or drums and they all have fantastic singing voices, I really enjoy the local Batak music which is sung wholly from the heart. I even spent one afternoon with a few of the boys on a mat in front of my GH sitting playing music and singing which was great fun.

I ended up heading out trekking once more, this time for a two day adventure and I'm so glad that I did. I lost count of the amount of orang utans I saw, I would estimate 23-26 which included an encounter with the scary 'Mina'. She was part raised by humans and shows no fear, she's apparently attacked a few tourists but I trust my guides and their knowledge of how to deal with her. She is the only orang utan they will feed to keep her at bay, she tries also to steal back packs as she knows there's normally food inside but the guides keep us safe.

It was a tough trek through the jungle, steep ups and downs and proves tiring day, I was with a group of another seven tourists who were also trekking for two days, and on arrival at our camp we all washed the days dirt off in the river before dinner was served. All the guides look after us and are fun company, our dinner was chicken, fish, vegetables, curries, rice, fruits you name it and was appreciated after our day.

I ended up sitting by the river in the evening, chillin' having a been and watching the Hotel Starlight as the guides called it with the night sky above bursting with stars and I enjoyed all the firefly's darting around. After a restful nights sleep we headed off trekking again in the morning to the waterfall although I made the wrong decision taking flip flops so actually ended up just walking in the jungle barefoot over really steep climbs and descents but absolutely loved it, I can truly say I have experienced the jungle!

After our trekking we went back to camp and lunch before heading off rafting down the river and back to the village. Although the river is quite low just now it was a fun experience and I was relieved not to be trekking back out. You get a completely different perspective from the river as we floated down taking it easy, the guides were doing all the work and they're fun to watch, they obviously love their job. Once safely back we all arranged to meet in the evening and it proved to be another night of singing and dancing, they really know how to entertain you.

To repay some of their kindness I organised a BBQ down by the riverside of chicken and vegetables and of course sambal which is the staple diet here, it's hot hot hot, they have it with everything and I'm glad I can eat really spices food (Sri Lanka sorted that for me) and join in with their culture! Three or four of the boys made the BBQ up and did all the cooking and I have to say it was delicious, they're must have been around 12 of us sitting in the Jungle Border which is literally just that, a guest house at the border of the jungle. We sang and celebrated and had a fun night which seems to be a regular occurrence, I'm having fun 😊

The same guys all invited me swimming the next night, they built a fire on the rocks of the river and all dived in for their 'bath'... the soap up and scub away then dive in to wash it off, they have fun and pretty much are all just wearing their underpants. Discretion on my part I waited until they were finished before heading in with my sarong, I wouldn't want to scare anyone by showing anything further ha ha!

All in all I love Bukit Lawang, I love the monkeys waking me in the morning on the roof and paying around, it really is a one off experience... and will I ever leave? Well not if the locals have their way, they'd have me married off and staying putt! Only this morning I was asked why not stay one/two years, buy some land, build a house, live in Bukit Lawang... I really do feel honored, it's hard leaving the place and people I've made friends with, I've found another home from home.



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