Monday, December 28, 2009

Brief Update from Long Lamai

Day One.

We arrived Long Banga after our short 55mins flights on the dwarfish Twin Otter De Havilland, there were 8 other passengers on the plane with us. They are all Penan coming for the holidays. The boys all sported dark glasses and red Mohican coiffure.

We took a boat from Long Banga to Long Lamai, almost two hours of clear gurgling mountain streams ... first downstream and then upstream to Long Lamai proper. Due to the shallow water level in both rivers our Penan boatman, Wilson had to get out and pushed from behind.

At Long Lamai we put up at Penghulu Wilson Bedian Bare's house. Basic but clean and hospitable. On arrival we were introduced to several village elders and James Kesok, the man we came to see. James fondly recounted their adventures to Tokong Payah during the Bajawi mini expedition. Conveyed his warmest regards to Tony and Rabani.

A short walkabout around the village, we shook hands with almost everyone who came out to see us. Fruiting trees are all around the settlement, there was free flow of langsat and mata kuching all around!

That evening we treated ourselves to a long and cool dip in the nearby river together with several Penan kids who were intent on showing us the right way to do it. How refreshing!

Day Two

We attended church service in Penan in the next morning. Earlier in the morning we were woken up by a sorrowful hymn in both Malay and Penan around 0500hrs.

A maggie curry breakfast.

In the afternoon we attempted Long Puak trek but ended up halfway on the Long Banga trail instead.

A simple lunch of fried brinjal and eggsoup.

A hot afternoon nap. Being Sunday, everyone's at Wilson's house expecting and receiving calls. apparently the Penghulu's is the only house with a sat phone.

Met up with Ken who was one of the young boys who chaperoned Tony and Rabani in our October mini expedition to Ba Jawi. Ken sends his warmest regards to both Tony and Rabani.

An early nite after a simple meal of maggie-curried vegetable and egg soup. Lullabied by an Akon's and traditional sape mix.

Day Three

A maggie curry breakfast.

A short but insightful chat with James.

Another attempt to trek Long Puak. This time we got the trail right ... after getting to the end of the trail we doubted ourselves and backtracked several times. Apparent we were right the first time, just that we couldnt werent able to find ourselves the right path to Long Puak. We could already see the zinc rooftop of the longhouse.

Lessons learnt: use a local guide always. Long Lamai is not a national park, none of the trails were marked. The Long Puak trail is crissed-crossed with many other trails leading to all sorts of places we didn't want to go to. The locals are well versed with each and every trail, we obviously not.

Simple lunch of rice, paku and river fish.

Email, blog and FB at e-Lamai.

Continues ...

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