I was happy to leave the Cameron Highlands, as it was cold and rainy up there and the hotel was not very welcoming. I could tell my clients did not feel comfortable there and nor did I. We travelled to the Muslim state of Perek and had lunch in a government house – it was hot as the fans didn’t work and the food was a bit dodgy. Before lunch we had a walk through a small settlement and saw typical Malay houses on stilts with a very grand mosque in the background.
Our destination was the Belum Rain Forest. I have visited the Borneo Rain Forest several times and always found it very exciting – the density of the forest, the sheer size of the trees and the noises are incredible. The lodge in the Borneo Rain Forest is 3 hours by jeep from civilisation and a great experience. I was expecting something similar today and was disappointed. Luckily, none of the clients have experienced another Rain Forest so have nothing to compare it with. Our hotel is right next to a main road. The rooms are nice enough and the restaurant is kind of open plan and there are all sorts of weird and wonderful bugs and insects flying around. A couple of years ago this would have really bothered me and I would have been very jumpy, but after all my travels, I am getting over my fear of insects and even spiders. I could tell that some of the clients did not feel comfortable in this environment – luckily we are not in the Borneo rain forest, where the insects are bigger and even more numerous.
I am worried about tomorrow’s programme, which involves a boat trip on the lake, a visit to see the Orang Astli tribes and some trekking in the jungle. Most of my clients are quite old and not too good at walking even on normal terrain. Paul and I have been trying all day to put them off doing the full programme but so far only 3 clients have opted to skip the trekking.