Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Trip Highlights

This morning, I learnt through PERHILITAN's (Dept. of Wildlife and National Parks) page that Taman Negara is flooded. When I left on Saturday, the water level was much lower than the time I arrived, and the sun was shining so beautifully. I thought it wouldn't get any worse. This photo was taken this morning:

Kuala Tahan. Photo: Jabatan PERHILITAN Semenanjung Malaysia

Seri Mutiara Restaurant. Photo: Jabatan PERHILITAN Semenanjung Malaysia

I believe the water level just broke 1971's record.

Alhamdulillah, I'm thankful that I was given the opportunity to be there, to see better weather each day, to be in the sun and to be rejuvenated. I believe this second trip bore a deeper appreciation, love, admiration - not just for the rainforest - but also for the people who are working to keep the rainforest alive, and those who teach people about the rainforest and exude so much passion.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, this trip felt like a first - so much wonder, so much magic! The rainforest, even in this monsoon season, was teeming with vibrant life! The song of cicadas was deafening... the loud calling of frogs... the deep and reverberating laugh of a hornbill... sounds, sounds, sounds everywhere!

My eyes, too, feasted upon so much life. I saw a slow loris, palm civets, kingfishers, magpie-robins, and a pair of owls (yes, I did!) during a night drive. I beheld the beauty of a Blue Malayan Coral snake that slithered under the boardwalk, an adult Malayan tarantula with its young ones, a black scorpion in its nest, low-ground bulbuls sleeping in bushes as if not breathing, an atlas moth the size of my two hands, stick insects, thick milipedes 30cm long, geckos and lizards of many kinds (I had a huge long black gecko in my room), forest ants that are two inches long, a lone firefly that sparkled so brightly like a star...

But the highlights? It was the time when I had a night walk with my guide, Mr. Sabri. He has been living in Jerantut throughout his life and it seems he is one with the rainforest. More than observant, he is intuitive of the wildlife around him. I remember the time when he asked the company to turn off our torchlights and to look carefully at the forest litter. We didn't see anything. He turned on his light, overturned a huge leaf, and there - a tiny glow worm! And another time, he mentioned, "I smell a snake" and, after a quick flash of light, he found a green tree snake (not sure what species) resting! I'm still awestruck by his intuition.

Blue Malayan Coral snake.
Squirrel, what species? It was LOUD.

Tree trunk torn apart by a sun bear. See claw marks.

More claw marks. Whatever created this must be really huge.
A pair of barn owls. Lovely sight.
Pink cup mushrooms. Hairy little things.

I'm not sure what spider this is, but you DO NOT want this to land on yer face.
Spot the tree kingfisher. Beautiful, vibrantly hued blue. Is it a white-throated kingfisher?

I had a nice closure to the trip - I took a morning walk, and picked up plastic litter. I hope to find ways to gain more knowledge about the rainforest and wildlife, the politics that would kill or support it, and find people - teachers, guides - who are out there inculcating love for nature and what it provides in the hearts of many.

I hope for the safety of the people and of the wildlife. I'm thinking of the tapir that often roams around at night... I hope he is safe. 

This tree radiates with good, loving energy.

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