Thursday, 5 November 2009

Temburong: Getting to the Belalong Field Studies Centre

We were so glad that N, who had fallen out of the bus and twisted his ankle, could walk again. The initial wave of immense pain might have made the injury looked more serious than it really was. We carried our bags and arrived at the Outward Bound Brunei Darussalam Batang Duri Camp jetty where we got on on the temuai (longboat) to get to the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre (KBFSC).

Earlier, during the boatride from BSB to Bangar, there was a young family of three from Guangzhou, China who had organised an independent trip to Temburong. It was delightful to watch how fascinated they were as the boat's windows began to fall towards the brown river water when the boat tilted about 30 degrees to slide along the water smoothly. The little girl was shouting to her dad with amazement of some crocodiles she saw along the river banks.

I had taken the opportunity of the trip to do some leisure reading and had with me Khaled Hosseini's second book (His first book was The Kite Runner - a good read), A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I intently ploughed into throughout the trip. While the trip itself has taken me away from my world, I found myself dipping in between the nature world of Temburong and the beautiful yet chaotic, war-torn world of Kabul.

As we set ourselves on the temuai, my excitement was growing. I had some thoughts about work and decided to throw reality away for a while and installed myself with a new found sense of a retreat. There won't be any cellular signals as we were wafted deeper into the forest. I like the thought of that; living in a jungle retreat where no cars can reach and you have only your animal instinct to rely on when lost.

Outward Bound Brunei Darussalam Batang Duri Camp jetty

Arrival of the temuais. These guys are super skilled. The guy at the engine knew which side of the river to channel along, supported by the guy with the stick who would guide the boat when it got thrown off course by the rapids.

Outward Bound Operation Centre. The one earlier at the jetty is the Logistics Centre.

Meandering rivers with rapids and stony banks

Crimson wild ixoras among the green forest

A hole in the forest. It seemed that some deforestation work is being carried out. The result looks like a gateway into some strange world with the help of grand orchestra songs like Christopher Field's Gothic Power from LOTR Trailer playing in my head.

The Ulu Temburong National Park

We were playing by the river when we had unloaded our bags in our rooms. There were stones of many colours and formation. And, more big, white quartz stones like the ones I saw in Tibet!

Both N and I were so amazed by the many butterflies we saw! And, they are of different colours too. We went as still as the log here in many attempts to take pictures of them. They kept fluttering around and made brief landings on random rocks or plants.

This is my best attempt after many. There were also tinier butterflies of purple, yellow and orange that fly with these bunch.

I like this stone because it looked like an ancient tool. As rocks are formed in layers, we can see different rock formations within this stone.

Beautiful clear waters and evergreen forest. We took off our socks and walked around in the river. The water is so cold! I was gleefully walking on stones, fascinated to see my feet among them as I scavenged around for more interesting-looking stones. And, what interesting stones I found, I referred some to DrT, our material expert, for more information.

A KBFSC mission statement board in the dining room

Durians hanging on the trees! Reminded me of those times when I was little, my parents would go out in the night to pick durians at an empty land plot next to our old house where many durian trees grew. The fact that they were doing this at night might suggest theft?

A signboard at the Ulu Temburong National Park before we ascended to the Canopy Walk

No comments: