Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Down in the Jungle...

...people, particularly the obruni, are aliens.

Our 20km trek through the rainforest of Ankasa in the Western Region felt like running two marathons. The heat and humidity makes every step a gargantuan effort. The cacophany of noise is at first raw, exciting and awe-inspiring, setting the senses on high alert. Gradually the relentless noise, and dense, living, breathing greenery that the human eye cannot penetrate, is disorientating. Ultimately the feeling of being totally out of your depth is a constant

Of course, in classic Mulholland-Adams fashion, we had not waited around for the guide who was late (we could have missed seeing the monkeys at dawn after all) and had set off into this foreign environment alone.

Armies of red and black ants form motorways of unstoppable movement across the track. Spiders form giant web traps across the path. Dozens of species of stunning butterfly float inquisitively alongside.
Giant dragonfly swoop backwards and forwards, seemingly without purpose unless hovering to collect water from brown puddles. Lizards scuttle away from your feet.
Monkeys call out to each other and stay just out of sight while smashing through tree branches. Crazed, taunting bird calls echo through the wilderness (See Useful Link to Mulholland Tube videos (right)). A 3ft green snake spots us and slithers across our path and out of sight into the undergrowth. I heroically jump in front of Lucy and scream SH - I - I - I - T as an unidentified beast (probably a huge panther) makes it's noisy getaway.

The seven hour journey is broken by a packed lunch at a village of one hut. With one adult and a child. Following Lucy's impression of an elephant eating bamboo, they lead gracefully to the only place of rest from this exhausting assault on the senses. The dense undergrowth makes way for a magnificent bamboo cathedral.
Space, silence and stillness. It feels like reaching an oasis in the desert, or some sort of Eden. It looks like the land of the giants. We can almost see the forest elephants that come here to eat for three months of the year.


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