The jungle is my type of environment. It is looking so humble and peaceful when you take you first steps under the canopy, but deep down every third plant, animal or situation is trying to drag you underground. With every step you take, you have to double check what are you grabbing to help you get up those muddy tracks. And jungle mud is something different. If it sticks, it sticks.
Every day you wake up to new sounds coming from on top or under your balcony. Are they macaques bullying around trying to steal fruit that the host has gathered or massive male orangutans letting others know that they own this area. And if you haven´t heard the chirping of jungle grasshoppers and other insects, well, this is a concert that is hard to forget.
I had the chance to stay in a completely remote guesthouse about 20 minutes from the main village towards the jungle. No other tourists, no wifi and electricity was run from 6 pm to 10 pm by a generator. Now this is the kind of stuff that makes me happy. This is what travelling is all about. Ordering a smoothie during lunch seemed a bit harsch, because they had to start the generator just to use a blender.
Nearby was the little jungle village Bukit Lawang. Mainly meant for tourist, the place did not look too appealing, although it is located in a pretty lovely spot just on the edge of the national jungle park. Although a touristy place, it had some cool facilities around the village. One of them was definitely a bar located in a cave like mountain underpass. Local businessmen have built private bridges over the river, asking 2000 – 4000 rupiah per crossing. Its a bit weird of a business plan, if you consider that free local bridges are literally next to them. The river that flows through the village has caused some trouble over the years, as floodwaters come down the mountains carrying mud and massive trees during longer rainpours. And when it pours in the jungle, it really does pour.
For me the highlight of the trip was seeing orangutans in their natural habitat. The trek through the jungle was one of the hardest physical things I have ever done. With no air to breathe and 400m high mudwalls to climb, I felt like dying at some point. I am not the fittest person nor am I a couch potato, but this was a real challenge. If you get on higher ground, you start feeling some occasional breezes which feel like they are god sent. after a 5 minute break and half a bottle of water I felt refreshed again to only experience all of the above once again. Until be saw something brown in the trees in the distance. There they were. The magnificent humans of the woods.
Fun facts: Orangutans eat meat when there is a shortage of fruit. And most of the cats in Indonesia are born without tails.