Sitting in the middle in the backseat of a truck isn’t comfortable on a normal drive but when hurtling along on a winding jungle road as our guide tells about how two days ago a group of elephants tried to break into the truck it makes for an interesting introduction to the jungle.
Five minutes after we arrived at the dorms at the Endau Rompin national park headquarters Kenny our local guide drove up and threw a few inner tubes on the ground. I hadn’t read the itinerary so it was a bit of a surprise that was to be the first activity of the three days in the jungle. The water was warm and before long Kenny was pointing out monkeys as we drifted along the river. Kenny had been a jungle guide for years, he went into the jungle for one of the seasons of the TV show Survivor. Kenny seemed to have a lot going on for him, he had his own brand of perfume that he made from a local tree, he had a wife in the village over, two kids, a dog named “come here” and a monkey named Abu.
By the time lunch came around it felt like a full day, by the time two more days had past we had seen leeches walking up our legs, elephants, a jungle cat the size of a big house cat, mouse deer, a cobra, and innumerable small critters. I kind of expected the jungle to be full of crazy animals and plants but even so I was blown away by the diversity.
After three days in the jungle my awareness felt so clear, It was like having a wider field of vision. In the jungle I had constantly searched with all my senses for snakes by my feet, leeches crawling up my shoes, monkeys overhead, tapirs or leopards around me. I didn’t have the same pre-existing patterns to help it be easier to know what to pay attention to, so I tried to be aware of everything at once. It made the previously chaotic town seem calm after having the jungle surrounding me. I can’t wait for my next foray into the jungle.