Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Loop Mission Accomplished!

With Mini Loop II returning from Alpha 4 yesterday, the Loop Mission to get supplies, equipment and love to Alphas 1, 2, 3 and 4  was accomplished!

Mini Loop I + Main Loop to Alphas 1, 2 and 3

As you know, the loop troop for these two loops consisted of our Country Director Jim, the logs team of Steph and Esme and our special guest from down under, Martin. 

Upon returning and with minutes to spare, Steph and Esme scribbled a quick tale for us all, a rather nice story which was read out to the Alpha groups who could hear us on our 4pm weekly Radio Raleigh last Sunday. So if you please, have yourselves seated comfortably, and if you're from the UK then you'll need your tea as well, and we'll share with you the narration in the next couple of paragraphs!

Before we begin, however, I feel a little vocabulary lesson is necessary for comprehension. 

Satu = One, 
Dua = Two, 
Tiga = Three, 
Empat = Four, 
Lima = Five and 
Enam = Six.     

Ok, enough of suspense, let's begin!

The Loop's Grand Adventure - A Story for Bedtime

Hello Alpha groups, I have a fabulous tale of far off places, fire breathing dragons and daring dos for you. So if you’re sitting comfortably I’ll begin. 

Once upon a time in The Land Below the Wind, four intrepid explorers set off on their quest to visit the lost alpha tribes. Our intrepid explorers were main man Jim, and his fair maidens Esme, the wandering PM looking for her long lost tribe, Martin the vegemite eater from the land down-under and Steph the Raleigh rations improver and pilot of the chariot Bravo. Little did they know the dangers they would face. 

Although Tribe Satu in the kingdom of Rugading had already been discovered, a flying visit was needed to ward off the evil Jap E, fought off by our very own witch doctor Jim. 

Next our explorers set off to find Tribe Dua, on their way encountering Father Christmas at a roti shop in Telupid, who agreed to join in the quest. Off they went down the bumpy, bumpy, bumpy trail but after many grueling hours they were thwarted by a wayward warry of wood. Our dedicated explorers were forced to retreat for the night and were offered shelter by the kindly King Felix of Manaman. Overnight, to the entertainment of the local children, Father Christmas lost his beard and revealed his true identity as Photoman Dave. 

At dawn the next day, the road was still blocked and with the disappointment of not reaching the famous pancakes of Tribe Dua still ringing in their bellies, our fearless five set off to seek out Tribe Tiga. 

The road was to be their biggest challenge yet and they passed many other defeated lorries. Travelling to the sounds of ‘We’re on the Road to Nowhere’, using three different chariots and then their feet, at last Tribe Tiga were found. Initially welcomed, our explorers beat a hasty retreat early the next morning after discovering that the Mafia Lord Ben and his Dutch henchman, Youp, were slowly killing off the villagers. 

Emboldened by their previous day’s success, the explorers set off again to track down the elusive Tribe Dua, the path was long and arduous and many dogs had to be swerved around on the way, but finally Dua was reached. Photoman Dave was left with tribe Dua as a sacrifice to permit safe passage home for our original fieldbase explorers. Disappointed yet again at not having the famous pancakes of tribe Dua, our explorers returned home for showers and food to prepare them for their next quest to find the still lost Tribe Empat (and for a good night’s sleep without Jim’s snoring).

We hope you enjoyed that as much as we enjoyed listening to it on Radio Raleigh! 

On Monday, Mini Loop II headed out, this time with Esme, Mac, Val and me. 

The Mini Loop Troop: Mac, Yo, Esme, Val and Bravo 3

Interlude - We stopped at the famous Gomantong Caves before continuing to Batu Puteh. 
Our 8-hour road trip to Batu Puteh was sectioned with a trip to the Gomantong Caves, a cave system just a half hour's drive away from Alpha 4, where birds' nests (a local health delicacy, expensive and difficult to harvest!) are harvested twice a year. We visited one of the caves, called Simud Hitam. The smell of swiflet and bat-poo reached us before we reached the cave, but once we reached the entrance, Simud Hitam was an assault on all of our other senses.  

The large limestone cave was mostly dark, lit in places where the ceiling had gaps and let the sunlight in. It was dripping all over the place, some drops being water, some drops being bat guano and swiftlet droppings. The air was pungent with the smell from the poo, and when we looked up, careful to keep our mouths shut at the same time, we could see swiflets flying about at the roof of the caves, but only where the light shone. The sight of the falling drops of water against the light was mesmerising, quite like snow in the night under a street lamp. The place echoed with swiftlets' twittering, which let you know that the cave was alive and well.  

The entrance and the ceiling of Gua Gomantong (Gomantong Caves)

There was a wooden path built for visitors, going round the cave and coming back to where you started. We mentally tossed a coin and chose to start on the path to the left.  

That's when my sense of touch was awakened, and my sense of sight was shocked awake. A cockroached scurried across my right foot and I let out a high-pitched girly scream, knowing very well what it was. But when I looked down, the wooden path ahead of us was glittering with the light reflecting off of the backs of hundreds of cockroaches. The handrails were covered in them as well, and so were sections of the cave walls. If you had slipped and fell, not only would these critters be crawling all over you, you will be covered in poo! So we slowly and carefully inched to the other end of the path. 

After a truly thrilling walk around, our cave adventure was over. We buddy checked each other for any uninvited stowaways and headed on to Alpha 4!
Interlude over. 

Alpha Four was in good spirits and good health! When we arrived we were greeted by Robbie and Venda, the two 'housewives' for the day, followed by the trickling in of Alpha 4, who'd just arrive from the Eco-Lodge. They were staying at the goat-shed, which was pretty nice, the goats have been living the life by the looks of it. Also Alpha 4 did a very good job at making it look homely and comfortable! 

We (the Mini Loop Troop) stayed at a home stay, which our guest blogger Val will tell you about in the next post. The venturers at Alpha 4 will have also stayed at a homestay, and will tell you about their own experience (if they get to it...)

And now for some photos! We have here just a few for you but rest assured that once the Photoman Dave is back from his tour of duty, we'll be posting so many photos they'll be coming out of the blogs ears, so hold your horses!

Alpha 1!

Alpha 2 PMs Daisy and Matt, Alpha 2 Venturers

The Alpha 3 PMs, the venturers, the bridge, the river and the waterfall. 

Alpha 4 Goatshed, Alpha 4 at the Sepilok Rehab Centre. 

After visiting the Orang Utan rehab centre, we drove on back towards home, habitually stopping by Telupid for our roti and also picking up Dave who had been in Alpha 2, who we dropped off at Alpha 1 for the last leg of his stint this phase. 

After dropping Dave off at the excited-to-see-us Alpha 1, we then continued on our journey back home, reaching KK just in time to enjoy the stunning sunset. 

More news within the next couple of days, including news from the Alpha groups, tons of photos from our photographer Dave on Thursday / Friday, and the homestay experience described by our very own admin personnel, Val, so watch this space!


André said...

Ivo (alpha 6),
Donderdag 26 februari NEGENTIEN! Van harte gefeliciteerd!
Dit jaar waarschijnlijk geen Bananensplit als toetje.
We zullen een borrel op je verjaardag drinken.

Granny said...

Hi Jamie,

I think you've won the face pulling competition!

You all look as though you are having a wonderful time.

Love Granny (with assistance from uncle Sean!).

jeroendekempenaer said...

Hy Matthijs of Orang Dua

The Orang Dua and you especially are looking quite happy. We are very looking forward to the receipe for your roti kuali.


mandyb said...

Hi Daniel (Alpha 2)
Just got back from celebrating nana's birthday. Will send you the photos + Opi's from Sat.
Had a call from SS last week to offer you 2 ringside seats at the O2 for the UFC! Told him it would be a long way for you to travel back!
Good to see you in the team photo.
Missing you. Lots of love Dad Mum & Booxxx

Anonymous said...

Hai Venessa and alpha 4,
Wah...wah....piwith.... bukan main lagi cici dalam gambar. Nampak happy betul... apalah rasanya tinggal dalam goatshed ci? kecian.... tapi yang penting enjoy kan...

Yesterday 25/2/09 at 7:30 pm Ash Wednesday Mass at Terawi Church mum, dad, virgil and grandma attended. We also pray for you.

Ogumu noh napalajalan nu doino koni? Kaampai noh motu pandai magansak, momupu kain om membelisih hamin? Bah ino noh tavasi.

Take good care youself all the times k. Dont 4get to pray. Miss you so much and wuuuuuumah...lots of kisses. Love from mum.

Anonymous said...

heya jamie

hows it all going? dude it has taken me this long to find out how to send a message to you lol. man you don't even look like you have a tan or that could just be the pic i have seen. hope that your enjoying your trip. better go now as i'm in a lesson lol

talk to you soon mate missing you

Matt xx

tania said...

Andrew (alpha 6)

Hi Scooby, SO great to hear your voice and you survived the trekking. Sounds amazing! Well done. Can't wait to see your pickies and hope you kept a journal?! Love you too much and wish I could just give you a HUGE hug.I'm so proud. More xx

strietman said...

Ha lieve Youp, wat een prachtige verhalen allemaal, en mooie foto's nog een paar dagen en dat ben je op het basiskamp, lekker even douchen enzo, ik spreek je dan, denk aan je,

hou van je XXX mama

Gideon Mendel said...

Hey Zoe(alpha 3)
Hope ya having a great time! thinking of you
and love you looooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddssssssssssssss

Anonymous said...


its Mike! Hope the trek went ok, you've got the hardest bit out of the way thats for sure! After trekking the rest will be seem like a piece of cake! I'll try and get in touch when ur at changeover. hope alls well mate, peace xxx

P.s. If you stop off in Telupid on the way to your next phase get a 'roti cobra', there amazing, trust!

The Ruslans said...

Hi Roslyn! Received your letters - your anecdotes r certainly entertaining us. Some so well written that we could almost see w our own eyes. So don't forget to take lots and lots of pix.

Datuk, Wah and just abt everyone has been asking about u. I think they'd love to hear abt ur adventures too.

karim said...

Hi Tash
Not sure if my messages are reaching you. My last one didn't show up on the blog. hope you are having a great time, we think of you none stop. We all send our love, it's very quiet without you, I keep thinking I have gone deaf!
Love Mum, Dad, Rhia and Dom.

Kay W said...

Hey Lauren!
Half way through now! Hope you're having a great time and can't wait to see you to hear about all your adventures.
Take care,
Love Kay, Andy and Anthony
PS Amanda sends her love too XXXX

the-elliotts said...

hi rose, missin you even more each day!! got your letter through today...bit of a tear jerker really...thanks for that mate!! all positive asa always!! ha!!
im off to new york on fri for just over 2 weeks, im away for my bday...oooohhh, birthday new york style!! dont think we're goin skiin now cos justins grandads really sick so just be hanging out in the city instead!!! so desperate to talk to you and tell you all will be fine.if i can miraculously make enough money to come to oz for a bit then im there no questions asked. plus justins not gonna be home till june now anyway so il have a look into things but dont get your hopes up, unfortunately kido its not like i will be able to make much money in such a short amount of time. there is a possibility i could come meet you in May ,maybe, a bit later on if i can get the funds but that still leaves u by urself for a while longer.
its a bit unrealistic but il do all i can to try work somethin out.
saw the photo of you, standard rose ears out, puffed out cheeks, cross eyed goodness...lookin hot as always!! hope ur bites are lessening...i doubt it highly cos you're just so damn tasty!!...oh cringey line!!
i love you kid, stay strong...relax, and enjoy...we'll all be back together again soon, then we'll be doin it up in B-Town baby!!!
love u so much, al xx

Anonymous said...

Hey Haz - great to hear some news from alpha 2. Hope you had fun on your Birthday or were you still in the tank!! it all sounds good fun. We had your letter today - my was i excited! You descriptions make it sound so beautiful. I can't believe your nearly at the end of the first phase and I am really looking forward to seeing the photos of all your hard work when they are uploaded.
Had a very busy week. We took the kids to Wisley yesterday - very lovely and a fab sunny day, Spring is on its way. We even had a picnic. News of the week - fiN. were played on Radio 1 - how exciting was that.
Leicester have just drawn against the Dons so remain at the top of the table. I won't say to much about Razzle sailing - currently sailing in the Southern Ocean . Got a bit of catching up to do!!!! Everyone sends loads of love. By the way you had loads of messages posted on your facebook for your Birthday. Loved seeing you photo, loved seeing your smile, -glad to see you're wearing your 'longs'. Take loads of care. love, hugs and XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Your MuM

karin lucas said...

Hi Peter (alpha 5)
Hope you're having a great time. Look forward to seeing all the photos and learn what your next project will be. We had Lene, Kaspar & Phillip from Brussels staying with us at the weekend, which was lovely. They were all asking after you. All the boys had a great action-packed weekend and managed to fit in an afternoon at Roehampton Club, followed by bowling and also went go-karting Sunday morning.Dad was in manchester all week and only came back late Saturday, so we were all a bit wasted on Sunday night. Take care - missing you a lot. Lots of love, Mum xx

karin lucas said...

Hi Peter (alpha 5)
You may get this message twice; I had some problems sending it. Hope you're having a great time. Can't wait to see photos and update from your trek. We had Lene, Kaspar & Phillip from Brussels staying for the weekend. They were all asking after you. The boys had an action -packed weekend and managed to fit in an afternoon at Roehampton Club, followed by bowling and went go-karting on Sunday morning.Lene and I had lunch in Barnes and also went up to Wimbledon Village for some shopping and a drink. Dad only came back from Manchester late Saturday, having been up there all week, so we were all a bit wasted by Sunday evening. Thinking of you a lot & missing you - the house is strangely tidy these days !! Lots of love, Mum xx

grandad o said...

Hi James ( Alpha 4)looking forward to seeing you back at base, Leicester had a good but close win over London Irish. I was lucky enough to miss the 2nd half of England / Ireland. We were at E Leake again yesterday and they were all in good form, including Josh. Grandma thinks he looks more like you these days, not quite as tall but making progress.
Regards Grandad / Grandma

Fiona Crosbie said...

Hey Clare miss you everyday and hope you having a great time. We are just waiting for yet more snow so you are definately in a better place.Shona met Ruth the other evening -she has written to you.Stu was a bit under par but is better since he started to eat more pasta!needs to go and live in Italy Love from M,S AND P

Jill and Alan said...

Hi Frances (Alpha 2). Great to see the pictures and get a sense of what you're up to. Can't wait to hear all about the trip when you pass through London - your mum and dad will stay in touch with us about when that will be. Have fun and stay dry.
Love Jill and Alan

rosie j elliot said...

Hi Rosie Elliott

Your mum tells me you are having the time of your life!!!You are inspiring Andrew Sarah and Adam. They really fancy doing something like this !!!It will be St. Patricks Day Tomorrow so we wish all the Luck of the Irish in all that you do! Lets face it --it beats child minding !!!Best wishes take care and have FUN
The Murphys

melissam-h said...

Hia Robbie darling - think you're diving now and judging by the photos I've seen you look as though you're having a fab time. Have written quite a bit on facebook for when you get to it (one day!), but we're all thinking of you constantly. The sun is finally out here and spring has arrived. Hooray - lots of daffs and those 400 bulbs i planted last year are beginning to sprout. Stay safe and have fun. Hugs and kisses too ma xxx