Sunday, 22 March 2009

Loop II

Our special guest writer for this entry is the lovely Hazel Hooper, PM for the project in the Imbak Canyon for the Phases 1 and 3, and logistician in Phase 2. Recently, Hazel and three others went on Loop 2, and here is her account of their journey to Alphas 2, 3 and 4. 


The Loop troupe waving the Fieldbase girls goodbye. It was very early in the morning, the girls hadn't even gotten out of their pajamas yet.

Bright and early on Monday morning four intrepid loopsters left Fieldbase for the wilds of Sabah.  Mac, Steph, Val and myself had accepted the challenge of visiting three of the four static Raleigh project sites, bringing post, news, vegetables, birthday cake, the shop, and hopefully a small ray of sunshine into the days of the venturers and project staff at Kg Tampasak, Imbak Canyon and Batuh Puteh.  Accompanying us on the first leg of our journey was a special and very welcome guest star in the form of Lela from Alpha 2 – returning to the bosom of her project buddies after a spell in Fieldbase.

Our first challenge – to conquer the “roads” up to Kg Tampasak.  After many hours of bouncing around in the back of the Bravo; overcoming steep hills, muddy hills, hills with big rocks hidden in the mud, holes in the road and stuck lorries, we finally arrived in the beautiful village of Tampasak to a joyous welcome, a rainbow and banners welcoming their missing team mate back to the fold.

Stuck lorries, the rainbow at Tampasak, Alpha 2's house, the gang welcoming Lela back,  and Lizzy and Val in the stream

After a very refreshing dip in the local stream and this PM’s first real close encounter with a static site longdrop (we’ve got toilets at Imbak!!), Daisy and Lizzy cooked up an absolute storm for us – the pancakes with chocolate sauce a particular favourite, and then it was off to bed to enjoy(?) the all night hard-house music and ceremonial singing from the house opposite to celebrate a wedding in the village (along with the very loud snoring of 2 of the loop members who shall remain nameless!).

The next day dawned bright and clear and it was back in our trusty Bravo and off to Imbak Canyon.  We had a very special errand here – to bring a birthday cake to PM Lorna Fox – it had thus far survived the journey to Tampasak and the equally rough terrain up to Imbak, and now only needed to be trekked in from Ranger Camp to BBC Camp.  Waiting to help us with this mission (and trekking in with the shop and their fresh supplies) were PM Ben, Harry and Tom from Alpha 3.  After Ben’s assurances that the new trail established by Alpha 3’s phase 2 work was easier than the old one (hhhmmmmm – not quite true, Ben!), we set off on the final stint to BBC Camp, spotting gibbons, flying lizard and iguana en route, and arriving to the “woop, woop!” gibbon cries of Alpha 3 on the completed steps at the worksite.

Alpha 3 PMs Hazel, Ben and Lorna

After tails of falling trees, heavy rainfall and some seriously dodgy hairstyling – day leader Ann-Fleur and her trusty assistants treated us to some fantastic food, and the group got down to their T-shirt designs, inspired by the unique flora and fauna found in their jungle home.  A rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” then heralded the arrival of the intact and delicious birthday cake for the lovely Lorna and Alpha 3 agreed it was the best cake they’d ever tasted.  We went to bed to the chorus of the cicadas and under the watchful eyes of the resident civet cats.

In the boat on the way to the eco-lodge, the boat ride, proboscis monkeys, the oxbow lake and Alpha 4 in Kampung Mengaris

Another early start got us back on the road and underway to Alpha 4 in Batuh Puteh.  On arrival, we quickly found them hard at work moving the rocks needed for building the reed bed up at the Eco Lodge – this is essential for filtering the waste water for the guest accommodation at this beautiful site.  The loop members enjoyed a fantastic evening’s river cruise and trees dripping with Long Tailed Macaques, Silver Langur and Probuscus monkeys.  Our evening’s bed and board were provided by the lovely hosts of the Batuh Puteh homestays – fantastic food and comfortable beds (as well as a real bathroom!), before spending another entertaining evening under the star-studded skies of Batuh Puteh with Alpha 4.

It was with a heavy heart (although very full stomachs courtesy of our wonderful homestay hosts) that the members of the Loop set off back to Fieldbase the next day.

As Gordon Ramsay would say “Loop 2, done!”



karim said...

Hi tash
Hows you? Not much news here I'm afraid. Last few weeks on clinic, then to LW, lots of night duty coming up, hugh. Need to get book sorted quickly, meeting Loulou (proofreader)in London on 16th April, fingers crossed. Can't wait to be able to speak to you.
Lots of Love

Roslyn.Ruslan.Rahman said...

Being home after one month in Raleigh is weird.


Stephanie said...

(ALPHA 2) Liz!!!!!!
heyy girl!!
Sorry its been soo long since ive wrote to you but i just got back from hawaii last night!!! and im currently in maucks room visiting!!! =) i missss youu!!!!! you have less than a month left!!!! how crazy is that!? times flown by soo fast!! I cant wait to seee you in a little over a month!! I cant tell.. but is that you squating in the river?? haha sounds like your having loads more fun!! Kenzie Jordan and Megan are currently in California staying at Jordans grandpas house for the week, for their spring break!! Im headed back to pullman today =( I have soo much stuff for school to do coming up!! blahh! I assume you havent found an internet cafe lately?? lol i hope all is well though! i caught up on all the posts since ive been gone! ohh soo mauck is dancing at the assembly this friday.. and shes dancing the original all the single ladies dance with four other teachers (Watterson, Doran, Johnson, Northup)! hahaha oh how i wish we could be there to watch! I thought you might get a laugh out of that! Ill have to tell her to get it videotaped!! =) Im soooo excited for summer and its coming up soo sooon!!!! just come home alreadyyy! hehe alright wellllll i hope you are doing amazing! and hope you havent gotten anymore leech bites... those things look really painful!! I LOVE YOU AND I MISS YOUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Steph

Anonymous said...

Hey Daisy!!! (Alpha 2)
How's it going???? the pic's are looking good! is the weather being nice to you?
I miss you! I'm off skiing on the 4th April for a week (yes over my bday!)... when do you come back i want to hear all about it!?
I hope you're all getting on well and the young people are loving it too!
All's ok in sunny wsm... Jacob is proper cute and walking/running/toddling about! he's grown soooo much you'll be amazed!
I will hopefully be moving into a bigger place with my friend Donna so you will have to come visit us when you're back and have time!
As you know Ju and Jon are expecting another baby! wow! i think she's 14/15 weeks... 20 week scan soon where we'll find out the sex!
Best do some work! (10am)
Love you lots xxxx

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear the rocks are being shifted. Hope it really is as beautiful as it sounds and you dont have as much mud as the other camps. Dom is home writing his dissertion and teaching Gregs computer games, Alexei is off on Gold DofE today - 3 nights forecast rain and snow, Maksim did his Bronze last weekend - mild and sunny. Gregory will stay with Grandma this weekend. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!Love Dad

Frederica Lenger said...

Hi Nikolai:
Happy Belated Birthday!! I just found out from your Dad what you're up to - you get the prize for finding unusual occupations! I did send you an e-card last week so when you get back to "civilization" you'll see it. Come and stay with us on your way (?!) back to London from Australia - fly direct to Kona if possible, otherwise to Honolulu then short flight to Kona. Watch out for crocodiles and cuddle some orangutans for me...

the-elliotts said...

Hi Rose,
Well Easter hols at last, it's been along term and I'm ready for a break - the children are all too, they've been flagging this week and it's been pointless teaching them. Daddy and I are off to Liverpool tomorrow to see U John and co then home again on tues. A Anne will still be at work as Liverpool dont finish till next week. Dad had a good birthday, J&N, J&N, J&D came for supper and Steve was home so it was fun. We'll celebrate again when you are home. Al's actually applied for a job but probably along with hundreds of others, but we shall see and keep fingers crossed. Hope the weather is finally being kind to you and your last phase going well, cant wait to hear all the news. Make the most of the last couple of weeks. Speak soon. tons of love and hugs. Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx