Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tales of Long Pasia with Jungle Julian

A special report from Alpha 6 who had limited appearances on the blog during phase one due to their far away location. Here are long awaited stories from Alpha 6’s two weeks with the king of the jungle....from phase 1 Alpha 6’s Project Manager, Julian:

“I’m sorry for you guys, I no speak English. I no go to school, I go to school of Jungle...”

This is familiar banter to the members of Alpha 6 in phase one as Nooh our jungle guide was ever keen to express his linguistic limitations. However, it’s amazing how much you understand when your primary contact deep in the jungle of Long Pa Sia wears a 15 inch long parang around his waist, is heavily tattooed on torso and arms with crudely drawn monotone images of mythical jungle spirits and wears a necklace made of tiger teeth. Maybe you still don’t understand, but at the very least you try incredibly hard to make him think you have.

So it was that for 12 days our intrepid band of explorers trusted Nooh and his awesomely skilled pair of porters to guide us through the unforgiving terrain in the far south of Borneo near the Indonesian border. Their commitment to our safety was unquestionable, many times putting their bodies on the line to help us cross rivers, rope up and down treacherously slippery slopes, rid our path of snakes and scale fire-ant infested trees to get the plumb weight for our di-pole back. Always smiling and cheery, they wore jeans tucked into football socks, smoked constantly and used backpacks made of bamboo and old flip flops fastened together with vines. These guys never stopped and when they weren’t busy looking after us they were industriously producing and festooning us with an impressive array of jungle bling.

As we forged on through the hostile entangled wilderness we were assaulted by leeches, mosquitos, bees and wasps, rattan vines clawed at our skin, colossal packs bent our backs and hunger ravaged our stomachs. We were driven on by the promise of a virgin camp, an accommodating pair of trees between which to hang our bed for the night, a fire, some hot food, to bathe in a new river and if we were lucky, to be engulfed in the cleansing rain – which was awesome, unless you were hanging your clothes out in the vain hope that one day something may dry.

After a number of days we arrived at the blissful heaven that is Maga Falls; a glorious wide river delta, which is overlooked by 2 large huts, a dining area and a covered fire place. We crossed the river and set up camp for what would be the two most glorious days of our phase. We lay on huge rocks that night and gazed in awe at the shimmering heavens. Shooting stars were so frequent we stopped wishing on them, at least not until i was sure Middlesbrough would definitely win the championship. Our hammocks adorned a bamboo littered hill top, we looked out over the river with the stars still in our eyes and slept like (jungle) kings.

That next day we left our packs and explored the falls. Nooh showed us an historical cave where the Lundia warriors used to plot and dodge attacks from other tribes. We then descended into the musty depths of a bat cave and dodged their manic swoops whilst marvelling at large spiders with glittering eyes. Continuing along the falls we watched as Nooh leapt across a fast flowing stream to reach a precipice that overlooked a huge abyss into which a colossal column of water fell.

We got back to camp and a bombshell was dropped. Nooh exclaimed; “you are my very best friends, I like to share ancient custom with you. Please return to the fire in 10 minutes. Wear only your underpants...”. We looked at each other in surprise, and checked if we had heard correctly. Uncertain and self conscious we all returned as requested and looked at each other furtively. Nooh and guides emerged with large leaves entwined with vine and shaped into skirts and hats and began to fasten them around our bodies. Crowns were donned and the effect was finished off with ash from the fire used as war paint to mark our faces and bodies. Indeed we were about to perform a song and dance traditionally used to welcome warriors home from battle, we dared not put a foot wrong and everyone was silent as Nooh briefed us. He began to chant and energetically jumped into the centre of the circle, twisting and writhing; at first a warrior, then a hunter, then a predator. He rhythmically contorted to the incantation and we joined in. Tentatively at first, then as we realised any form of participation was greeted by whoops of joy from natives our dancing became more akin to that witnessed in a discotheque as opposed to round a campfire.

The chanting got louder, the shy more animated, everyone revelled in their moment in the centre. And as the sun went down I found myself in a truly unique situation never experienced in 34 previous years. There I was, deep in the jungle, wearing a grass skirt, chanting Malay victory songs with people who were all strangers not 10 days before plus the king of the Sabah jungle and his hardy sherpas and I was in the middle of the circle dancing like a robot.

We were all laughing, we were all whooping, we were all happy and revelling in the moment. Many more moments like it undoubtedly to come, but this one was sweet and well worth recounting.

Julian Fordyce, Alpha 6, Phase 1.


alastair yates said...

For James Yates, Alpha 6. Firstly, thanks to Julian for a descriptive account of events. Your grass skirt looks very fetching Jamie but heavens knows what Jemma will say when she see the photos. Mind you, she's probably getting up to all sorts of antics which could surpass your jungle efforts. Elyan spent half term in Abu Dhabi - swimming 8 HOURS a day! We've been buying some antiques to give the house a different look. I have, after, a decade of consideration, cropped a charcoal sketch of a horse down to a more manageable 100x80 cms and am having it framed (it was drawn by a student at Liz's school - I will explain more when you see it). Glad it's all going well there; just wish I was there too! Love Dad x

Gary Player said...

Hi Jamie Alpha 3 (previously Alpha 6)
Firstly thanks to Julian for posting the blog and for detailing incidents during the trek. This report brings to life the experiences of our children which I find hard to imagine on yet another grey wet November morning. Also please convey my thanks to Nooh and the porters for their guidance and support, and especially to Nooh for 'going the extra mile' to make the trek and the subsequent celebrations an unforgettable experience.
If the rest of your time in Borneo is as eventful as this then I'm sure that you'll be glad you made the decision to go.

Anonymous said...

For Julian Alpha 6 Phase 1.
Brilliant account Julian, it's really great to hear all about your 1st phase. I was beginning to wonder if you were actually there!
Some lovely pictures as well, all helping us to picture the scene.
With the weather getting colder here the only thing that is difficult to feel or imagine is the intense heat and dampness you must be encountering.
I think your wishes for the Boro helped because we beat Watford by a clearly off-side goal on Saturday and usually all the dodgy decisions go against us.
Good luck with the next phase.
Lots of love Mum x

Annemieke said...

Ha lieve Barend, wat 'n prachtig verslag van jullie tocht.
Klinkt als once in a lifetime. Magisch. Zal ook zwaar zijn geweest. Heerlijk om je te zien opduiken op de foto's, in zo'n totaal andere omgeving, tussen voor ons onbekende mensen. Maar jullie zullen elkaar heel goed hebben leren kennen.
Liefs Annemieke

Anonymous said...

Wow Julian it sounds brilliant. Can't wait for the next instalment.

Looking forward to seeing you when you return.

Uncle Graham

Joan Kooy said...

Dear King of the Jungle, lieve Barend,

Wat een verhalen, was jij ook aan het dansen als een robot? Of was je bezig de diverse bandjes, talismannen en andere versierselen op te poetsen? Of aan het herstellen van wat kennelijk een zware wandeling was? Of De Witte Rambo aan het spelen (niet best gelukt, tamelijk pussy!!)? Hoe dan ook, dit ziet er echt te gek uit. Was het inderdaad waanzinnig mooi om naar de vallende sterren te kijken? Te gek inderdaad, met een groep mensen die je kort geleden nog nooit had gezien of van had gehoord. Houd je heel goed daar, geniet van deze unieke tijd, we missen je enorm. Omhelzend, je vader

Anonymous said...

Lieeeeve Julie van Wassenaer!!
Ik had je vorige week ook een berichtje gestuurd maar ik heb geen idee of ie aangekomen is!! Ik mis nederland en al mn vriendinnetjes zoooooo erg! Zaterdag was Mar (nl vriendinnetje hier) zo van; fleur.. we kunnen naar NL vliegen retourtje voor 50pond.. dus ik: nooooo way!! En toen hebben we de volgende dag geboekt hahahaha. Ben in NL 18-21 november, super leuk he! Voor maar 70pond in totaal echt heel goedkoop! Maar het is een verassing voor mijn ouders, iedereen weet het behalve zij hahha. Had aan tammo gevraagd of ie kon regelen of hij dan zn bday kon vieren, dat is wel leuk want dan kan ik erbij zijn! Nou had ik dat dus allemaal geregeld, komt papa ineens met een mail aanzetten dat hij een ticket voor mij heeft geboekt naar Aberdeen 4 dagen nadat ik terug ben uit NL haha. Christiaan gaat afstuderen van zn masters en heeft dan zn diploma uitreiking en mam en pap gaan en ik wss ook (als er genoeg kaartjes zijn) dus dat wordt een soort van familie bijeenkomst en papa heeft voor drie dagen geboekt als verassing! Heeeeeel erg lief maar ik voel me zo schuldig want ik kom al naar nl haahhah maar ik hou het lekker geheim hihi! Super grappig, dan sta ik daar ineens voor mama's bed en dan schrikt ze zich helemaal kapot TE LEUK!! Dat is over twee weekjes maar dat wordt een heel druk weekje want eerst van 18-21 nov NL en dan van 25-27 nov Aberdeen en daar tussen in ga ik wss verhuizen naar een ander huis om met een vriendinnetje samen te wonen. Drukdrukdruk!
Stonehenge dit weekend ging niet door dus nu gaan we deze zondag! Maar ik heb nauwelijks geld meer... kijken hoe ik dat ga doen haha. Deze zaterdag was ik naar Chinatown voor een massage, heeeeeel erg chill was helemaal blij! En toen hadden we party party want er was een of andere feestdag met allemaal vuurwerk. Alleen wij hadden al het vuurwerk gemist want we waren helemaal de verkeerde kant op gegaan met de metro dus weer eens 4uur gereisd.. zo irritant vind ik dat van London. Je bent nergens binnen een halfuur, ik reis altijd minstens 30min ook als ik naar Mar ga in Bermondsey (dat is maar een station verder met de metro..!!!) En toen daarna gingen we naar een party van een of andere vent die een appartement had op de 21e verdieping met uitzicht over heel Londen dat was wel leuk leuk:) Oke, ik hou het beetje kort want het is laat en ik wil nog even tv kijken! Trouwens er is een nieuwe aflevering van Pretty Little Liars en hij is echt heel spannend!! Die kan je lekker gaan kijken als je weer internet hebt (niet vergeten!!). Ik mis juuuu sjoelieee :( Gekke koekwausie. Wij kunnen zo leuk zo veel lol hebben samen om echt niks!!! Nog maar een paar maandjes en dan ben je lekker terug! Hoe is het daar? Heb je al veel levenservaring opgedaan? Hoop dat je geniet!! Geniet zeker maar van het lekkere warme weer want hier wordt het alweer echt ijskoud... Was heel lekker weer tot het begin van deze week, toen werd het echt koud!

Nou moppie me luf yoeeee kussies nu maar hopen dat deze post het wel doet!! Als je iets van internet hebt meteen mij berichtje sturen ofso ok??!! Ik wil al je gekke verhaaltjes horen!!


Peter en AnAn said...

Maurits van Rhijn- Alpha 2
Indrukwekkend wat jullie allemaal doen. We blijven je volgen via je terecht trotse ouders en zus,
Liefs, Peter en An An, Amber en Amélie

Penny Yates said...

For James, how will you ever return to "normal"life after all these fantastic experiences? The grass skirt is definitely a new look and I hope there will be a video of all the dancing? Spiders with glittering eyes sound awesome too, I wonder how big they were. Thanks to Julian for posting such a vivid account of your exploits. Now you are already well into the next phase, I hope it is going well and at least some of the wishes on stars come true. with love mum x

Ben Jones said...

Message for Alex Edwards

Alright edwardo, hope you're havin a good time out their mate, it looks boss like! don't think my quiff could hack it though haha havin enough grief off the lads from footy about lookin like tin tin, at least it's not as bad a pie face (ad jones) oh btw, thought you should know, drew 2-2 with Upton on sunday, scored a belter from 35 yards easy ;) that is how i do! and no matter what anybody else says it was deffo a shot alright!? it's safe to say we're all missing you, some more than others (pedro) he's posting stuff about you on the website and facebook page to show he's thinking about you 24/7!
try keep the barnet dry and i'll speak to you soon! have a good one in the jungle whilst i get my teeth into psychology...wooopwoop!
adios big man

Spuymans said...

Hey Josh the photos of Phase 1 Alpha 6 were great - especially the one in the water - knew it was your hair causing that waterfall!! The adventure so far sounds amazing and no wonder you were in awe of Nooh - bet what he taught you will be more useful than all those A level courses put together!! TODAY was Phoebe's birthday and we are just back from dinner out with Nan and Kim. Everyone sends their love including Sue Bear who I exchanged emails with today since it is Ali's birthday too. Hope Phase 2 is going well and the leeches are staying away. Hope to hear more tales of adventure soon. We missed you this morning at the traditional birthday present opening. Take care & have fun. lots of love Mum and Phoebs xxx

Beanie Yates said...

For James (big bro) Yates
Hmmm not sure I agree with mum that spiders with glittering eyes Sound good-I still get goosebumps with ones in the bath and u can't even see their eyes hehe. Oh bro I do love the grass skirt look-very chic :-) SO jealous of your next session out at the dive centre-you're about to experience something so amazing it will play in your dreams regularly-hope u love it, and dont forget beanie panicked the first few dives so u can to hehe. Love u loads big bro and miss u tons too! Xxx

Amy and Rosie! said...

Hi Sophie (Tigges)!
A big hello from Amy and Rosie at head office. We hope the trek is going well and you're making good progress - and avoiding the leeches, mosquitos, bugs etc! I'm sure you'll be looking forward to your stint on Dive island to come. Take care and looking forward to more pics soon!
Amy and Rosie xx

Jasmin said...

(Barend Van Marwijk Kooy, Alpha 4)

Lieve Bernd,

zonder of met bril, je blijft in mijn herinneringen voortbestaan! Wat ben je lekker bezig daar. Het ziet er echt hardcore uit, maar wel ontzettend mooi! Wanneer kunnen we een sexy photoshoot van jou in het water verwachten?
Liefs Jasmin X

Hilarie Fryer said...

For James Yates
Hi James - well I can see that the jungle is allowing you to get in touch with your feminine side!! Loving the skirt... Great to get you e-mail this morning, I hope that the diving is going well and you enjoy it. The photos on the blog are great and it is fab to have an idea of what you are all up too. I have watched the video diary that Jemma's team have made - great to see them all and the work they are doing building the kindergarten. Bit emotional though seeing your daughter on camera for the first time in several weeks!! Think I must have had something in my eye when I was watching it... Spending the day with Ash tomorrow in London which am really looking forward too.
Take care and keep having an amazing time
Lots of love

Turnipboy said...

For Cloe Donegan Alpha 6 now Alpha 4.

Great piece of writing from Julian. Thanks for posting some shots from Alpha 6 as we were missing them and felt a bit cut off. Hope you're having a great time, Cloe. Bat cave sounds great. No gory stories coming through so either everything is very chilled and lovely or Julian's keeping the worst from us. Hope you're finding the blisters, bugs, leeches, mozzies and frightening toilet arrangements character building. Can't wait to sit down and hear all about it in detail.

Think about you every day. So amazed at what you're doing. Love you. Wil and Phil. x

Lisa said...

Hey Julian, good to hear from you!! Nice descriptive piece there, maybe you should try writing or something, I think Dan does something like that. Really good to see some pics, although you should try and get in on some video action next, shame they missed the dancing but there's always time for more.....

Feel like I do need to comment though. Firstly: "marveling at large spiders with glittering eyes". You do not 'marvel' Jules, you run, run far and fast swiping at your shoulders and the back of your neck for imaginary spiders dropping onto you as you run. And secondly, is it slightly unethical to use witchcraft to help Boro up the league? (Hi Sue!!)

All is good here. I got player of the match at the last netballs game. We lost by a stupid amount but I was player of match so that's the main thing. I think. Also I got elbowed in the neck (by accident the other girl reckoned) and the week before I nearly got sent off for being too violent. Ha. They've obviously never been on the Battlefield....

Speaking of which, BF3 is really hard. I'm rubbish at it. No one lets me ride in their tank, and I can't even work the spanner, and my squad always seems to keep running away from me. It makes me sad. Dan has been away so we haven't been able to hook up on there yet.

Keep up the good work over there, keep doing incredible stuff, and I fully expect you to come home with your own necklace of tigers teeth. At the very least you should have a bracelet of hamster toenails. Take care of yourself and look forward to catching up when you get home!
Lisa x

catherinefaulks said...

Hi Leo,

That is an amazing blog. Thanks julian for bringing the trek to vividly to life for us all. It sounds incredible and you must have all learnt so much. I can wait to hear even more. Especially about the week diving which I imagine was lovely to be clean, well fed and without so much hard walking. Hope you are enjoying the Oran-utangs. I met a lady who's daughter is working there too with another charity last night! Small world. Continue to have an amazing time. We all love and miss you at home.
Mummy xxxx

catherinefaulks said...

Leo - forgot to say, had dinner with Sir David Attenborough on tuesday who has just come back from making a film in Borneo. Wanted to ask him about those spiders... he was really impressed by the work that is being done at Sepilok but not very optimistic about the future for the orangutans. Hoping you can give us some better news.
love Mum xx

justus said...

ha die barrie,

de foto's zien er allemaal heel nice uit, voor de diskodansclubs haha not. maar partyen komt later, eerst maar eens deze ultimate survival overleven. hier in londen is het nog steeds heeel nice. de kans is vrij groot dat ik in februari toch ga reizen, dus dan gaan we elkaar toch nog zien! eerst waarschijnlijk met nelson en daan en daarna zien we verder. hoop dat je snel kan skypen, mis je jongo!

x justus

Daan said...

(Barend van Marwijk Kooy, Alpha 4)

Barend, jongen, laat ik beginnen met te zeggen dat je er op vrijwel elke foto fantastisch goed uit ziet. Vooral de accessoires doen je goed! Avontuurlijk, maar toch modieus; armbandje, kettinkje, en mijn persoonlijke favoriet, de hoofdband!

Nee maar zonder geintjes, wat ga je lekker daar volgens mij. Als ik die foto's zie en die verhalen lees dan ben ik ziek jaloers. De manier waarop jij die weken in de jungle geleefd hebt, en alles wat je hebt gezien en meegemaakt is denk ik best uniek, en al helemaal een bizarre ervaring; er zijn maar weinig mensen die zoiets meemaken, veel te vet. Ben echt benieuwd naar al je verhalen man.
En ik heb echt niet normaal veel zin in onze reis. Het wordt een te gekke reis, sowieso tijd van ons leven. Kan je vertellen dat Annemiek en ik een resort uitgezocht hebben op Ko Phanghan, en volgens mij is dat best wel een klein paradijsje. We hebben in ieder geval onze eigen hot tub, dus aan romances geen gebrek...

Ik spreek je snel weer; als je weer bereik hebt moet je maar bellen (was je goed je even gesproken te hebben vorige week). Ik ben in ieder geval van 28 November in Maleisië dus dan moet we elkaar daar ergens sowieso eventjes spreken. Maar dat komt vast helemaal goed!

Ik hoop op nog meer mooie fotootjes van je, met nog meer 'smashing' accessoire werk, enne;
Maak er nog een onvergetelijke tijd van daar vriend!!!


Jakhya said...

Hi Sophie!!! How are you? I hope you are well and enjoying yourself in Borneo! You must be seeing some amazing views! Looking forward to seeing your photos! Good luck, and hope to hear from you soon. From Jakhya

Anonymous said...

BAT cave? You have lost me, can you imagine me there?? We love you, miss you more every day. Were in Paris last weekend, for the 1961 dinner for Dad with McK friends....all 1961 wines, springlike weather, Adair came too - took him to Le Vesinet and walked all over...
Fray home next week for Thanksgiving, I will think of you when making vast quantities of gravy!!! Hope you are keeping your journal, remember every detail, ok?
Love love love, M

Vicki N said...

For Anne,
Hi Mum, been out there ages now, hope you are enjoying yourself. Never thought I would see the day where you would wear a grass skirt..
coming back here is going to be a massive culture shock I'm sure. Gwyn has bought a pot pud so he can never moan at you again I've told him.
Dogs are well.
Stay Safe
Vicki xx

shadow_confuser said...

Message for Jules, sorry "the king of the jungle",

Now then fella. Very nice piece matey-boy!! Loved it. I hope you haven't been eaten by a snake yet, and have removed all the leeches from your john thomas. We're all missing you back here. Bet it feels like the time's flown by there, but it feels like aaaaages to us...

Been on the road for weeks but finally back in VE now. Lisa's birthday card arrived like 2 months late but it was well worth the wait. You can see some pix of it on the LoS forum when you're back! (You feature prominently in it!!)

Oh, and like Lisa said, you'll probably hate BF3 at first. Haha. But you need to give it some time. Everything just feels different, which after 700 hours on the other one is bound to be a bit frustrating. It is cool though. Oh, and they're bringing out GTA5 now, it's official, so we'll be meeting up on that too, I'm sure...

Stay safe brochacho, don't leave anyone behind in the jungle, even if you really, really want to, and drop us a line when you're back somewhere with the wifis.

Easy now... =)

Lee Deverill said...

Amazing stuff Julian.

But where are Ant and Dec?

Take care and watch out for Owls.


cords17 said...

Chickpea (aka Cloe)

Looking sunkissed and happy :) - (Have written this in letter but just incase) Love seeing photos of you - at least I know you ok and still working hard.

Fed up of the food yet? Bet you could eat a pasta bake with lots of cheese num num num... I know im sorry, that was very nasty of me :(
Suppose you will just appreciate it even more next time you have one!
Or you will have gone of them! Haha! I doubt that would ever happen! hehe!

Not much going on here, Lou came down again the weekend saw her last night and it was Kayleighs Bday. See then met Baz kids today, not sure how everything went.

And Today I went to a suprise baby shower party (actually had quite alot of fun!) then watched Xfactor and veged out!

Cant wait to have youo back, miss going out! I dont have anyone to do it with :( however I will send you a letter with a story that will make you chuckle!

Love you long time

Miss you G xxxxxxx