Warning, long post about previous trip with no picture, yet, and accompanied by a series of rants and whole lot of words. Run while you can.
This might sound ridiculous but I couldn't recall the name of the so called resort I stayed during the previous weekend field work. 3 days 2 nights spend there and all I know is it does not deserve to be called a resort and yes, its a forest where we bunked in. All I do know about the name is, its situated in a reserve park called Taman Agrotek. Since it's a reserved area, there's bound to be forest right.? Yes, it's sort of right next to a secondary forest with a river flowing all the way passing through the resort.
Anyway, the sandy filthy room with double decker beds we stayed in was fine. Covered with bed sheets that's washed at the river bank in front of visitors eyes while they just pour detergent and bubbles floating down the stream (In front of environmental science students!!) and no, the water is not crystal clear nor transparent. I think the precise word would be not dirty.
The loo, well, its quite a challenge to describe the exact bathroom condition without a photo or two for a clearer image of it. To sum it up, among the outdoor trips I've been to, be it camping by the sea side sleeping in an open canvas tent, extreme filthy jungle trekking and even Outward Bound School in a very isolated area, this is the place with the ultimate loo!!
No no no, don't get me wrong, the hygiene level is perfectly fine excluding those spider webs at the corners nor the cement floor with a weird colour and those sands that's always there no matter how many time you thought you've washed it away. And the limelight is the non existent of a sink and the water storage inside the loo with a bottom that again, cannot be seen nor the colour of whatever inside visible to our already confused naked eyes. One look at it and the first impression is the creepy eerie feeling of an extremely dark bottomless space with water that cannot be seen from the first look. And yes, there was water inside, in fact, the water storage space build of a cement wall only is actually full of water. Ah, the optical illusion playing tricks. And on second thought, it resembles a coffin. Hmmmmmmmm...
I guess its pretty obvious that the water source is nonetheless the river and since it rained like mad the afternoon after we arrived, and also the day after we reached which is Saturday, the water turns into a different shade. Meaning to say, water usage for cleaning purposes are all rich with the earth's yellowish colour not to mention the odor that comes with it. Ah, the smell of soil or earth perhaps.? And who knows what else does the river consist.?
And the food, well, since they serve Malay food and prepare 6 meals a day, the standard is unexceptionally well. Maybe because its prepared by people who's far away from the city and hence it taste more edible to us who, well not really into those hot and spicy curry stuffs. And yes, we're all well fed. Except the resorts little open cafe sure hell earned a sum from all of ours continuous mineral water purchase from them.
Okay, enough about the place we stayed. The field work we did. First thing we did was collect samples of plants inside the forest. Yes, different species of plants, we even measure tree's diameters, earth temperature, humidity, speed of wind, height of trees, pluck some complete structure of flora so that we can violently crushed it to juices after we brought them back to uni. Ha!
Then it rained heavily, much to some of our concern, leeches. Its a forest, leeches are like, inevitable creatures that would climb on to you and suck filthy blood out of you. Perhaps the idea of it isn't such a big deal, just that the slimy stuff attached to you skin is well, rather disgusting.? Some of us indeed unknowingly did donated blood to them and didn't realize until we rolled up our pants or rolled down or socks and found a patch of blood there with the dear leech no where to be seen.
Anyway, there was a briefing on our first night there and dear lecturer and her assistant enlightened us with true dirty stories of the forest based on their experience. They told us not to called or yell our real names in the forest, nor proudly acclaimed we're not afraid of ghost, or never be alone or never challenged the non human form and YADAYADA, there was a whole bunch of it and I can't remember all.
Next day involved a whole day of getting animals samples whether aquatic animals from the river inside the forest, small mammals, birds and also insects around the forest. Well, we never get too deep into the woods, and we just used traps, nets and our mighty bare hands. Of course, not forgetting measuring the width and depth of the river, velocity of river flow, wind speed, humidity, earth's temperature, blablabla.
At least it was pretty productive, we get whole loads of samples, whether aquatic animals that we caught while playing water in the river and getting our duck feets screaming with pain walking on small pieces of stones. And well, walking around with the scooping net, its a rather nice feeling when you did caught something. Imagine my joy when I caught a tiny shrimp and the water strider gliding on the water surface. Haha, self praising mode for a mere second. EXCUSE ME.!
Anyway, our traps caught a squirrel that was the centre of everyone's attention, shall post up the photos in latter entries to prove it. A beautiful kingfisher bird with extraordinary colours that we released after torturing its wings and beaks with the steel ruler. A small cute rodent that seems so innocent after being locked in a cage due to the temptation of a very ripe banana. And also a species of bat that's so tiny it barely covers my palm crying when we turn its wing inside out. Ha!
We release all this mammals except those insects and aquatic animals we get. The rest we preserved them with alcohols and formalin and they're all now in the lab, inside those lifeless transparent bottle samples, waiting for us to slide their throat open with blood splashing out at us. Just kidding.
We spend the second night there playing lame, funny games that makes us look like a bunch of 5 year olds, accompanied by a series of lame jokes. Not forgetting the kiddy moment where all of us fool around in the river, splashing water everywhere like we never see water before. The last morning there was a rather relaxing day, sampling air quality, measuring bearings, walking here and there counting foot steps under the rain making a scale from it for our map configuration. Yes, we learn mapping as well. And on our way back, we collected rock samples by the road side where its also the edge of a hill.
And that's it, we're back to campus, all happy, well fed, some with sunburn and scars of leeches and others insect bites, with loads of photos and memories, all tired and yet waiting for the next trip this Friday night.
You've been warned, its boring, long winding and full of words. HA!