We’re all set for our jungle walk in the morning, not really knowing what to expect. Our guide for the walk shows up wearing a swimming vest. “Can you swim?” he asks. We confirm, not really knowing what the plan is. “Safety first!” he says. Anyway, it means we don’t have to wear the vest. There aren’t many guests, but a few others are doing the walk as well and they let us leave with about half an hour time in between. So it’s a ‘private’ tour.
Our guide walks us through the rice fields up to the edge of the jungle forest. That’s the start of a path that will have us climb up to the waterfall. Out of the blue he mentions that at some point we will also climb a rock with the help of a rope. I’m worried about my shoulder/arm and tell him I can only use my right arm to climb. “Don’t worry, I will help you,” he smiles, but I’m not sure he understands that I’m not being silly and actually really can’t use my left arm to pull myself up. It’s a worry for later and we walk behind him. This is his daily walk so he’s rather speeding through the jungle and we ask him to walk a bit slower so we can look around and get a better sense of where we are. It’s possible to encounter some monkeys here, but so far they are out of sight.
It’s getting warmer and the last part of the climb starts to feel heavier. Even more so when I see the ‘rock’. It’s a steep rock, going up about 10 meters high, with nothing to hold on to but the rope. You literally have to pull yourself up and I don’t see how I can do this with only one arm to rely on. It’s very disappointing so close to the top and I tell him I can’t do this. He doesn’t believe me. “You can do it. I help you,” he smiles. He must think I’m a ‘weak European woman’. So calmly I explain once more that I can only use one arm and that this is not enough to pull myself up or better, stop me from falling down. “I hold you!” he says and he wants to show me his plan. But the more he tries to push me into going up that rock, the more determined I am not to do something I don’t trust. “Listen, you take my friend up, I wait here,” I say. He smiles (aaarghh, he doesn’t seem to get it!). “Now, you calm down for 5 minutes,” (who needs to calm down? I was perfectly calm) “I take up your friend and I come back for you.” Honestly, he doesn’t take NO for an answer and I’m saying to Lesley that I’m really not doing it. I watch her make her way up the rock, a bit uncertain, and don’t see how I can do this with one arm to keep myself up. It’s far too steep to make a guess on that. But there he is again once Lesley is at the waterfall. At this point I think my anger about him not really listening is feeding my adrenaline. And I think to myself “alright, you stubborn man, I will try one meter, only for you to shut up and stop telling me I can do this like some fitness coach!” It doesn’t feel right, I hold the rope with one arm and completely rely on the guide next to me to give counterweight and stop me from falling.
I still don’t know how I did it, but somehow I manage to do the first two meters and make my way up. Trying not to think there is no soft way to fall here and I will drag him down with me if I lose it. Lesley definitely looks surprised as she sees me appear at the waterfall. “How did you do it? I really thought you wouldn’t make it up here!”. Well, so did I. The next worry is how to get back down, but first we take some time to relax by the natural pool. Turns out there are little fish in the water who eat the dead skin of your feet, a free spa treatment :-) The guide is showing off by diving into the water. After about an hour at the ‘pool’ it’s time to head back down to the camp.
The rock is waiting to be descended. Very steep. I go first, concentrate, one arm on the rope, other one the backpack of the guide who’s right in front of me. Still, I think if I fall, I’ll only drag him down with me, but he is determined to show his strength. I make it down and then watch Lesley coming down. This is like a Tarzan & Jane descent, she slides and almost fully leans on the guide to get back down. He kinda seems to like it :-) Anyway, I’m happy we both make it down the rock safely and the rest of the walk down is a piece of cake.
It’s very hot by now and I take a cold shower before heading out to the lunch area. Cold water never felt so good! The strange thing is that even though I hardly ate breakfast I’m also not hungry for lunch. They made us a noodle dish and I really have to bring myself to eating some of it. Not that it’s bad, I just don’t feel like eating. Maybe it’s the heath and the excitement of the rock adventure. Lesley on the contrary is very hungry and almost finishes the whole plate.
We have a whole afternoon in front of us and to be honest there’s nothing more on offer at the site. The zip line is more of a kid’s attraction. There’s a lack of comfortable chairs, also at our own lodge, so we head out to the only deck chairs with soft pillows at the cable car building and hold a little siesta there. This is when I start to feel something is not right. I feel sick, like I have a brick in my stomach and I just want to lie down. So I head back to our lodge and lie down on the bed to get some rest. Over the next hours we both get ill, clearly there was something wrong with the food out in the jungle here. I will spare you the details, but Lesley states she will not eat noodles again and I feel nauseous just thinking of the taste of the food we had the night before. So no diner for us tonight. We are both craving for a cool Coca Cola, but they don’t have it here in the jungle. We can’t wait to get out of there and go through not the best night.