Bukit Lawang

During the past 11 days so much awesome stuff has happened that it’s hard to know where to begin.  We were presented with the amazing opportunity to go trekking into the wild jungle one hour from Bukit Lawang in a jungle called Bukit Kencur – a jungle that people only venture into a few times a year.  We saw so many cool things, and just being in the jungle was a highlight in itself.  We went to Bukit Kencur with Andrea, a scientist from the UK who now lives in Bukit Lawang and educates people about the forests and Orang Utans – we were extremely lucky to be given this chance so jumped at it and had an awesome time.

We have waded through rivers, climbed rocks, seen wild and semi-wild adult and baby Orang Utans, (even got wee-d on by one Orang Utan!), seen a family of White-Handed Gibbons, some Pig-Tailed Macaques, (5 wild primate species in total), at least 200 different insects and 50 different butterflies.  We have been into caves, walked many trails, rafted down the river, eaten so much awesome food and made some unforgettable friends.  Bukit Lawang is so far the hardest place we have had to leave – the jungle cast it’s spell on us after the first week or so and we could spend days just sitting staring at the trees, river and animals.

We came to Bukit Lawang to see Orang-Utans and we got so much more than we bargained for.  Every day we would see and hear new things, watch the hundreds of dragonflys hover and swifts fly over the river, and be visited by monkeys on our balcony off our little hut in the jungle.  Once a Pig-Tailed Macaque even stole Dre’s shorts after raiding our rubbish bin, and put them on his head – then carried them up to the top of the tree before dropping them not too far from our hut so Dre could go and rescue them!

Ultimately we have far, far too many photos to share on this site, and have tried really hard to narrow them down.  Here are just a few highlights.  Indonesia has caught us a bit by surprise – we had expected to have a good time, but we hadn’t realised just how utterly awesome it would be – to the point where we are quite sad to be leaving tomorrow.  (Although also excited to be going to Malaysia.)  One thing is for sure:  every day that passes, we are falling more in love with Asia.


How to cure your centipede bite

We have had a funny couple of days with every person we walk past asking why Dre’s foot is swollen / why he was only wearing one jandal (when it was so swollen that his jandal wouldn’t even fit on) or how he is feeling.  We have received advice from everyone and it has been intriguing how almost every local we have talked to has also been bitten by one of the Sumatran Giant’s and each has the ‘best’ cure that if Dre had used the swelling and pain would be gone by now.  So, the definitive list on how to cure a bite from a Sumatran Giant Centipede is this:

– kill the centipede and crush it innards and smear over your wound

– rub ‘special oil’ on the wound every hour

– walk around constantly to massage your foot

– get a knife and cut out the poison  (sounds particularly appealing)

– wrap leaves (of unknown kind?) around the wound

– get plaque off your teeth and mix it with raw chewed peanuts and smear on the wound  (also appealing!)

– enbalm the centipede in oil and spread on wound

– get water spinach and add salt to taste, then make into a powder, and put on wound

– rub lime or lemon juice into the wound

– tie string around limb so the poison doesn’t spread, and then squeeze poison out

– soak wound in salt water

– and of course, the doctor’s recommendation “you need an injection, otherwise you will always be in pain”

So there you have it, should you ever find yourself in need, the Batak people of Lake Toba can cure your centipede bite faster than you would otherwise be able to.