The most recent disaster was the tsunami in December 2004. Banda Aceh on the northern part of Sumatra, Indonesia, was hit the hardest out of every place in the Indian Ocean—Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka—because the biggest earthquake’s epicenter was very close to Banda Aceh. Three out of the four districts in
November 20, 2005
I did school work but Grandma was looking for some Indonesian fabric so we went in search of Batik artwork. We walked up the hill, and on the way back, we stopped at a store. Grandma got 3 pieces and negotiated it to 130,000 Rupia. So our mission was done and it was time for me to go swimming again. I hesitated because it was windy and the water was colder but I jumped in about 10 times when Dad, Mom and Peter came back from their bike ride and they had just planted rice and were muddy and wanted to go swimming too. So I jumped in 10 more times with them. That night we had the second ATW Pool Tournament and this time Mom joined us. Grandma went on a hot streak that night and won it!
November 19, 2005
Dad and I went on a walk to the waterfall but we decided not to go all the way to the waterfall. We went back to the hotel before the rain came. I dove in 10 times and then got out. By this time, Grandma and Peter were done with their walk and we talked and played cards. After dinner, we had our 1st Annual Around the World (ATW) Pool Tournament, Peter won it because I scratched on the 8-ball!
November 18, 2005
Today we woke up and did some school work. After school work, Peter, Dad and I went swimming off the diving board at Samosir. The diving board was pretty high and you could jump a pretty long distance directly into the lake. After we went swimming, we decided to look around Tuk-Tuk and we found a place that had guacamole sandwiches so we ate there. We decided to walk in a circle around Tuk-Tuk and found some cool places like bakeries, restaurants and batik art. When we got to Bamboo, we ordered pizzas and there was a futbol game going on. It was Australia and Uruguay, a World Cup qualifier and it went down to shoot out and the Australian goalie did really good and blocked 2 of the 5 attempts and Australia made it to the World Cup, the first time in 30 years. The last time that a
November 17, 2005
We got up at 5:30 a.m. and when we got to the bus, I slept almost the whole way to
November 10, 2005
Today we got up early to go on the ferry to
When we got up we went to breakfast and started talking to the guides. We decided to book a 3-day tour for the next day. Then they brought us to the Friday market and we got some apples and pears for the trek the following day. When we got back, we had lunch and after lunch, we went to the orangutan platform. We had to walk 30 minutes to get there. Right when we were about to cross the river, we saw a family of Thomas leaf monkeys in the trees across the river. We crossed the river by a boat that was attached to a pulley system because of the strong current in the river. We started climbing up the mountain and I spotted an orangutan sitting up in the tree ahead. But then I heard a crash behind me and this orangutan started walking along the trail behind us and walked right by us! I started filming and I have really good footage to show you when I get back. One of the orangutans had a dead baby which was really sad because when the baby died, she carried the skin around and wouldn’t let it go and it was really smelly. That day we saw 6 orangutans which was really lucky. The last two orangutans, one was a male and his name was Abdul and he had a girlfriend. He also had a big cut on his nose from getting into a fight with another male. When we started walking back down the hill, we saw a family of long-tailed macaques and we got to feed them bananas. They would jump out and get the bananas and go back into the bushes. Then we crossed the river again on the pulley system boat and we decided to stop and check out the Jungle Inn because it looked like a really cool place. When we got there, we ordered lemon juice and then I saw a long-tailed macaque sitting on a rock all alone so we were wondering where its family was. About 20 minutes later, 20 long-tailed macaques came running down the beach to meet up with their friend. Then we walked back to our hotel and started getting ready for the trek the next day.
First day of the trek! We walked up the mountain into the national park. When we got there, we saw a family of Thomas leaf monkeys in the rubber trees while we were applying insect repellant. When we started walking again, we saw a black eagle fly over us. We walked a little farther and saw an orangutan with her baby. We stayed with her a little bit and took pictures and I took footage. That was a semi-wild orangutan. We kept walking and we walked into this huge tree that would probably take 10 people to fit around it. That’s when Grandma decided to go back to the Eco-Lodge. After we said goodbye, we started walking again and we met up with Sarah and Arune, our friends that we had met on the bus to
2nd day of trek: When we got up, today was going to be the easiest day of hiking. We waited at the camping site I was changing behind a rock and mom yelled, “Orangutans!" And there were 4 wild orangutans at our campsite. I started filming them but since I didn’t have a lot of battery left I had to use it wisely. One was a 7-year-old which was really cool because he was a different color than the other orangutans (a light orange color) and he didn’t have to be close to his mother and could climb and swing by himself and he was the coolest orangutan I’ve seen. When we started heading off, we had to go straight up hill and this time we only had one guide. In the beginning, we saw this poisonous hairy caterpillar. It’s poisonous because it can stick its hairs into your skin. When we finally got to the top of the hill, we ate some oranges to lighten Sonny’s pack. Then we kept walking and we saw a mahogany tree and a couple of other types of trees. We climbed up another little mountain and Sonny spotted a gibbon but it was too fast for him to see again so we didn’t see it. Then he spotted a family of Thomas leaf monkeys. We walked down the hill to another stream where Sonny made a noodle soup with lots of vegetables and I spotted a turtle in the water. We climbed up another mountain which was really steep and at the top of that, we saw a flying squirrel which was black with an orange belly. Then we got to a place that the guides call Panorama, a view of the rain forest. I spotted right away a tree moving and we figured out it was a family of white-handed and black gibbons. One jumped 6 meters from one tree to another spread eagle—it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! Then we started going down this really steep hill and half way, it started raining again. Arune was first, Sarah was second and then Peter and me. Sonny was waiting for Mom, Dad and Martin. It was really slippery and one time Peter slipped and shot 2 meters and slipped in front of Sarah! Now the order was Arune, Peter, Sarah and me! As we were walking, Arune and Peter were talking and Sarah and I walked together. I spotted a monkey track and I showed Sarah and she thought it was pretty cool. We finally got to the tent and got under and had some good hot tea. It only rained for half-hour and then it turned really nice afterwards. Dad and I went to explore the area and I spotted a tree moving and it was 20 long-tailed macaques! We were watching them and then I looked up and there were two hornbills flying overhead. It was so cool and we watched where they went and near there, we saw three hornbills come out of a tree. We watched them fly away but we couldn’t figure out what type they were. So we ran back to camp and got Ian. When we went with Ian, we spotted 3 more hornbills and that made 8. We thought we saw a shadow of one and I saw it fly out of the tree (but no one else did), and two other hornbills flew out of another tree. That made 11 hornbills in 2 ½ hours which was really cool! All around there were swallows flying.
3rd day of the trek: Today is our last day of the trek. Mom and dad saw two hornbills while I was asleep. I finally got up and we had noodles for breakfast. When we were eating, Dad spotted a long-tailed macaque sitting way up on the top of a dead tree. We saw a black eagle fly across the canyon. After that, we saw two hornbills fly close to us. Today was going to be an easy day but on the first part it was straight up hill for about a ½ hour but when we got to the top we spotted a monitor lizard and heard a gibbon close by. Ian and Ian’s little brother brought me to where the gibbon was but we never saw it but when we were over in that area, Ian’s little brother spotted a great Argus. A great Argus is a very rare bird—a peacock like bird. I ran back up to tell Dad and Mom and Peter about what we saw but it had already gone by the time I could film so I didn’t get to film it. A long-tailed macaque followed us up and we got to feed it bananas. When we walked a little further, we met some people and they had just gone through the orangutan habitat and they had met Mina. Mina is very aggressive because when her baby died, one of the rangers took the baby away to find out why the baby had died. But, when the ranger tried to take the baby, the ranger and her got into a fight and the ranger picked up a stone and hit her on the forehead and it started to bleed. Mina climbed up into the hills to protect herself but she remembered what the ranger had done to her. Then another time, the ranger tried to cut off her finger because she bit him three times. So, now she remembers all the things that human beings have done to her and that’s why she’s really aggressive toward human beings. So we walked down into the orangutan habitat and Dany spotted Mina, behind the orangutan with the dead baby. So we had to run up the hill to hide from Mina because she’ll follow you. We finally got farther away so we could relax and not run away from her anymore. So then we just walked down the hill to the Eco Lodge. Dany invited us to a party for his sister’s wedding. We decided to go. When we got there, everyone was in there traditional clothes doing their traditional dance. Then we met Dany’s mom but Dany couldn’t tell us her name because it’s impolite to tell his mother and father’s name. Then they gave us traditional food. One was really spicy but really good. It was young banana shoot with other vegetables and another one was potato curry and then for dessert they gave us sticky rice with brown sugar. When we got back, we started packing for the next day because we had to wake up at 5 a.m. to go to
Our guides taught us a jingle about Bukit Lawang (sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells"):
Jungle Trek, Jungle Trek
In Bukit Lawang
See the monkeys
See the birds
See the orangutans
Walking in the jungle
See the animals
Walking together in Bukit Lawang
We do everything together in Bukit Lawang!
November 8, 2005
October 28, 2005
Today we went on a boat ride to the cascades and on the boat ride, we saw a sambar deer. When we got to the cascades, we went swimming. It felt so refreshing on the hot day. On the way back, we decided to go by the trail back and grandma took the boat back because she couldn't walk the trail. Right as we started the trail, a huge tree had fallen down. We tried to figure out where the trail went and Dad found a trail that went through the tree so we went on that. We started walking down and there was another shoot and we could go right or left. We tried left and the trail ended. Then we tried the right shoot and it ended too. Luckily we had a map and compass and the map showed that we had to go through a little stream. We had been walking by that stream. We walked through the stream and saw a trail continue on the other side. We were on the right trail because we saw a trail marker. When we started walking, there were leeches everywhere but luckily we had some of the anti-leech spray which was good because it makes the leeches shrivel up! When we were nearing the end of the trail, we heard this really loud squawk and since Dad had heard a hornbill before, he knew it was a hornbill! We started looking around and there was one tree in the way (and I felt like cutting down) but then we saw this humongous bird, like 100 centimeters large, and we saw it fly by and it landed right on a branch where we could see it and Dad got some good pictures. But then another one flew by and we figured out there were three of them traveling together. We followed them until we got to a trail where the trail departed so we went to the lodge, still 3 kilometers away. We passed by a swimming hole and heard some more hornbills but we couldn't see them that time because they were across the river. When we finally got the lodge, we were all exhausted from our long, 8 kilometer hike. We had lots of laundry after that muddy hike! We were all very hungry and decided to go to Family Restaurant across the river.
October 27, 2005
Today we went over to the national park to find out what to do for our trek in the park and what to do that day. We all decided that we wanted to go on the canopy walk. It was a kilometer walk there and Mom got totally freaked out and grandma decided she didn't want to go either and to go back with Mom to the resort. But Dad, Peter and I decided to go. It was a great view of the oldest rainforest in the world. We didn't see any animals but we saw the jungle very nicely. This is the longest canopy walk in the world. It was 100 meters off the ground and it was really cool. One area Peter named the Stairway to Heaven because there was this ladder that went up 70 degrees and we had to walk up it. Most of the bridge was 1 plank with ropes on each side and sometimes we'd sway back and forth. We had to walk 5-10 meters apart on the bridge. When we finished it, Dad had to go to the bathroom and when he got out, there was a family of monkeys, long-tailed macaques. They were too high up to get pictures so we just looked at them in the tree playing. When we walked back to the resort, there was this tree that had 25 monkeys and one had a baby. Dad started snapping pictures but Peter and I went to look at some of the birds and we saw a chestnut-breasted malkoha. We ran back to the restaurant because we knew Mom and Grandma would want to see the monkeys too. So we brought them back and they really enjoyed the monkeys. Peter just decided to have a snack but way up in the tree two monkeys saw Peter eating his nips (chocolate covered peanuts) and they decided they wanted them! So, they came scampering down the tree and started cornering Peter so Peter chucked the bag and the monkeys ran after the peanuts and they ate all of them! It was pretty funny!
October 26, 2005
Today we're heading to Taman Negara on the jungle train. We woke up early and caught the train. I was tired so I went to sleep but dad said he saw 8 monkeys cross a telephone line but I missed them! Then we went up to the lounge area where you could eat and Dad saw another monkey but six seconds after he saw it, he said, "Languar," which was a type of monkey that we had seen 3 weeks ago in Thailand. How were we supposed to remember what a languar was??!! Then five seconds later, he said, "Monkey" and we said why didn't you say that when you actually saw it!!! because by then it was long gone and we were mad! We got out games and played them until we arrived in Jerantut. We got ripped off by this company called LBK; they said there weren't anymore local buses which only cost 6 Ringott a person and so we went with them and it was 20/person and found out later that there was a bus! When we arrived in Kuala Tahan, we found a nice place called Tahan Guest House and met Dee who runs it and he told us the places to find roti canai and murtabok.
October 25, 2005
Today we went on a snorkeling tour. We went to five places in the Perhentian Islands:1. We hopped out of the boat and are surrounded by fish. Dad and I went to explore the coral and we saw big yellow fish, big purple fish, rainbow fish and lots of other fish. 2. The guide said that this was the place where we would see turtles and he spotted one and we were all excited. We jumped out of the boat and started swimming with the turtle. The turtle was five to seven feet wide. When the turtle came to get air, Dad thought I was riding it because I was so close to it! Then we found another turtle and it came up for breath and I touched its shell! 3. This place we were supposed to see sharks but we didn't see any, though we saw lots of other cool fish. When we jumped out of the boat, it was pretty shallow. I couldn't touch but it was shallow and there was lots of coral like lace everywhere. As I rounded one rock, I spotted 3 Nemo fish swimming up in their home. Their home was a purple, spaghetti-like creature, an anenome, that swirls in the tide. I dove down right near them and they would go up to my mask. One time I stuck my hand out and a Nemo fish swam into my hand and I touched it! I spotted more Nemo fish in this area too. 4. Peter, Mom and I swam out to the point to see fish and we saw lots of fish again. Then we met Dad and so I paired with Dad and Mom paired with Peter. We spotted more Nemo fish but then the guide told us we had to come back to the boat. We had to swim against the tide and it was very tiring. Then Dad tapped me on the shoulder and told me to wait. So I looked down and there's this big silvery thing (the mask magnifies the size of things underwater). Dad dives down and grabs it and shows it to me and it's a ring and I think, "Aah, someone must have lost their ring." But then we got back to the boat, I was very surprised to find out that it was his ring that we almost lost at the bottom of the ocean! 5. We went to a beautiful beach but I decided to snorkel. All of a sudden, I saw this humongous black shadow and I swam quickly to shore and told Peter and Mom about it. They went out to check it out and they found it too. Peter asked Mom if he could dive down and take a closer look and she said, "I'm sure it's harmless!" But it wasn't; it had big teeth and tried to eat Peter! When we left the Perhentian Islands, there was some huge waves and Mom was going a little crazy. She kept going "Yahoo!" when the waves hit her and when we got to the dock, everybody was soaking wet, especially Mom because she was in the middle of the boat and on the side where the waves kept crashing. October 24, 2005 Today we got up and watched the second game of the World Series at our beachside guest house. Go White Sox! After we watched the game, we went to Coral Bay which was on the other side of our island. At the beginning of the trail, we saw a huge monitor lizard and we met a guy who said it was good snorkeling over at Coral Bay. So, Mom and Dad went back to get snorkeling gear and we went ahead and I found shells. We went snorkeling and saw rainbow fish and other fish and big coral heads and I got some coral. When we were done, we went back and played cards (I learned how to play Hearts). When we were done with cards, we went boogie boarding and it was really fun. Dad pushed us right as the wave came and I flipped and did a nose dive three times! When we were done with that, Dad and Mom went over to Coral Bay to watch the sunset and they saw a turtle over there just off the shore. October 23, 2005 We got up and watched the first game of the World Series. Go White Sox! We stayed at our beach and went swimming. In the afternoon, we worked on school work when it was raining. At the end of the day, we went to Lily's barbecue and had king fish which was really good. October 22, 2005 We woke up early to go on a train through an area where there are Muslim extremists but we were safe. When we got to Malaysia, we got our stamp in our passports and got a taxi to the place where we catch the boat to the Perhentian Islands. When we arrived, we went swimming and I go shell collecting with Grandma.