After too many beers and a briefing on mountain safety we hit the hay and awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed to face the rigours of the jungle. Beth got off to a great start when her bed collapsed.
This is in fact the hotel garden, the jungle lay a few kilometres away by bus.
The five of us became 10, then 30 10 as the porters arrived and then 5 guides and soon we had a whole bus load. Each trekker had to have two porters to carry their gear and provisions, each porter pair then had to have a porter to carry their food and stores, each then had to have a boy to carry their food and so pretty soon there was about 1000 of us to get 10 of us to the top, for more details read the Ascent of Rum Doodle.
First snag, due to the massive weight the bus broke
which gave us time to peruse the local grocers. I made the mistake of buying fresh tomatoes and eating them without washing them, something my digestive system would punish me for for the next 3 days.
It was all very colourful
or very dirty, depending on where you looked.
Soon, read 5 hours, we were in the rain forest
which was very exciting and curiously silent and totally bug free except for when I went to answer the call of nature off the track and found a wasps nest.
The trail was steep, but doable and pretty soon
we were at first camp and feeding nuts to the locals
and eating a fab veg curry (another digestive mistake)
with the gang in the mess tent before turning in for a long night in a sleeping bag. Armed guards were on hand, not to prevent wild life attacks but to deter bandits from local villages robbing stupid tourists. Advice like if you leave your tent at night carry a big torch as robbers don't so the Rangers wont shoot torch bearers was not exactly reassuring, especially as yours truly forgot and went walkabout at 3 am to find the loo. The silence of the jungle was only broken by Jim Royale's snoring which would give Concorde a run for its money on decibel levels.