This is rare for me, a post with only two pictures and few words. But I was thinking recently about what actually makes me the happiest. I found these shots hiding out in my collection. They were taken in 2009 and are not great photos, but they brought home exactly what makes me happy. They are from a little paradise called Danum Valley, in Sabah, Borneo. The one of me was taken by a “guide” (actually a biologist working there who I convinced to go hiking), and the one below is a shot I took when I woke up at dawn, with a literal riot of birdsong in the air.
This was my first genuine experience with a real (and I mean real) rainforest. In the top photo I was enchanted by the calls of gibbons (not to mention the enormous trees) and could not seem to spot them. Little did I know that by this point in the hike, probably because of a soaking rainstorm earlier, several leaches had found their way into my shorts. They were busy choosing quite embarrassing places to draw blood. You cannot feel them, and only when the blood starts to flow do you notice. But this was one of the most amazing hikes I’ve ever done – truly a land from a story book.
So here it is: me definitely not looking my best but happy as a clam. If you go to Malaysian Borneo, go to Danum Valley. Let me be more specific: if you go to Borneo, and want to see wild orangs (not in a sanctuary) in a wild forest, spend a few days in Danum Valley. ‘Nuff said!