Labi adventures and toilet conquered!
Today was a packed, packed day. I woke up at around 9AM feeling a bit cloudy in the head due to last night. But it was another beautiful day outside. I got a text from my new friend Chen, asking to go out to the country side of Brunei and I decided to go. I literally got up and went... so don't mind the oogly photos of me. Chen is an avid nature hiker, scuba diver, and macro-photographer, so going to Labi with him was a good choice. We first started off with brunch at this really shady small corner wooden hut restaurant/grocery store/hardware store with a hand written menu tacked onto the wall and very questionable cleanliness... I had some very delicious noodles and a freshly squeezed lemonade (all for less than B$4.50!). My lemonade had an ant floating around in it... and looking around, this place was not the most sanitary place... but I thought "well.. When in Asia!" So I just embraced the floating dead ant in my drink, thought of it as extra protein, and continued enjoying my brunch.
After we finished, I wanted to use the restroom because I knew there was going to be none up in the countryside before my hike, so I decided to just go at this restaurant. I thought "it's not going to be THAT bad and dirty, right?" I mean I have been to dirty bathrooms before and I just use my 'Hover and Kick' method.... WRONG. This bathroom was so dirty I didn't even want to take my pants off because I thought maybe a giant spider or bug will go up my coochie or butthole... Not only that, it was the floor squatting toilets... BARF. AND IT WAS SO SCARY... I was so frightened that I didn't know what to do so I just stood there for a while mentally freaking out trying to decide if I should man up or just leave. Eventually, after about 5 minutes of going back and forth in my head, I decided I was too scared and couldn't do it, so I just left. Quite a fiasco... Luckily, Chen knew of another place with normal toilets, so we went there... Well to my surprise, it was another floor toilet.. WHYY?!?! But this one was by far cleaner than the one at the shack restaurant... I didn't want to keep asking Chen to drive me around to find a normal toilet, so I just mentally told myself "YOU CAN DO THIS! IT'S JUST A TOILET! WHY ARE YOU SCARED?!" So after repeating this mantra 10-15 times, I just did it! I didn't take a shit or anything in this floor toilet, but at least I got to GO. I conquered the floor toilet! Praise the Lord!
After the whole floor toilet debacle, we headed to a gorgeous black water lake, Taman Rekreasi Hutan Luagan Lalak. We were lucky to be out on such a beautiful day. The reflection of the blue skies on the black water left me speechless and I was excited to have my DSLR to capture it. The little floating gazebos and long bridges that allow you to "walk on water" were a fun to run around and take photos.
After the lake, we continued driving deeper and deeper into the jungle. There were many fruit stands on the side of the road infront of run down farms and longhouses. Chen stopped at a little rainbow umbrella fruit stand where a cute old lady was selling Mangostim. Chen got all 5-6 bags that was on the table, all for less than B$10! So cheap! I have never had rambutan before, so the cute old lady picked some off of her tree and gave it to me. It was literally right off the tree branch, and boy was it good! It tasted close to logan and lychee but with a little more sour taste. I reluctantly tried the mangostim that Chen purchased... I was at first apprehensive, because as he opened the fruit, ants swarmed out of the fruit, which terrified me a bit. But to my surprise, it was very tangy and tasty! The fruit itself looks like garlic cloves, but it has a peach like texture surrounding big seeds and protected by a very thick shell. I will definitely try it again! We stopped at some other fruit stands, where I bought seedless (probably genetically altered) red/pinkish rambutan. A whole bag for B$2!!
We finally made it to the little park area where the waterfall trail starts. There were families having picnics out there and swimming out in the creek. It made me miss my family back home, but also happy to see other family and friends enjoying their time together. The trail first started off with nicely paved mossy steps, but shortly after I realized that it won't be like this the whole way. The rest of the trail was made of rocks and leaves everywhere. It was exciting! I had a lot of fun hiking and soaking in my surroundings. It was SO hot and humid, so I sweat pretty badly (I was so glad I didn't shower in the morning). We finally made it to the end of the trail at the water fall, and it was such a sight! It was nice to sit by the cool water, seeing crazy colored butterflies flying and lounging around.
We headed back after some relaxing time and on the way, my clumsy self was not so lucky. I stepped on a mossy rock and slipped all the way down. I swear I saw all of it in slow motion. But I got beat up pretty bad, a big bruise on my knee, cuts on my hands and elbows. There would have been no possible way I would've gone through the hike there and back without getting hurt... I am so clumsy. But even then, clumsiness didn't stop me when I saw a huge vine on the way back. I grabbed a hold of it like George of the Jungle! Well.. probably not like him, but sort of haha.
Once we got back, we drove to this small creek where these little shrimps live. When you place your hand in the water, they come out of hiding from underneath the rocks and start eating the dead skin off of your hands. It was quite an experience! I was actually a bit grossed out because I could feel their little fingers grabbing the dirt from under my finger nails and their mouths eating my skin off! EW! At least I got my hands exfoliated and cleaned for free.
We then started the long drive home (about 1-1.5 hours). On the way down the mountainous area, I saw monkeys crossing the road like it was nothing! Chen took me on a pit stop to Lumut Beach. It was so beautiful at the time we got there. The sun was setting and the reflection of the sunset on the beach was amazing. I watched the little ghost crabs running around. The balls you see in the photos of the beach are what these crabs make. They take all the nutrients and food from the sand and somehow make these little ball leftovers of sand. Again, I am speechless at the things God has created! He truly is an artist!
At the end of the day, of course I had to finish with a jumping picture! Sadly though, I became a victim of sand flies (something I did not discover until now). I have over 20+ bites all over my giant kankles. Damn you Kankles for being so big, and having so much surface area for these sand flies to bit me so much! :(
But all in all, today was a wonderful day. I tried fresh weird fruits, trekked in the jungle, saw HUGE bugs, got my hands cleaned by little creek shrimps, and watched the sunset to the beach. Whew! I'm exhausted and these sand fly bites are killer, so off to bed! Good night!