EXT. OVERNIGHT HUT BY RIVER - EARLY MORNING
Today's set of summiters are rising and someone is setting out breakfast for them. Sun is low in the sky. The speed of the film gradually accelerates. Summiting parties set off. Film becomes even faster and the sun rises quickly
CUT TO:INT: SLEEPING AREA OF HUT
Frantic scenes of packing. Mosquito nets being dismantled, bags currently empty are being filled by weary looking bunch of Intrepid travelers. While progress is being made clearly this isn't the most efficient pack up we've ever seen.
FADE TO:EXT: PATH THROUGH JUNGLE
Group are walking in a line, trudging back along the 8km path. It is flat but no-one looks enthused to be humping their pack back the way they came. Little talking is evident and the camera follows the group through the jungle. Someone stops to remove a layer, clearly it is getting hotter with the sound of a cool river tantalisingly close.
CUT TO:EXT: PATH THROUGH JUNGLE
The group have stopped and John the guide is holding what looks
like a small apple in his hand and is addressing the group while
everyone is looking on attentively. Except perhaps Natasha who is
listening to music on her ipod.
JOHNSo this is the jungle apple, it's very salty. Would anyone like to taste it?
(a heavy pause while everyone contemplates the small fruit)
I'll give it a go.
ZOOM TO:EXT: CLOSE UP OF STEVE FACE
Steve is biting into the apple with gusto. As the flavor hits his mouth he grimaces but chews and swallows the bite.
PAN OUT TO:EXT: GROUP SHOT SAME LOCATION
Steve is offering the rest of the apple to the group who all look away or politely point out that they don't wish to spoil their lunch. The rest of the apple is thrown back into the jungle.
Yep, that's salty.
FADE TO:EXT: GROUP LOADING BAGS ONTO BOAT ON RIVER BANK
Bags are stowed on the boat. Colin is looking upriver where they have come from with a thoughtful look, wondering why they didn't get on the boats earlier and float downriver rather than walk. When the boat is packed everyone clambers on board, Colin and Eleanor sit at the back of the second boat allowing Colin to lean back on the bags. He looks smug and comfy while everyone else is suffering hard wooden seats.
CUT TO:EXT: CLOSE UP OF COLIN IN THE BOAT
The boat is making good progress down stream and we can see the driver just behind Colin's head working the outboard hard to maneuver the boat down stream. Colin looks relaxed laid back on the pile of bags. After a little time his eyes start to glaze over and eventually close as he dozes off to sleep.
CUT TO:INT: A TABLE IN THE DINNER AREA OF AN EXPENSIVE COUNTY MANSION
Seated around the table are Orangutans having a tea party. Clearly this is a dream. The Orangutans are dressed in DJ's and are engaged in lively conversation with a human waiter attending their needs. The Orangutan at the head of the table stands and taps his glass bringing the rest of the table to attention.
HEAD ORANGUTAN (in a very English Oxford accent)
Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to celebrate...
CUT TO:NORMAL NARRATION:
Our boat bottomed out and with a jerk I was awake again. Despite several patches of dozing on the way back I never did find out what they were celebrating but I like to think it was a successful human breeding program re-introducing us back into the wild.
Back to a more traditional diary, we stopped at our accommodation for lunch before Wesley, Cherie, TJ, Leona, Eleanor and I opted for a jungle walk on the way to the bat caves where we would meet the rest of the group later. Naturally Wesley was the by the expected 20 minutes late but soon we were off strolling along a boardwalk into the jungle once again. With the temperature getting into the humid game in a big way it was surprisingly tiring ambling along listening to our guide point out all manner of flora around us. I began to wonder whether this was an optional activity too far and we might have been better off having a snooze to catch up with my dream. However, the canopy walk we arrived at 1.5km later more than made up for energy sapping stroll. This canopy walk had 17 sections suspended high above the jungle floor and was easily the shakiest we had seen so far. Wesley and Cherie decided to do the first weight test and all seemed well so we joined them. We had great views of the jungle, which if you've been paying attention to the last couple of weeks means lots of green. We did also spot a pit viper curled up on a branch, probably wondering why climbing a thirty foot tree isn't enough to get a bit of peace around here.
With the jungle walk finished we pushed on further into the jungle, meeting with the rest of the group before stopping at a viewing station for a much needed quick drink. John then took us into the largest cave in the world, home to two million bats and their associated droppings. These formed large mounds which had a distinctive odour which I can assure the reader will never feature in any perfume. Apparently these bats fly out each night and consume 15 tonnes of insects from the forest each and every day. I can only assume that they haven't been feeding anywhere near where we have been recently, or else they are leaving plenty of mosquitoes behind, literally, for a rainy day. The bats themselves were huddled on the roof in what looked like a large black smear and after walking the length of the cave and back again we retreated to the viewing station to hopefully watch the bats emerge for their night time feed. This hope turned out to be a little optimistic and after some time the rangers came out to say that the bats had used the back entrance and we'd have to plan another holiday to see them another day. Our time hadn't been all waste with a family of monkeys doing their best to entertain the ready made crowd by climbing the shear rock face behind us but it was scant consolation as we trudged back to base.
Our evening meal turned out to be slightly harder than we had hoped. Siam had mentioned something about a BBQ at a local restaurant but since this was a 'free' night for food (as in we pay so we had the 'free' choice to go where we like) some people stayed at the accommodation to eat. Eleanor and I wondered over to the BBQ to see what was going on and found a few of the others there looking at 15 portions of food already being cooked. It seems that Siam's casual remark about perhaps coming back for a BBQ had been taken as a firm order by the owner and she wasn't at all pleased to hear that we may not all be turning up. Wesley soon decided to leave the meat well alone which by this point left Eleanor, Steve and myself being told that we had to cover everyone else's food bill. With the option of a highly expensive and excessive meal in a tense atmosphere not that appealing we left Siam to try and make some peace. Back at our accommodation we were partly through ordering when they had a phone call from our favorite BBQ restaurant telling them not to serve us! Steve employed his 'you have to be firm with these people' voice and made it clear we were here to eat and that the clearer and more present danger was standing in front of them and wasn't at the end of a phone. This seemed to do the trick but they did start to shut up before bringing out Steve's order, although with a little prompting they made it in a hurry and all the food tasted first class so all was well.