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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The popularity of bird-watching

By Cheong Ah Kwan

There are thousands of groups dedicated to bird watching all over the world.  These birding groups range from small, informal gathering of friends to large organizations that hold annual conventions.  There is no doubt that bird watching has become an increasingly popular activity enjoyed by many.  In the United States alone, birding is now a hobby for more than 45 million Americans and the number of birders is continuously on the rise.  

In Malaysia, birding has become a popular hobby.  The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is instrumental in promoting the activity and has even managed to put Fraser’s Hill on the map as an international birding destination.  Among the better known birding festivals celebrated in Malaysia each year are the Raptor Watch, Festival of Wings and Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race.   

For the past eight years, the Malaysian Nature Society in partnership with the Malacca State Government has organized an event in early March known as Raptor Watch at Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson.  The event aimed at raising awareness on the conservation of raptors and their habitats has gained a growing number of followers over the years with bird watchers from all over the world coming to watch the thousands of Oriental Honey Buzzards and Japanese Sparrowhawks make their annual migratory flight home to the north.  

Festival of Wings, held in October at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, is hosted by the Malaysian Nature Society in celebration of local and migratory birds.  Besides bird watching, the event offers an appealing day out for the family and is fast gaining popularity among the locals. 

PRETTY BIRDIE: The pygmy white-eye is one of several
birds found only in mountainous areas. — Photo by Yeo
Siew Teck

In 1988, Fraser’s Hill held its inaugural bird race with just five teams of three.  Yes, fifteen participants in all.  No one could have guessed then that the event would take off to become a top tourism product.  The Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2008, the 21st in its series, had well over two hundred teams!  The event has certainly grown by leaps and bounds and is now a major attraction on the tourism calendar.

Come this October, the Malaysian Nature Society in partnership with the Borneo Highlands Resort will hold their third annual bird race on the island of Borneo.  The resort provides birders with easy access to sub-montane bird species found on the Penrissen Range.  Now birders will be looking at birds from the sea shore to the mountain ranges – Buntal Estuary is an Important Bird Area for migratory birds and two National parks near Kuching will be included - Kubah and Semenggoh. This will add to the challenge of 3 days of bird watching. 

Find out more on www.birdrace2010.borneohighlands.com.my 

Sarawak Bird Race 2010

WHAT is a Bird Race? It is a race from sea to mountain to see how many different types of birds that teams of two can spot in four sites around Kuching, over a set time. All are invited to join the fun and excitement of Bird Races.
 However, there is a serious side. The data collected provides wildlife researchers with background information on bird populations and an understanding of their dynamics, for example fluctuations in populations and species composition.
Our dedicated experts will lead the way beginning with a briefing at the startingpoint, Buntal. After a talk on the water birds to be seen in the area, Bird Racers will head off to Kubah National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and on to the final destination in the Borneo Highlands. Each area has unique flora and fauna — including birds.

Buntal, an Important Bird Area (IBA) is 35km north of Kuching on the way to Damai and Mount Santubong. Recognised IBAs have large numbers of threatened orendemic birds and are key biodiversity areas.
For example, Buntal is a key rest area for migratory shore birds on their way south to overwintering grounds, but resident species, such as the Malaysian plover can be found all year. The shore birds come for the rich feeding grounds because it is a coastal wetland subject to bi-directional tidal currents.

Kubah National Park, the next stop, 20km west of Kuching, is dominated by a sandstone plateau is situated near the Matang Mountains — Serapi, Selang and Sendok. It is Mixed Dipterocarp Forest with an abundance palms and orchids cloaks the mountains. There are four trails. It takes five to six hours to hike to the summit of Mount Serapi. The walk to the waterfall is about two hours. The park is rich in birds including the black hornbill, great slaty woodpecker and the Argus pheasant.

The small 653ha Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is famous for the Orangutan Rehabilitation Programme but it also has a wide range of wildlife including many birds. The main vegetation types are primary Lowland Mixed Dipterocarp Forest with Meranti and Engkabang tree, old secondary forests and patches of kerangas forest.
ELUSIVE: The Argus pheasant (Argusianus argus) is a shy bird more often heard than seen.
The palm Areca ahmadeii is endemic to the reserve. There are five nature walks and each has a different theme for example wild fruit gardens featuring cempedak and durian species and an ethnobotanic garden. Birds seen here include black partridge,long-billed partridge, honeyguide and Bonaparte’s nightjar.
 The Borneo Highlands, about an hour’s drive south of Kuching, is in the Penrissen Range that is recognised internationally as an IBA by Bird Life International, a global partnership of conservation groups. It sits at 1,000 metres above sea level on the Sarawak-Kalimantan border. The vegetation of the mountain changes as the height above sea level increases. In the foothills, much of the land is farmed or has been farmed, however towards the higher elevations tree ferns and other species that are indicative of Lower Montane Forest become more prevalent. The number of species of birds decreases, but in contrast the endemism increases and some species that lucky Bird Racers may glimpse are fruithunter, Everette’s white-eye, cinnamon rumped trogon and mountain wren-babbler.
For a more complete list of possible birds that Bird Racers might see go to
www.worldbirds.org/ malaysia. Are you up to the challenge? To join the Bird Race or to get more information go to www.birdrace2010.borneohighlands.com.my
or contact Bernard via benard@borneohighlands. com.my.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Malaysia Nature Society's new elected committee

MNS Elects its New President!

We are pleased to announce the results of Malaysian Nature Society’s 63rd Annual General Meeting in Johor over this past weekend.

Congratulations and a very warm welcome to our new President, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maketab Mohamed who was elected by MNS members as the new president of MNS. Assoc. Prof Dr. Maketab has been the Chairman of MNS Johor Branch since 2006.

Also elected into office are Vice Presidents Assoc. Prof. Jeffrey Phang Fatt Kong and Kalaimani Supramaniam.

Congratulations to all other elected committee members:


Lim Teck Wyn

Jenny Yow Ngan Chee


Harban Singh

Kanitha Krishnasamy

Catharine Yule

Marathamuthu S

Datin Nadzriyah Jaafar

Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail

We would also like to thank Tan Sri Dr. Salleh and all other past Council Members for their support and dedication. Tan Sri Dr Salleh will continue his role in MNS as its Immediate Past President.


Featuring Tan Wei Kheng

For those who love Borneo and its indigenous communities will know Tan Wei Kheng, our local artist who is famous for his paintings on these lovely people and their life. Here is the featured article in the Peak Malaysia.
For more information:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Bird Race returns for the 3rd time with more activities and plenty of fun

The Bird Race returns for the 3rd time with more activities and plenty of fun. Dubbed the Sarawak Bird Race 2010, this year bird race is on a bigger scale with the tagline “From the Sea to the Mountain”.

The Bird Race is jointly organised by Borneo Highlands Resort (BHR) together with Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) aiming to promote the love and appreciation of nature including birds’ preservation amongst the

What is a Bird Race?
A bird race is a “fun race” where teams of two compete against each other in searching, identifying, and recording as many species of birds within a stipulated time.

Long Race (Buntal – Kubah National Park – Semenggoh Wildlife Centre – Borneo Highlands Resort)
RM100nett per team of two

Short Race (Around Borneo Highlands Resort)
RM60nett per team of two

‐‐Entry Closing Date on 28th September 2010‐‐

The winning teams to be awarded as follows:

1. Long Race:

• 1st Prize – RM2000 Plus 1 year MNS Membership
• 2nd Prize – RM1500 Plus 1 year MNS Membership
• 3rd Prize – RM1000 Plus 1 year MNS Membership
• 4th & 5th – Congratulatory Prizes
2. Short Race:

• 1st Prize – RM500 Plus 1 year MNS Membership
• 2nd Prize – RM350 Plus 1 year MNS Membership
• 3rd Prize – RM250 Plus 1 year MNS Membership
All participants will be given a Certificate of Participation

Attached is the info pack and entry form.http://www.birdrace2010.borneohighlands.com.my/downloads/

Thank You.

-- Borneo Highlands Resort | "Back to Nature, Back to Basics" | Office Tel: (+6) 082-577 930 / 082-578 930 / 082-573 980 / 082-578 980 | Office Fax:(+6) 082-576 680 | Email: postmaster@borneohighlands.com.my |Website: http://www.borneohighlands.com.my | Facebook Page: Borneo Highlands Resort Facebook Page
BHR Annual Events:
BHR Padawan Nature Challenge 2010 : 4th July 2010 (Sunday) | www.nc2010.borneohighlands.com.my
Colours of Nature 2010 : 28th August 2010 (Saturday) - 16th September 2010 (Thursday) | www.cnature2010.borneohighlands.com.my
Sarawak Bird Race 2010 : 8th October 2010 (Saturday) - 10th October 2010 (Sunday) | www.birdrace2010.borneohighlands.com.my

Sales & Management Office Address:
Ground & 1st Floor, Lot 11607-11608, Block 16, RH Plaza, Lorong Lapangan Terbang 1, 93250, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Resort Address:
Jalan Borneo Heights, Padawan, 94200, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: (+6) 019-828 0790 / 019-829 0790

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kinabatangan: A unique place in Sabah

By Cynthia Lobato
Instead of going for a nice fancy dinner for our anniversary my husband and I decided to go on a Photo trip to Sabah, Kinabatangan River at Sukau to photograph birds and other wildlife. This is one of the best places for photography as you can spot animals easier than in the forest since most come to the river.    And now it's a protected area!
We made our arrangements through Connie and Cede Prudente since they have wide boats that are stable and good for setting up a tripod. You can move freely in the boat without causing it to wobble and it is specially designed by Cede who is a well-known Professional Photographer in Sabah. 
His passion is indeed photography and as soon as we arrived in Sandakan he had arranged a trip to a Red Flying Squirrel nest at the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) at the edge of Sepilok Forest Reserve. This is an excellent place for birdwatchers since there is also a canopy walkway and if you are lucky you may see an Orang Utan since the Rehabilitation Centre is also in this area. We set up the camera and waited for the squirrel to wake up. Suddenly at 5pm, I saw his head sticking out of the nest but nothing farther happened. It had no intention of coming out and went back to his nest. But at six he finally came out and walked up to the top of the dead tree where it paused for a while. Suddenly it jumped and spread his legs so that the skin flaps formed a gliding membrane. It glided steeply through the air to the next tree when it was almost dark. I was happy to see him gliding and we managed to photograph him. Next time we will spend some days here.
After dinner we drove to Sukau where Cede has a pleasant lodge with a balcony overlooking the river and facing a cliff. 
At 5.45am the next day we were ready to go coffee and all on our first cruise with Cede, Kenneth the guide and Mojong our boatman.  The Kinabatangan River was so pristine and it was still misty as the birds were waking up in the early morning. We went into a tributary, the Menangul River, and suddenly we saw an eagle right above us. I was so lucky to get a good shot with my simple point and shoot camera. Then there was the sound of a Blue-eared Kingfisher  flying just above the river and then perching on a branch, looking out for small fish to catch. 
Jumping and grumpy sounds of Proboscis Monkeys just waking up and still near the river before they went off into the forest. The sun  shined on their fur and it was beautiful. This river is not so wide and is cool because of all the overhanging trees and ideal for cruising. We saw many other birds but they were very difficult to photograph from a moving boat even though our boatman was very good in keeping the boat still.  We had our breakfast and coffee at a nice shady spot while listening to the jungle sounds.
In the afternoon we went to Resang River, another tributary further downstream and there were Long-tailed Macaques crossing a bridge made by a Japanese researcher.   They were really nasty and kept on fighting for a better spot. A bit farther on were Silverleaf Monkeys and Short-tailed Macaques and than the flapping Hornbills flew over the river. A pair of Rufus-backed Woodpeckers were picking insects off a dead tree.

We did these cruises for a whole week, leaving early morning and coming back at 11, then went off again at 4 till 7.30. We saw all eight species of Hornbills that exist in Borneo, and Hans managed to photograph some of them when they flew across the river. One of the highlights was the White-crowned Hornbill, a beautiful bird and he was very near in a wild mango tree with a strangling fig tree gripping its trunk.  I managed to take an excellent picture. I have never seen all these species in Sarawak but here at the Kinabatangan it is very easy to spot them since they often fly across the river and also no one hunts them since the local people, the Orang Sungai, know that this is a good place for tourists to visit.  They are fishermen and they earn extra income from the visitors.  We saw huge Crocodiles and it was so spectacular to see them submerging . Suddenly we saw a Stork-billed Kingfisher hunting and catching small fishes and than coming back to his perch. One of the highlights was a Hooded Pitta since it’s a very shy and beautiful bird and so difficult to photograph because it is usually looking for worms in the dark understory of the rain forest. Spotting this bird is much desired by serious birdwatchers. This place is full of wildlife and impossible to mention all that we have seen. 

We saw an Orang Utan making his nest high up in a tree and his fur caught the last sunlight before the river went into darkness. Our night cruise was also interesting and saw frogs and probably a Clouded Leopard nearby.  We enjoyed the sounds of the crickets and the changing from day to night sounds.  Suddenly the birds were looking for a place to sleep  and we also headed of to the lodge.   It was an unforgettable week and worth visiting again.
MAJESTIC: An eagle soars above the Menangul River.

NICE SURPRISE: One of the highlights was spotting this
white-crowned hornbill.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Limestone landforms

STUNNING SETTING: White limestone cliffs are visible from Camp 5 at Mulu National Park.
By Alan Rogers

WHILST recently driving across the Mendip Hills in Somerset, UK — a hill mass made of 250 million old Carboniferous limestone — I thought of the other limestone areas I have visited in the UK,Slovenia, Malta, Crete, and Madagascar, but far from least those in Malaysia,Vietnam and China.
What have these places in common? Karst scenery or landforms made in massive limestone — a limestone containing impurities laid down on the ocean beds up to 350 million years BP(Before Present Time) and subsequently uplifted through world plate movements to dry out on exposure to air.
As the limestone was deposited in the sea, it developed layers often with deposits of alluvium and
sand in between layers of calcium carbonate. Fossils can often be seen in the rocks.
These layers were separated by horizontal cracks along bedding planes and as the sediments were
gradually uplifted from the seabed, the limestone dried out and contracted creating vertical cracks called joints.The very word karst derives from the Slovenian language and was adopted in 1893 by a Serbian Professor Jovan Civjic. The landforms produced in karst areas are the direct result of solution action.
Rainwater (H2O) combines with atmospheric and soil carbon dioxide (CO2) to create a mild or aggressive carbonic acid (H2CO3) to dissolve limestone (CaCo3).
This is a reversible process as witnessed in stalagmites and stalactites in caves —dripstone features — made of calcite once the water and CO2 have evaporated. The rainwater percolates through the soil into the joints and along the bedding planes underground whilst dissolving the limestone en route.
It is in the tropical and subtropical humid climates where the greatest variety of karst and most striking
landforms are seen, especially at Gunung Mulu, Gunung Api, Niah, Bau, and Santubong in Sarawak;
Gomantong and Madai Caves near Sukau and Semporna respectively in Sabah; in the Kinta Valley,
Perak; at Bukit Batu in Selangor; the Langkawi Islands; South Central Java; Haiphong Bay in Vietnam; Papua New Guinea; and at Guilin alongside Lijang River, Guangxi, China. The Karst Geology Institute is located in China.
Remember the characteristic tower scenery depicted in classical Chinese paintings, rising on either
bank of the meandering Lijang River? These are the very products of humid tropical karst processes.
What have all these areas in common? Limestone bedrock albeit of different geological ages ranging from 350 to 150 million years BP and all containing impurities. They are massive limestones with the
mechanical strength to support cave roofs for thousands of years, all apart from the Niah Caves at Gunung Subis where the limestone is only 20 million years old.
Professors Yuan and Zhang at the Guilin Institute have identified three typesof karst scenery applicable
to all Southeast Asian areas:
1. Fengcong — composed of clustered residual hills joined together at the base with closed depressions into which water drains downwards. (Cockpit karst as it is termed in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.)
2. Fengling — lesser relief with valleys dividing up the hills (peak forest plain).
3. Kufeng — low hills scattered over wide alluvial plains.

German geomorphologists recognised two specific forms of macrokarst in tropical areas — Turmkarst (Tower Karst) and Kegelkarst (Skittle shaped Karst).
Turmkarst (Fengcong) rise like islands from a plain and are steep sided residual limestone towers some 100 to 300 metres high.
It is currently thought that structural controls — the angle that the limestone was pushed upwards, may play a large part in the creation and preservation of tower karst.
Where natural forest is retained, as in New Guinea and at Santubong, the towers are covered with vegetation and vertical rock faces are hidden by plant growth with the roots of taller trees penetrating the joints. Forest litter accumulates in depressions, hollows and niches.
Chemical reactions double for every 10 degree Celsius increase in temperature, thus in high mean annual temperatures, high annual rainfall and high intensity of rainfall areas, as in Malaysia, there is rapid solution and removal of limestone. Rapid plant growth and decay and intense microbiological activity also make tropical water very aggressive. It has been recorded that soil CO2 values are greatest in the wet season.
With a worldwide rise in sea level, some 10,000 BP to the present, since the melting of the ice of the
Pleistocene glaciations, the tower karst of Haiphong Bay, Vietnam and at Langkawi have created an
archipelago with islands and inlets, in a shallow sea, fringed with mangroves and tidal flats.
At Guilin, as in the Kinta Valley, accumulations of alluvium have sealed off the permeable limestone below to allow rivers to flow in and around the tower karst. There the rivers undercut the base of the towers creating notches as indeed waves do where limestone cliffs occur on the coast.
It is interesting to observe caves at different heights in tower karst scenery, nowhere better exemplified
than at Coffin Cliff in Danum Valley, Sabah, where dead people were hauled up in coffin boats to their fihigh altitude caves.
How did these caves get tosuch a great height? The answer is relatively simple for as the continents collided and the limestone was gradually squeezed upwards those high level caves were created at land base level and then slowly uplifted.
The same principle applies to the Batu Caves at Bukit Batu, with today its Hindu temple, and to the Niah Caves where abandoned river gravel and deep accumulations of bat and swiftlet guano cover the floors.
Our Malaysian caves, whilst bearing witness to water penetration of the limestone along the joints and bedding planes, have some of the oldest and most compacted limestones in the world, similar to the French and Slovenian caves.
The rock in all three countries were uplifted from the sea at identical times during the Alpine orogeny
(orogenesis = mountain building) when the Indian sub continent slammed into Eurosia and Africa also hit Eurasia.
Yet the Gunung Api pinnacles at Mulu are harder than the Melinau limestone at Mulu Caves and thus
stand out as vertical sharp edged features due virtually to the vertical alignment of the bedding planes as the limestone was thrust upwards. As for the caves created initially at the base of the limestone, where rivers in flood, in monsoon conditions rushed over the impermeable rock below, Malaysia tops the world.
Locally, the Wind and Fairy Caves at Bau well exhibit the scalloping on their walls of rising waters of
past times with some interesting dripstone features and easily seen swiftlet nests.
Equally accessible caves are at Gunung Subis near Miri where in the 1950s Tom Harrison pioneered
anthropological research on humans living there in Pleistocene (Ice Age) times 40,000 years BP.
There the Great Cave is well worth visiting, but wear headlamps and avoid tripping over the guano
collectors’ tents. On a short flight from Miri, in good weather, look out for the rock pinnacles of Gunung Api and then explore the Sarawak Chamber at Good Luck Cave (Lubang Nasib Bagus),
a spectacular cave system 700 metres long x 400 metres wide and some 280 metres high.
This article is written in memory of my former tutor at Oxford University in the 1960s. Dr Marjorie Sweeting was a world expert on karst morphology and abseiled, at over 60 years of age, on the Royal Geographical Society Expedition to Sarawak (1970), down Gunung Mulu to discover new caves.
Had she been alive today, I just wonder what her findings would have been, for certainly she would have helped sort out the continuing debate on the origins of tropical karst landforms. Good tower karst
and cave hunting and further exploration.

For further revelations, go to Liz Price Caves and Limestone Hills of Malaysia (www.cavesofmalaysia.com), www.forestry.sarawak.gov.my, http://en.wikipedia.org/ 
wiki/Niah_Caves, www.karst.edu.cn, or Karst Topography of Sarawak by Wilford GE and Wall JRD
(1965), Journal of Tropical Geography Vol 21.

Race to record the most birds


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin

Dearest Members,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Council, Branches and secretariat, we would like to wish all our muslim members Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin. As the Ramadhan month comes to an end, we hope to usher in the Syawal with happiness, forgiveness and good will to all mankind, as well as a step closer to a greener, more sustainable future.
We would also like to announce a historical event which will take place in October, MNS’s 70th Anniversary International Conference and Royal Dinner. For more details, please check the MNS website.
The 63rd MNS National AGM is happening this month of the 25th September 2010 at the beautiful mystical Gunung Ledang. One of the highlight of this AGM is the Election of Council and Board of Trustees. I urge all members to exercise your voting rights by completing the postal ballot form which you should receive over the next few days.  For more information, go tohttp://www.mns.my/article.php?aid=303
Don’t forget to Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle while enjoying the celebration spirit this Hari Raya. Have a blessed holiday to all!
Best Wishes,
Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor.
Malaysian Nature Society

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Follow the staircase to heaven.

BEAUTIFUL: The spectacularly peaceful view over the Padawan valley.

By Cynthia Lobato

Back in April, I was invited to go along with a friend and her group to Kampung Semban, a Bidayuh village 12km from the site of the Bengoh Dam.

I knew it was hilly terrain but, since I have done several hiking trips, decided to join them. I have always wanted to see this village, which is famous because of the seven ladies with rings 
around their feet and hands. This is now unique in Sarawak.
At 9.30am, the driver fetched me from my house and we drove to the highlands and stopped at the Bengoh Dam.
First we had to walk through scrub on a well maintained path through lalang grass and rubber trees.
The trail also led us through a bamboo forest and an open field, which made it a bit hot since the humidity was around 100 percent.
I had also never crossed a river on a bamboo bridge and thought this was really cool.While I heard it cracking and felt it swaying, I decided to stop in the middle, take my camera out for a picture
and put the camera back while still holding firm with one hand on the handrail so as not to fall into the river or drop my camera.
We crossed three bamboo bridges and one was clearly the longest and highest. on this bridge but since we had to continue, there was no time to play around.
I was glad that there were many resting places and I noticed that there were a lot of porters carrying everything on their backs to villages above the dam since there is no other transport.
Their loads were pretty heavy and I guess some had more than 30kg on their backs. The youngest porter I met was only 16 and very strong and fit.
I heard from a friend that these bamboo bridges need repairing every eight months since the bamboo becomes brittle over time and can break.
Many people cross these with loads that include furniture, televisions and whatever villagers uphill need.
Friends of Semban made nice T-shirts to sell in Kuching to raise money for the repair of these bridges and for school necessities.
Lunch was at the first waterfall near Kampung Bojong and it is a bit sad to know that soon this place will be history when they close the dam and the land is flooded.
After lunch it got tough, since we had to climb the staircase to heaven and it seemed to have no end — it went on and on.
When you think you’re almost there, there are still more stairs to climb and it costs a lot of energy and sweat.
At 6pm, I finally reached the kampung just before the rain. Our host Sagen Aden, the headman, and his wife Kipin welcomed us and we
stayed three days. The food was very tasty. They served pansuh (chicken cooked in bamboo) the first day and all the veggies were from his garden — no pesticides.
It was a beautiful evening under the stars while we had dinner outside. It was cool and there were no mosquitoes or noise.
The next morning, we missed the sunrise since it was very cloudy after the rain but the group went to a waterfall a two-hour walk
from the village on a steep and slippery path. I decided to stay behind and Sagen took me around the village.
I saw one of the ladies with the rings, probably in her 80s, in the early morning with a basketful of wood for cooking. She was very fit and walked fast. People grow most of their food there and get fresh eggs from chickens that roam freely.
They also grow chewing tobacco and it was probably time to dry it since it had just been harvested. First the ladies sliced tleaves into small pieces and then dried them in the sun before they kept them in
their storage room. It was very nice walking around the village and I had a good time.
We went to see a bamboo musician and his wife was one of the ladies with rings and their grandson one of the porters.
Early the next morning after breakfast, we started walking back and the mountains were spectacular.
Since I walked by myself, I could take pictures and enjoy the quietness and it was less tough going down until we came to the village near the first waterfall.
An old man was making his own parang. Life is so peaceful in those villages. There are no cars and pollution, only the clucking of chickens. It was hot that day and the last part walking in the open
was difficult. Suddenly the sky darkened and just before I reached the last steep hill, it started raining. I was soaked when I reached the
cars. I was glad I did this trip although it was steeper
than I expected, but it was worth meeting all these wonderful people at Semban and seeing the area before it is flooded and gone forever.
CAREFULLY: Villagers walk on a Semban trail bamboo

NEVER-ENDING: The staircase to heaven goes on and on.