Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Don't you worry about an inherent dislike of your nationality from the indigenous people of a foreign country. Let me worry about blank.
Today was exactly what I was hoping for from this trip. We charted a small boat to a close island and just started walking. There was no one working the kiosk at the end of the dock where we were dropped off, so we just started looking for a trail head. The person we talked to about where we should go seemed preoccupied with the fact that we shouldn't be in the seemingly exclusive, members-only scuba diving club we had walked into. She just pointed us in a direction and said go. So we did. A few minutes into the walk, a dog, seemingly of black lab persuasion, joined us, and we started our journey. The trek took us at least 4 hours, and the dog stayed by our side every minute. We walked through Shire-esque flora, and over rickety bridges and through intermittent rain. Monkeys screamed at our presence, but remained hidden in the canopy. We walked and talked and went down every different path we saw. Eventually we came to a series of high-wire wooden bridges and I ran across them (with my ever-present neglect for personal safety) as Jason and Poochy (our new travel companion) seemed more skeptical of their ability to support our weight. We ended up at a swanky, exclusive resort and spa on the other side of the island. Our presence was met with stares and questions. Two sweaty foreigners emerging from the jungle with a dog was apparently a strange sight to the employees of this establishment. We were told our presence would be tolerated, and we looked around for a bit. Eventually a man came out to talk to us. I can only assume he was the manager of the place. His English was great and his disposition was equal parts friendly and inquisitive. "Who are you? Where are you staying? How did you get here? Is this your dog? We responded to each question in kind and asked him how to get back to the trails. He walked with us for quite some distance, even back into the jungle with us for a ways. He told us he couldn't believe we were walking around by ourselves, and it was very strange we didn't have a guide. "Everybody gets a guide." He said "You're not supposed to walk around here like this." We said thanks and started back off onto the trail. We had to meet the captain of our small boat, and we knew we were already late. On the way back, our journey was stalled by the appearance of a family of monkeys. They screamed at our intrusion, and seemed alarmed by our canine companion. The alpha male dared himself closer and the babies and mother stayed in the trees. We sat and watched them for awhile and then started our trip back to the port. On return, it was raining and our captain had a sour look on his face and just grimly nodded when I said "Late?". We rode in silence back to the mainland and rewarded our days physical expenditure with gin and veggie burgers. Sorry I can't post a photo. I'm in our hotels lobby, hogging the computer and receiving some resenting and annoyed stares.