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travel tail. stage nine  

It was a really difficult ride through the rugged terrain. As the ride progressed into dusk, I decided to look for a place to stay which was imperative with the prospect of impending rain. The villages were doted throughout regions between dense forest, and with no sign of tourist lodges the only option was to ask around. I approached a shop keeper who had called out ‘tourist’. He pointed to a track that went further off the main road. There an old wooden bench stood under a small shed.

Thanking the shop keeper I venturing along the track that winded through dense forest, then realising night fall was upon me, I wondered that maybe the shop keeper meant that I should camp on the wooden bench. Trying not to dwell on this simple misinterpretation I continued down the track. It was when the track began to show signs of crumbling off at the edge into a gully that I took out a torch and sipped an energy drink. Somewhat further along track there appeared phosphorescent like nodes on ferns. The sight of these startled me, for it was as if a thousand eyes gazed in every direction, although on close inspection they were a kind of glowing fungi.

The other feature of this detour were the hosts of large jumping ants crawling all over the path, possibly in search of food. To avoid being bitten I placed the long trouser legs into my shoes, and sprayed them with insect repellent. When they jumped on my leg I used a technique like when green ants do their thing. Try not to let them get past your knees. Lucky for me it was only a short section of the track.

Continuing on for a bit into the dense forest I came upon a small opening that led to what seemed like a temple complex. It was there that a group of men were gutting fish. Spread on large palm leaves were what appeared to be intestines. They smiling and waving and signalled that I should inspect the a rather large fish that looked like a marlin.

Its red flesh shown when the flames licked the air, as it must have been caught that day. They pointed in the direction of the clouds indicating an on coming downpour. Place to camp? After some references to sleep, we came to a kind of understanding, given they pointed to a hut at the end of the temple complex. Some were preparing the fish, whist others were interested in the bike and red panniers. After a while they dispersed into various activities that included offerings within the temple, consisting of flowers and incense.

As I watched the fire spring to a surge of yellow flames when small twigs kindled it, and a large pot with great care placed over it, all of a sudden a thundering sound seemed to sweep through the canopy in the distance. This indicating probable rain was only minutes away. Everyone sprang into action and all things were placed under the large tarpaulin held by really strong twin that appeared to have been made from dried intestines.

The joys of travel with all its permutations. The remote areas are friendly people, ready to extend help to a wayward traveller.

This seemed as good a place as any to take rest for the night. The local villagers kindly offered a portion of steamed banana and rice with a little fish, which I ate with gratitude. We drank a small quantity of locally made spirit made from a palm sap. After a while, melodious waling mournful songs filled the dark damp night.

The sense was that participating through being a guest as traveller was enough. However I did offer a sum of money as a donation, and was pointed to place it in a small wooden box near the temple area. Soon I took rest in a small grass hut, and awoke the next morning with views over a ravine to the ocean. Feeling refreshed after a deep sleep I set off the next morning ready for the next part of the journey.

Steamed banana, so sweet.

A narrow track to temple complex

Traditional hut

View from the hut

   
     
     
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