normally i would eat cereals or get an american breakfast..
we then waited for the bus at 8.30am..coz today we're going to GUA NIAH!!!!or niah caves in english..(if im not this enthusiastic at the end, u'll know why when u get the chance to climb the niah caves..)
at first i wanted to wear my tracks, but my mom said it was ok to wear my jeans..n so i did..the journey lasted for about 1 n 1/2 hour..so we took the chance to replace our sleep..hehe..i took the chance to replenish my ears with loud, screaming music..
the museum also showed pictures of the original method to harvest a birds nest..they either climb the wall caves or they use a kind of stick that hangs from the wall..
here's how it goes..they climb up the long stick that is connected to a Very small 'pelantar' they harvest n they come back down..then they go up another long stick in another place n do the same thing..the most challenging thing abt it is not the climb(do not break into a miley cyrus song) or the altitude..its the darkness..
when we were in there, without any flashlights, it was total darkness..so they hv to go around with...not flashlights, but candles..n imagine the heat from the candle, the wax dripping down n burning the skin..very challenging..unfortunately, their wager does not include the high risk they take..but they get for only their 'crops'..
ok, enough of the history lesson..so, after the museum we started the 3km walk..its just walking on a bridge surrounded by trees..its pretty much nothing, but for those who does not practice walking around a lot n prefer to 'drive' everywhere..well, u mite lose a knee screw..
the first cave we came to is the traders cave..its called the traders cave because ppl used to come to the caves to trade provisions..usually perishable stuff, or ceramics..anything that is valuable..the most intriguing thing abt it its that they set up this kind of 'perancah' made of wood n they don't use nails..
kinda like mahsuri's house in langkawi..where they built it without using any nails..so they connect it by making a hole in a piece of wood n inserting another piece of wood in it...
this is a picture of it..
after the traders cave we went through steps and more walkways and finally reached the niah caves where they harvest the birds' nest n they collect bat guano (droppings) to make fertilizers..u cn imagine how tired we were..but kelly told us there was another cave called the wall painting caves but it was situated on the other side of the niah cave..which means we have to walk thru the niah caves to reach there..and since it was my mom's group tour, only a few wanted to go in..my mom and a pregnant staff stayed behind..so we got ready with our flashlight n our gloves (didn't wnt to get my hands dirty from the bat guano..n started walking (more!)...mite i remind u that a few days before i was sick n had my athma..so i brought my ventolin everywhere i went..even in the caves..
the caves was pretty dark, of course we had to use our flashlights..it was either a flashlight or a candle..n there is no way i wanna burn my clothes over a candle..in the beginning, Kelly told us how to differentiate between a bat n a swallow..dhe said that if u see a vertical black thing, that would b a bat..as it hangs upside down..n if u see a horizontal thing, then its a swallow..i try not to think abt the bats flying over our heads n get bat droppings on my head, or the fact that i cnt see in the darkness n things mite come unexpected in the dark..u do need to be an optimist, n always think ahead..
in the caves they showed us a 'resting stop' that was used long ago for the locals when they were harvesting..but now it has become a historical structure for tourists..a quarter way through the caves, 2 elder ladies decided not to continue n wanted to go back..worried abt their condition, Kelly told them the directions to go back to a resting stop outside the caves..me, K.sue, Roslina Z, Roslina M n her kid Maryam (yayam), Janice, Mrs Tay n Puziah went on..
while we were walking, kelly told us a few things abt the localsa around..(u know how tour guides r...always telling stories) well, since the government released a license to harvest a birds nest, not many locals have been doing it illegally..nowadays, the license shld b passed on to the heir of each family..
for example..lets say my great-great grandad has a harvesting license, when he's passed away he will give the license to my great grandad..n he will pass it on to my grandad...n so on..
and apparently, since the license, they granted the locals their own territory in the caves...at one side only 1 person can harvest, n no1 else..so in the cave u cld hear n see that they have set up camp there to stay in the cave to guard their territory...but of course, they guard it in shifts...think of the guardhouse at school, or some big building...
the journey n the distance to get to the wall painting caves is far more worse..not because its 5km or anything..but bcoz it involves a lot of steps..n im not so good in steps...imagine the batu caves step..well, try going up n down 5 times..that's how it feels like...naturally, my athma hv kicked in by that time..n my mom's friends keep asking if i was ok..wish i cld shout at them n say "im fine..my feet can function very well, just not my breathing"...
then finally with my last breath...i took another step to reach the cave...phew!..i cn tell u that no1 actually bothered to look at the freakin' paintings or whatever..coz every1 was busy pouring water down their face..kelly gave us a few mins rest..( a Few???!!)after a couple of photos, its time to turn back n head back to the rest stop...(TURN BACK???!!)...ok, after calculating everything...the 3km walk..the caves...the distance from the entrance to the wall painting caves is estimated = 5.2km (1-way)...which means, if we went back the same way, we would have walked around = 10.4km....WOW....n yet i still look fat..Crap!..after all that walking, my fat is still glued to my body...wonder what went wrong..
after all that walking, we headed to a nearby restaurant which is 45-60mins to get there...
trust me no1 was thinking abt food...but SLEEP....after we ate, its time to go back to the hotel..n i took the time to rest my bones, my knees n my head while in the bus..
and tomorow will just b another day... :D