Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leech Me Baby One More Time

This post dedicated to Chloe Chin

Not sure who's sexy finger is this - either Langkau or Stephen.

They're the most harmless things in the jungle. Of course it's a given. I've already mentioned why I am uncomfortable with these blood suckers. That's excluding Langkau's Tiger Leech story of course. Everytime you find something harmless about the leech (its painless just itches a little after) you hear something new (Tiger Leech hurts like an angry woman's nails on an open wound). What next? A Teenage Mutant Ninja Leech that has throwing stars and disappears in smoke?

To be honest my first memorable encounter with these SOBs was during a recce trip for an outdoor even about 7-8 years ago. We were having trials for the 30 most fittest outdoor athletes around a dam in Ulu Langat to pick a team to represent Malaysia at the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest in China. We had heard about a 200 meter waterfall in the jungles from the local orang asli but we were still trying to find the old trails thus we had to go in by boat. We more or less see the water fall from afar make a note of it's vicinity to the old trail which we somehow make out in the thick brush and head back to our boat.

On our way out our boat gets stuck in the shallow stream. We try to move along by pulling the over hanging branches from the trees. We're making slow progress when i heave onto a branch and a nest made of leaves, twigs and hundreds of tiny wriggling leeches falls into the boat. i admit I was two screams short of a scared school girl. The shock factor was one. I kicked the nest into the water but it still left a whole battalion now in hunting mode in the boat. I tried cutting them with my knife but i just couldn't. Some of them were even as small/fine as a thread. A couple quickly wriggled into my shoe through the mesh while i wiped the rest into the reservoir with a cloth. Suffice to say i was the laughing stock among the 2 orang asli and a local from the village nearby who spent their time in the jungles. bastards......

The prep and managment of the outdoor trials made me very intimate with the leeches of Malaysia.

After the recce, clearing of the trails, yada yada, we're ready for the full on event.

I have 250 people in the jungles from marshals, rescue crew, life guards in boats, officials from the triathlon association. Its a beautiful Saturday morning. The mists comes in from the east, the sun is just rising behind it and it's softly reflected in the calm waters of the dam. Its cold in the morning as the last boat drops off it's load of personnel in the drop off zone in the distance. I am happy with the hot coffee in my hand as I sit on the wall of the dam. Life is good.

Has anyone ever heard 200 odd screaming people over a walkie talkie? No? well I can tell you it WILL raise the hair on your balls. All i can hear is "FAAAAK! FUK! FARK FUKFUKFUK!!! LEEEEEECHHES! " followed with fuck in Cantonese and Mandarin and someone swearing at my mother in Hokkien. Well its not 200 at a time as on the walkies you get to hear only one other person on the other end but all stations were calling in frantically. At 8am in the morning in the jungle, they were the only warm bodies around and the leeches were coming out of the ground by the hundreds (this is according to what i could make out from their shouts).

I am really not sure what to do but I just bark into the walkie that we'll get someone to drop off some salt. I look around and my Finance Director is nearby. "Dude can you go to the town and get some salt!"

He gives the OK sign and rushes off in his car.

He gets back. Plastic bags are loaded into the 3 boats and they make off. I radio ahead for the folks to send someone to the temporary jetties that we had built to pick up the salt.

The last boat comes back.



I sigh in relief.

The walkie crackles alive. I await gushes of gratitude.

"WHATTHEFUCK Chindi did you buy FUCKING ROCK SALT?????? Do you want us to throw it at the leeches ah??????????"

Never send someone from finance to do a man's job.....

Of course there are other stories of my encounters - my scouts coming back from recce trips with leeches camped out at their balls, about that time a group and I got stuck at the wrong side of Bukit Tabur and we were too exhausted to climb back up and had to make our way to the Karak highway and how we ended up on the highway bloodied from burst leeches (well not me but thats a story for another day). It's not easy flagging a cab down on a highway already known for its stories on hauntings when you have 7 bloodied clowns standing on the side waving like mad an hour short of twilight.

BUT like I said, these leech motherfukers, i cant do anything about them in the jungles. If I go in I guess i have to pay the 'toll charges' but they're not getting a free meal from this Chindian. And if they're planning on reaching up to Lil Chindi for some loving nestling they better have a gift voucher to the Pussycat Dolls dressing room. Make that shower room.

The overly greedy leech that overloaded on Stephen Baya's crimson goodness during our trek from Ba Kalalan to Bario.

Some facts about leeches:
1. Now being used for medical treatment in hospitals. Charges from rm8 to rm200 per leech depending on where you get it.( Langkau! can verify the rate ka? I think the Cap Apek fuked up my memory a bit)

2. The leech is easiest to pull off when its moving. When it's got it's on suction ass mode and waving around its a bit tough but still nothing a spiteful flick of a bitchy finger wont solve.

3. The story about wound being infected if you pull it off during 'the sucking' MAY be an urban legend according to Langkau who has enough leech girl friends to be considered an expert.

4. After secreting their blood thinning enzymes, it takes the bleeding a minimum of 2 hours to stop. On average only and not a strict rule. Itching can last for a week. Although an experiment to prove a theory that stopping the flow by sticking a small piece of Chinese newspaper to it worked in an Ulu Langkat coffee shop. Witnesses were myself, Mr Chan Chee Seng (Triathlon Association of Malaysia and Yuen Li ( Nomad Adventures). All 3 of us were bitten and we stuck the paper on our respective wounds and the blood flow stopped within 15 to 30 minutes. - can just put it down to one of those things...

5. Leeches fuck themselves.

6. Keeping them away:
- Leech socks
- Tobacco leaves (rubbing them on your legs and pants)
- spraying Ridsect on your shoes and pants - the one in the Red can, not that environmentally friendly water based shit
- sprinkling ash (not 100%)
- sprinkling salt on them
- burning them with a cigarette sometimes gives them an orgasm

* Thanks to Langkau for sharing his pictures with me

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