Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Lonely Planet's Langkau Follies

Langkau strikes on a global level! I am now honored that I now have TWO menaces to society whom I call friends.

Take a read above on from Lonely Planet. Pay attention to the section that describes the 3 day hike from Ba Kalalan to Bario as "mostly gentle terrain".

It's gentle if you're a Big Foot's virgin cousin Sam or a Wookie or mabe an Avatarian Smurf or are they referred to as Pandorian Smurfs?

But enough of the drama - the Ba Kalalan to Bario trail in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak are far from "gentle" if you're a city slicker with basic fitness who is not used to carrying a minimum 10kg pack for up to 8 hours a day. This information is deceiving because "gentle" is the same territory as "pleasant" which was the key word used by Langkau to described the trail to me last year.

But Langkau spends his time in the jungles making sweet love to a Chap Ah Pek bottle with his Penan friends, the sexy poster boys for tree huggers the world over. He loves the jungle and it grows on him like a second skin.

His point of references are not for us normal folk who need to walk on two feet. OK, lets get real, Langkau's fitness is still MUCH higher than mine which is limited to a weekly training regiment of one 2hour futsal session on Monday and a one hour frolic in the Gasing Hills over the weekend. Therefore "gentle" and "pleasant" to him means "motherfrodo" in my language.

BUT, Langkau is a respected voice internationally and many seek his advice and wise words.

SO, when Lonely Planet writer Daniel Robinson asked Langkau about the trail (Mr Robinson never really did the trail), Langkau told him to ask the locals of Bario.

Thats like asking the Devil if it's OK to wear a sweater in Hell.

The locals of Bario and the surrounding highlands live the moutains. Going to the grocer means trekking (with a bufffalo) at least 2 days to the nearest store. Getting steaks for a BBQ means a 3-7 day hunting trip for wild boar in the jungles.

So, yes. I can say that I would like to correct Lonely Planet by saying the Ba Kalalan to Bario Trail is not really "gentle". It's CHALLEGING. Go HERE for my pouty bitchy account.

And to future Lonely Planet writers, Langkau IS and ALWAYS will be the heart and soul of Sarawak. And he's definitely one of the foremost and most knowledgable persons about the state. However it's best to remember that he's not quite human and also to get to him before Sarawakian happy hours begin.

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