JUNGLES OF TEMBURONG
We will only be here for two weeks, so we didn’t waste much time slacking. We straightaway embarked on our normal exercises. I think by this time you would know the routine. Topography and then mission exercise. Initially I dreaded coming. Well I dread NS and travelling anyway. I already disliked the forests in Singapore and now we have to spend days in the thick jungles of Temburong. But I mentioned last week, apparently this was the best overseas trip ever.
Our first foray into the jungle was for our topography exercise. I was pleasantly surprised. The jungle was clean. Really. It was clean. It has hilly ranges, tropical vegetation and climate, hot and humid, but it was clean. You can smell the clean air, the clean breeze. It was so clean that I was surprised that there were no mosquitoes. I was expecting the mozzies to buzz around us like in Singapore, but no. There were no mosquitoes.
There were no rubbish on the jungle floor. None. No plastic, wrappers, tin cans, etc. Nothing. I was very happy. Anyway, we were also told not to litter. This rule is very strict. We were told to respect the spirit of Temburong. Before we left camp, we had to lay out everything that we brought on the floor. They will be checked and tabulated. Everything including combat ration packets, instant noodles, ziploc bags, cigarette packs. We are told to keep our rubbish until we get back to camp after the exercise where they will check again that we brought back the same things that we brought out. Especially the empty packets and plastics. I don’t know what would happen if it didn’t tally though. We were just told that we would be punished somehow.
My HQ section was attached with section 1 this time for the topography exercise. I think we were out for 4 days 3 nights. Maybe. As I mentioned above, Temburong has hilly ranges. We were told to always stay at the side or the top of the range. Never ever go down to the valleys unless we need to collect water from the streams. The streams had clean running water. We would fill our water bottles with the water from the streams. We were also supplied with purifying tablets. We would fill the bottles and place one tablet in the bottle. It was yucky to me. It tasted like swimming pool water due to the chlorine from the tablets. I held on for a day I think. Until I was too thirsty, I gave up on the chlorine tabs. We then got our drinking water from the rain. I tell you…. the rain water tasted so good. So clean and pure. It was the tastiest water I’ve ever drank. I didn’t even bother to put chlorine tablets in the rain water. I told the rest of the guys, they agreed it was the tastiest water ever. None of us used the chlorine tablets anymore. And since it rained quite often in Temburong, we had constant supply of drinking water.
(Sadly, a number of weeks before this blog was posted, it was announced that rain water on earth is no more safe for drinking unless treated due to forever chemicals. And these chemicals are man made. I was very sad when I read the news.)
Here comes the best part of being in Temburong. We are not allowed to move at night. Night activities were strictly not allowed, due to the thick jungle vegetation, hilly range and ever changing streamlines after rain. So once comes 1800hrs, we would stop all activities and rest for the night. Relax, unpack our stuff, cook instant noodles, fix our sheltered hammocks on the trees. Oooh we were also not allowed to sleep on the ground so hammocks were made compulsory. By 2000hrs, we would already be hanging in our hammocks, chatting or already in deep sleep only to wake up again at 0700hrs the next day. It was heaven. 12 good hours of rest in the army. You can never get that even in camps in Singapore.
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).