Our guides were Nassir, together with his father-in-law, Apai and his brother-in-law, Likung. They were very accommodating, warm and friendly, and had since become the standard I measure all other guides with. I think I learnt more in that one day than one week in University!
I call this picture: BUTTress 😉
Right, so anyway, when we arrived, we were served breakfast, and then after the general introductions to his family, his wife and such, we were sent on our way across the Motong River on a longboat so we may start our jungle trek. The trek was easy and leisurely, and we had enough time to take pictures, and once in a while Nassir will stop to show us interesting herbs, plants or animals that are used daily in the traditional Iban way of living.
Here are some of the memorable ones:
Fiddlehead (Pakis): A type of forest fern, which can be very good for healing wounds. Apparently eaten most by women after childbirth while in confinement.
Our national flower, the Simpur. I’ve featured the leaf in one of my recipes a few months back. The flower, it seems, could be used as bait for catching freshwater fish.
Some forest berries that tasted like a cross between lychee and raspberry. I loved these! Nassir taught us how to find them and I ate like 20 or so of these sweet babies. I have no idea what they’re called but please add this to my list of favorite fruits!
A bright coloured edible flower. It tasted somewhat uniquely tangy and fragrant. It was to be featured in our delicious lunch later. I suspect it would also taste lovely in a salad with fresh rosemary and rocket, with a simple balsamic dressing.
We also found some local wild ginseng! We were lucky enough to receive this as a parting gift from the Iban family. I’m sure no explanation is needed as to the health benefits of ginseng. 😉
But of course, not all of the plants and trees were edible. In the lush fauna of the jungle we found some amazing plants that I really have never seen before. Our photobloggers would enjoy it here, there were so many things to shoot!
The bush of thorns! Careful: Don’t touch!
This plant grows all over the forest. Looks like coral from under the sea.
Look at that. They look like fingers. Hehe. The evil claw!
And of course most unique of all, this peculiar mushroom that looked so clean and pristine.
I don’t really know what this is, but some sort of a liana? Interesting all the same. The kind of thing you expect to see on Discovery Channel hehe.
More smurf homes.
And we kept on seeing these broom-like things in the river.
And of course, where there is flora, there is definitely fauna.
I spy with my little eye, a tiny brown poisonous frog!
Freshwater snails to be featured in our lunch! You find these underneath rocks in the river.
Footprints from a Jungle Chicken. Hehe. Not in our lunch. 😉
And of course, aside from the education, there was much eating and frivolousness.
Pretending to climb. In actual fact if I even pull that vine with minimal strength, it’ll surely bring down a whole ecosystem. Nassir was very patient with our nonsense poses.
Scaring the fishes. Further down the river was a little net to catch a few fishes. Our job was to scare the fishes and make them go for the trap. Huhu, I say job well done.
Ate some jungle stuff. (Yum!)
Behold Likung trying to stab me with a liana. Haha. Kidding. The liana contained delicious fresh water inside and tasted like… Perrier! Haha. More evidence that I will just about eat anything. Notice the expression of sheer pleasure on my face.
There were some good, quiet moments too.
Some moments where we were at peace with nature.
And some moments where I didn’t look very at peace with nature! LOL
Then lunchtime came, so we cleaned up in their very cool, environmentally designed bathroom areas:
Then ate in open air, underneath some shade:
Amazing Iban cuisine
And my greedilly piled on plate! I deserved this after all that swimming and hiking. Hehehe.
I really had fun in the Eco-Village! Since the place is run by Ibans, they will be having a Gawai festival this 1st of June. I think it sounds interesting. If you are interested in going there, go and head on over to their blog for more information.