I don’t know whether you all remember Frank. I met Frank in Malacca… in Malaysia. He’s the lovely Argentinian traveller I was introduced to at Ringo’s Foyer by Howard… who’s been cycling around the world for 3 and a half years… and who says he has 7 or so years of travelling to go before he returns home.
When discussing Tonsai in Malacca, he said: I love Tonsai…but, most people can’t survive there for more than 3-4 days. It’s something about all of the ‘positive ions’ from the cliffs and the mountains in the jungle… they make people go crazy. Do you know about ions in nature? There are negative ions in the sea, for example… which is why people relax and get really sleepy and lazy and they don’t want to do anything other than lay in the sun. In the mountains, however, there are positive ions… the mountains and cliffs carry with them so much energy, that people start hallucinating… getting head-aches… feeling a bit crazy… they either leave as a result… or they get sick. Very few people can remain in Tonsai for too long.
Of course, we can all take this tale with a pinch of salt… but I found it interesting… and I carried his words with me during my two weeks’ stay there… and when I started feeling pressure in the air… foretelling Tonsai’s need for rain… I couldn’t help but ask myself whether these were the initial symptoms of ‘Tonsai syndrome’… or whether – in fact – my mild headache would go away with the coming of the first downpour.
As you all may know, during these two weeks, I slept in the jungle. Nico and I shared a very basic and cheap bungalow at the top of the jungle in a place called Forest Resort… we had our very own mosquito net forming a canopy between us and our numerous jungle friends that shared our bungalow with us… we had our own little extension to the bungalow with a toilet seat and a showerhead that provided only cold water… we supplied our own toilet paper… but – fortunately – the bungalow owners supplied us with seemingly clean towels.
We were required to complete multiple steep jungle treks to and from various climbing crags carrying quite heavy climbing gear… sometimes, we needed to walk 10 or so minutes downhill to Tonsai beach to climb up or under boulders of rock during low tide… and when it was high tide, we either needed to change our climbing plans to find an alternative crag, or we needed to hire a kayak to get us to our desired destination. Admittedly, it was a hard two weeks. 😛 We didn’t even have to decide where to stay each night… our greatest decision revolved around what and where to eat each day.
Now that our time in Tonsai is finished, I secretly miss it. Maybe it does make you go a bit crazy. Crazy enough to never want to leave…or crazy enough to choose to spend your ‘rest day’ getting absolutely covered in mud when hugging massive trees in a beautifully dirty lagoon…