It was 4pm and I was now officially on my own, having watched a few survival programs, my first priority was to get the tent pitched, then start collecting some sticks before finally shaving off my pubic hair for kindling.
I was a former member of the cub scouts which proved beyond useful as it all started flooding back to me as soon as I started to attach the tents bendy plastic wires together and slotting them through the tents tight holes – after 10 minutes or vigorous pulling, I was fully erect. (This is starting to sound like 50 shades of grey)..
My next challenge was to get a fire going. Fortunately there was plenty of dry wood / bamboo around and my Mach3 razor proved a vital survival tool as it left my willy balder than Ross Kemp’s lid, so I had everything I needed to make a fire that even a Guy Fawkes effigy would run a mile from.
The base of the fire, I covered with rocks, then layered it up nicely with increasingly large pieces of sticks in a triangle shape, leaving a small hole at the bottom for me to ignite it with and blow into to help it along its way.
It actually looked pretty impressive, the pubes lit up like petrol, and after a few blows it was alight and dishing out a pretty fierce heat, as you can see from the picture below.
My fire making skills surpassed all my expectations as before I had a chance to toast some peanuts and dry my pants, it was burning itself out and in need of some urgent wood based fire fuel to stop it from suffering an early demise. This is what I found particularly annoying, is the amount of care a fire needs to maintain its flamy appearance – as unlike the fires at Christmas that simply require a prod, a log and a brussels spout fart to keep it burning like STI, my fire needed more topping up than a pay as you go phone calling the psychic Sally Morgan.
During another trip up the bank to collect wood, the sound of thunder could be heard echoing around the trees, and the bright sky was now turning grey, indicating two things; 1) the evening was now approaching and 2) I was about to feel the full wrath of a jungle downpour..
It is amazing how quickly the weather can change in Malaysia, in particular the jungle – as literally within the space of 15 minute the heavens opened and I had gone from downloading the lyrics to Kum By Ya for my evenings campfire sing song to plumbing the tents holes with my fingers, watching the fire that I had spent the last hour nurturing, slowly being tortured to death with h20.
It was a truly depressing sight, watching all your hard work being battered by a storm, knowing that you would have to spend the next few weeks with a bald willy for absolutely nothing. To make matters worse – my iPhone and iPad battery were also flashing into the red so not only was an evening entertainment out of the question, but the only light I would have to illuminate any approaching predators was a half full bik lighter.
As you can see from the video below, I am not exaggerating about the weather, it really was a storm I was in the middle of and each rain drop that hit my flimsy tent felt like an Eamonn Holmes belly flop. After another hour my batteries were now all dead, I began to lose track of time as the night set in and it wasn’t long before the odd flicker of light from the fire, was the only thing I could see in the pitch black surroundings of my “camp-site”.
It is safe to say that the jungle really does come alive at night, all of the fears I had before entering were now running through my mind. I started to panic, I was in total darkness; what if a snake bit me? I have no phone? I’m on my own and it will be at least 10 hours before anyone returns with a blue tarpaulin to carry my body back up stream? I thought…
All of these thoughts crossed my mind, every noise was exaggerated in my mind ten-fold and at one point I genuinely heard footsteps approaching my tent, causing me to curl up inside my sweaty sleeping back which was caused by making sure all the zip were done up tightly, effectively turning my one man tent into an aga.
It was actually a terrifying experience and one that I have no plans to repeat. The tent I had generously been donated was unfortunately too small for me, so for the next few hours of complete terror, I spent curled up like a piece of origami using my hairdryer as a pillow mentally counting the seconds until 9am would come when I would be rescued…
So there you have it, my jungle experience. I don’t have a moral to this story but I have come away from it with huge respect for Bear Grylls, I know my time in the jungle was not a physical challenge, but it turned out to be much more of a mental one which I am proud to have been able to conquer for myself as I do have bouts of anxiety attacks, so this experience has been hugely positive on that front – as now whenever I’m feeling a bit panicky, I can remind myself of the time I emerged dishevelled from my one man tent in the heart of the Malaysian jungle with a pre-pubescent pair of testicles, alive …..