October 2017: A Year in Asia

Dateline: Bukit Lawang, Sumatra. On the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, where orang-utans still swing in the trees, gibbons sing out for mates, pythons slither and corpse flowers stink. Brown-eyed boys tout jungle treks and strum lovelorn tunes on their beat-up guitars. They roll their r’s and they adore American rock ’n’ roll – Guns N Roses above all. (It’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain.) For breakfast we eat fruit named dragon and passion. We sit on the veranda and watch the jungle across the river. Most days it rains. For a thrill you hop in a truck inner tube and float down the riba and bounce over the rocks, and there’ll be a monitor lizard on the bank sliding by. The smiles are genuine, the showers are cold, and the wifi is fast, until the power cuts out. Then you listen to the boys play their guitars and watch the jungle or go tubing. All good.

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