Post # 63 Cuc Phuong

Day 75 1005 days to go. Distance: today 38km total 4393km. It’s 7.40pm Monday 13/2/2012 Cuc Phuong. Oh my goodness have I had an awesome day. This place is one inspiring beautiful treasure doing very good stuff for the environment and education about the issues. A 10hr sleep last night was a pretty good start to the day 🙂 I headed up to reception and booked in a guide of the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre. It was a highlight of the day and nice to give the centre $.2.50 (50 000 dong) to help the cause. The centre has around 150 primates in stages of care and reintegration to the wild. There are different species of gibbon and Langurs which have been rescued from illegal trade mostly to china. Apparently the monkey’s brain is made into chinese medicine for the human brain a practice that still goes on despite being illegal. There’s two main stage areas one initial high care facility the next a forested enclosure where the animals live quasi natural readying for reintegration. If possible the monkeys are then released into the national park for another go at it in a protected area. The forest here has 2000 species of trees, 122 species of reptiles and amphibians, 336 bird species and 135 mammals including leopard, langur and asian black bear. It’s all limestone karst country heavily forested. The magnificent limestone mountains rise from the green rice terraces and stilt homes of the Muong hill tribes that still live traditionally in the area. It’s beautiful!!! This time of year sees mostly clouded and foggy days but today no rain just the misty atmosphere. I woke this morning to the sound of gibbon calls. It’s hilarious. One starts then it’s all in and then silence again. It’s a whoop sound that turns up and gathers in numbers then stops abrupt. It’s mating season so they’re going off particularly so at feed times. Gibbons have no tails but long arms and are swinging champs. They have no fur on their faces and very intelligent and evolved. The males are black and the females orange. Langurs on the other hand are shyer with a huge strong tail. I watched both today with awe and giggles. It’s a special thing the centre provides giving these cheeky creatures another chance with brain intact to get on and do their monkey business 🙂 The guides here are from the local villages. They speak some English and the language of the Muong tribe folk different to Vietnamese. They do allot of education at schools in the remote villages educating the tribe folk on environmental protection issues. They target mostly the children and have to hike on clear days 10 to 15km as there are no roads to their locations just trails then hike back all in a days work. I asked them about their working hours. They do 8 hour days 8-11am then go home to have lunch with their family and back again for 1-5pm. If it’s peak season they will work through the day without a break. They have 12 days of annual holidays. Both guides live in a local village with their extended family. After this I headed off to check out the park. It’s a 19km road to the centre park area. It’s very hilly as you can imagine through this countryside but the ride was just beautiful. Thick lush rainforest with critters and birds rustling in the tree line by the road. I firstly stopped at an observation tower on-top a 300m karst hill. The tower was another 20m ladder climb very cool. The view although cloudy was magical all misty sitting amongst the treetops with the birds and gibbon echoes. I sat there for over an hour taking picks and doing some poetry writing which I’ve included. I’m a bit rusty but it’s good to get back into it and what a place to start. The two places you can go without a guide are the 1000 year old tree and Palace cave and the Cave of the prehistoric man. Both caves need a head torch to check out properly so I’m staying another day to do just that tomorrow. To be able to independently explore two caves is far too tempting and no reason not to succumb yay. From what I got a taste of today it’s going to be amazing so can’t wait. A man from the UK arrived with his guide when I was at the cave. He lent me his torch to have a quick look and that sealed it for me to stay another day for a further head torch explore. The 1000 year old tree was amazing, huge and grand and I loved every moment taking in it’s age and size and mystic. What that tree must have seen in its years hey? I took some really cool pickies especially for my partner to share the experience xxxxxx. It was a 8km circuit to the tree and cave and I couldn’t help myself to trail run it. It was such a great single trail across the limestone country very much like our glasshouse mountains but less exposed. It still has the same inclines but its been mostly stepped so it was very civilized with little scrambling. I haven’t run for ages and loved loved loved it. I’ve still got the buzz 😉 The descents were big fun as was the whole day. I arrived back at the park centre and campsite just before dark so the forest birds kept me company the cycle home. Yep dam fine day did I say dam fine chuck another dam in for dam good measure. This place is a gift and I can’t wait to treat myself to one more day. For now but it’s 8.30pm and I’m hungry after the day’s frivolity. I must look so bizarre to the park staff. I needed to recharge the Ipod and found an external powerpoint on the closed gift shop as well as table and chairs that had been put away for the night. Don’t mind if I do!!!! The restaurant staff were happy to top up my flask so I’ve had a cool pre-dinner post to you fine folk. Time now for calories. Talk soon x PS I sent another spot check to let the family know I’m still here and will do the same tomorrow. I’ll head to Hanoi on Wednesday morning.

You ease the restless
Out of breathless
Passer bye the heart.

You calm the conflict
With the postscript
‘Listen to the heart’

I hear the gibbons
They’ve forgiven
Chance anew for hearts.

The Cuc Phuong song
A sweet sing along
Stronger in-tune hearts.

Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

One thought on “Post # 63 Cuc Phuong

  1. This has been a good place for you Ree to take a break and get recharged!!!!! ………. to be inspired to write poetry again is a positive sign that it has worked…………..Love the poetry……………..go well xx

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