The sort of thing you tell everyone
As soon as the pale child approaching on the jungle path saw me he wanted to know “parlez vous francais?”
As I have since my mother taught me the phrase when I was 7, I answered, “Non, je ne parle pas francais,” and added the newer “je comprends un petit peu…” I want to say that I understand a bit because I speak Spanish, but I’ve never asked how to say the second part of that. My brain, trying to be helpful, falls back to Dutch, but I don’t think “want ik sprek spaans” would help this kid much.
But he got the point. And he looked disappointed about it. But he had something to say, and wasn’t going to be put off so easily.
“You ‘ave ‘ad ze…” he made a wriggling, creeping, crawling, inch worm sort of motion with his finger. I was pretty sure what he meant.
“Leeches?” I offered.
Triumph lit his face. “Oui! You ‘ave ‘ad ze leeches?”
I looked down at my feet, which had been bare for the past couple hours, past few miles. “Not yet.”
The triumph blossomed yet further as he pointed a small pale finger at his older sister. “She ‘as!”
Leeches are like that. They’re the sort of thing you immediately want to tell everyone about, unless maybe you’re an adolescent and they were on you, then they (as everything on Earth) are a potential source of embarrassment.
I am not an adolescent (a fact for which I give thanks daily) so I will let you know in a couple days what I find. Because tomorrow morning I am taking the “jungle train” from Kota Bharu down through most of peninsular Malaysia to the world’s oldest rainforest, at Taman Negara.
The rumors speak of deep dark rainforest, hides in the jungle where you sleep among the beasts, and, most of all, leeches. It seems to be a given that visitors will feed the little creepers, and the only question is whether your hide is one of the ones that gets overrun with them at night or not.
So that should be fun.
And if I do get them, there’s always the response I gave to the little French boy and his sister. She was showing a perfect adolescent blend of irritation at her little brother and embarrassment at his revelation, until I replied “I think that means you get dessert tonight.”
Her face cleared with a shy smile, while her little brother’s showed crestfallen shock. I hope she got her ice cream.
I know I will!
Upon reading this entry, I almost instinctively started scratching.
Here’s hoping that you don’t have an up-close-and-personal encounter with any leeches.
Things got fairly familiar…a number of times! Sorry/you’re welcome for the heebie-jeebies!
I had a leech once…. (note the singular “a”). Got it (guess where?) … Wisconsin! Slimey little bugger…. stuck to my foot…. Used him for fish bait after that. By the way, I hope you never saw the movie “Frogs”….
On a somewhat more optimistic note, Blackadder’s Physician suggested that he (Blackadder) disolve a leech slowly under his tongue once per day as a paliative for a painful and embarrassing condition with his manservant. If you haven’t seen the show and have a liking for British humor I can recommend it. The leeches prescription is in the second season Episode titled “Bells”, but don’t skip to there first but rather start with the beginning episode of Season two. Season One is for diehard fans only.
I do indeed love British humor, and the idea of placing a leech under one’s tongue is easily repulsive enough to arouse my curiosity; I’ll keep an eye out. I’ve never seen “Frogs” but I like the instant karma of fishing with the leech!
Geez – I hate leeches. See Shirley’s notes. Not sure where she was in Wisconsin, but I used to go into the “swampy” area of “Bark Lake” and walk around barefooted. If memory serves me correctly, I actually wanted to feel gross thing’s. Shirley’s mom would salt up our toe’s and we would watch in horror/fascination as the leeches would curl up and drop off. Love love your journaling Tim. Keep up your quest!
Thanks Cuz! I’m almost sorry I missed out on leechery at an age that tender…but not quite.
Amazing pictures and a sweet story to share :).
: ) Thank you on both counts!
I wish you a happy night in Taman Negara 😛
All the best,
Thanks again Hanna! After that I’m envious of the leech-free fields of Denmark!
everything on earth is potentially embarrassing!
I completely agree, and sometimes it seems like my life’s mission is to fulfill that potential as many places as possible. Did I ever tell you about the time I fell in the gutter-ditch-thing in front of an entire market full of people in the Cameron Highlands? That was awesome.
i’m sure it was a grand ol’ time.