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The Gibbons Experience

Written on: Monday July 23rd, 2007

A journal entry from: South East Asia

Spent three days up in the jungle zip lining, hiking and living in a tree house. Although we did take a chance doing a trek during the rainy season, it turned out to be a good time. Their was mud up to our knees at points, crazy thunder/lightning/rain/wind storms at night, rain most of the day, and we even were unlucky enough to have to do the 20 km/8 hour hike out of the jungle because the truck could not get in to pick us up.

Although on the way in, we managed to out-do our crazy truck car ride. Our group consisted of 7 of people (2 Americans, 2 Dutch, and one even from Peru) plus two guides. We were put in the back of this 4x4 with surprisingly high roofs (this was a surprise when compared to the usual sardine-cane effect we had been experiencing previously). Driving along a nice paved road, then next thing we know we are going down what looks more like a ditch then a road and find ourselves placed in front of a river, as if we are about to go over it. Well we did, water up almost over the windshield, getting thrown all over the place like golf balls getting thrown around in a bag. The rest of the trip, 30 minutes, was much like this. Even going sideways up the road at some points and then into holes 3 or 4 feet high, unannounced. Needless to say we got to know each other really quick, I guess extreme experiences will do that to you. It was a great group and we managed to have an excellent time.

The Gibbons Experience project was developed to help create sustainability within Lao through Ecotourism. This trekking experience helps support the surrounding villages and the conservation of the jungle it is done in. Over the years the leaders of the project have been able to give more and more responsibility to the people their and it is the goal of the project to have the Lao people run the treks and project on their own some day.

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Overall we had an amazing time, as I am sure you will hear people rave if they have done this experience before. Got to do some long and high zip lines with great views of the jungle, while getting well acquainted with the jungle and people around their through long scenic hikes.

Our guide was 18 or 19 years old ( his exact words as there is no record of when he was born). We had lots of fun with him. He was always joking with us and messing around, just trying to ensure we would have a good time. I was a bit curious what it would be like working in the jungle, and while talking about it with him he told me about how stressful and dangerous it can be working in the jungle, as I could imagine. Some of the stories he told me were pretty intense. For example bad storms hitting and him trying to get people out of the tree houses when they refused to leave, and he is left feeling responsible for their lives yet they will not cooperate because they do not understand they are in danger.