“WE’RE GOING TO ANAMBAS, Anama-nama-nambas!” the boys sang in the backseat of the taxi. The melody was from Pitbulls’ “I Know You Want Me.” Read more
The hardest thing about the hike to Wae Rebo was getting to the trailhead.
For seven punishing hours, we had rattled up, down and around hulking mountains over shattered roads. In many places, the skin of asphalt had sloughed off years ago, exposing a roadbed of rounded river rocks that shook the car violently. Our average speed was 25 kph, which included an hour of crawling forward at 5 kph, the car rocking like storm-tossed ship. Chunks of cement had torn loose from little bridges during the rainy season, forcing Stefan to negotiate nests of rebar. Rarely was the road much wider than our car; someone had to risk drop-offs or ditches for two vehicles to pass.
“Big one coming!” the guide shouted.
Seconds later, a scaly monster came speed-waddling down the trail. We all assumed that he would go straight for the deer carcass. Instead, he veered uphill, toward us. The guide had advised us not to run if a dragon approached. Yeah, right! We all panicked, bashing into each other and tripping over brush as we fled. Nori was behind me, but the boys had scattered into the forest, screaming. 1,2,3…4! Thank God, no children eaten.
I’ll never forget standing on the 57th floor of the newly-built Marina Bay Sands, chatting with Sir Ranulph Fiennes while looking across the ship-choked waters of the Singapore Straits. It was a very clear day, so I pointed to the land on the horizon.