I went on my company trip this weekend.
Bonding exercises 'n all that.
In the kampong.
It was the kind of place where as you're walking along a pathway your colleague casually says;
Colleague: Do you think that hole is for a crab? Or just a snake?
On the second day we were taken on a sea fishing exercise.
Which wasn't really an exercise…it was actually fishing.
In the sea.
To reach the sea we had to hike our way through mangrove swamp.
And then cross the vast, vast sand bank until we hit the water.
The "sand" was actually mud-sand - some patches were normal beach, others were quicksand style mud pockets and you can't tell the difference until you step into them.
And they're super-sticky - every step takes serious effort and balance.
Which is funny to watch.
The sea was chocolately.
Straits of Malacca.
Can't see a thing.
And it was in this opaque soup that disaster struck.
Me: I'VE LOST MY CROC!!!
Sensible mud shoes. I thought.
Colleague 1: What?
Me: I've lost my croc!! It's not on my foot! [waves kaki kosong in air to prove statement] It's in the mud!!
Pivoting on the one foot that is still in-shoe-in-mud, I conduct a frantic, blind search in what I hope is the right place.
Colleague 1: Just leave it.
Me: Leave it?! They cost 100 bucks! I'm not leaving 50 bucks in the sea?!!
Colleague 1: It will float up by itself later.
Me: No it won't?!
It's really, really stuck, wherever it is.
So stuck that it came off my foot.
Colleague 1: Yes it will.
I only have ONE SHOE!!!
My other colleague takes pity and helps me search.
[the actual scene]
Colleague 2: Oh! Is this it?
Colleague 2: Oh…oh no, that's your foot?
Me: No it's not! You found it! Pull, pull!!
He pulled and there emerged my croc!
I sent the dear things back to the beach so I didn't lose them again.
However, I now discover that the mud-sand is nasty mud-sand.
Like, you step in it and want to die, it feels so disgusting.
I can't exaggerate that enough.
All slippery and squelching through your toes.
Add to that many, many small pinchy crabs.
And a huge, heavy fishing net.
Now walk through the sea with it.
When the time came, I was quite happy to reach the beach.
But disaster part two: I stepped on a poison fish!!!
[probably not this guy...too small...]
I have no idea what it was cos I couldn't see it, but it was sharp and I screamed.
Although with so much mud-related "YUK" screaming earlier, this went largely ignored.
As everyone browsed our catch, I examined my foot.
One of our fishing guides noticed.
Proper Fishing Guy: Cut?
Me: Ah, ya :(
Then he walked away.
I had cut my foot.
It was bleeding.
But whatev's the fishing guy didn't care.
Or so I thought...
He quickly returned with a handful of thick, dark mud, with leaves and twigs sticking out and gestured for my foot.
I lifted it up.
He slapped the mud on, squeezed my foot with it (as if squeezing out poison..?), then held his hand out, like, don't move, and walked away.
He thinks I'm poisoned and is giving me traditional remedies!
I stood awkwardly with my foot in the air for quite a while.
[you'd panic too, if this guy was concerned enough to mud pack your foot.]
Then I got a bit bored.
Me: Eh, can I move now or am I dying? Ask him for me?
Apparently not dying, I was permitted to drop my foot & help put fish into buckets.
I'm still alive now.
So I guess that's a good sign.
But I'm still wondering…what did I step on..?