Friday, 7 January 2011

4: Flee to Southern Java - Part 2.

We moved off next morning feeling a little subdued after this episode, thinking of our plans to live in the wilds and wondering what other hidden dangers lay in wait. The made up road petered out and we were then on dirt track. Before long it started to rain in torrents, a typical tropical downpour, which didn't improve matters. We pushed on until early evening when the two wheel drive truck got stuck in the mud up to its axles. We had enough for the day, so it was corned beef and biscuits whilst we sheltered from the downpour.

It was a pitch black night, we were wet and uncomfortable and I had a pretty restless night. We slept in the two four wheel drive trucks under cover of the canopies, outside was squelching mud.

We were all up and about early, the morning hot and sunny as usual. The bogged down truck was fully laden with provisions which had to be unloaded and transferred to the remaining two trucks before any attempt could be made to pull it clear. We squelched our way back and forth for most of the morning until the task was finished, we then had a quick bit to eat, pulled the bogged down truck free and moved further into the scrubland.

Soon after we came to a rocky area, on the one side there was a thirty feet drop, the sides overgrown with small trees and the opposite side just rock. The gap between was deep in mud due to the previous downpour, needless to say the two wheel drive truck became bogged down once again. It had to go. It was completely stripped, pulled out of the mud and driven to the edge of the drop. Oil and water was then drained and the engine revved up. It wouldn't seize up, probably worn out with too much clearance in the bores, so it was finally pushed over the edge.

Continuing our journey we found that the going was very slow, as the vehicles were in low gear. We had only travelled a short distance when we saw running water and decided this was to be our camp. That night we had a stew up, which after our previous meals, tasted pretty good - I slept well that night.

The trucks were unloaded the following day, the food being stacked in amongst bushes and undergrowth. We had some canvas and our groundsheets to make tents when needed, and so we set up our camp. We drove the remaining trucks back to where the first one had met its fate and pushed them over the edge of the ravine and out of sight.

All meals were to be cooked together now, as previously we'd been eating in small groups and helping ourselves and had no idea how long our food would have to last. We took it in turns to do the cooking and two men were to be the look out for the enemy aircraft at all times.

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