Not wanting to appear a name dropper, I purposely avoided using Bear Grylls` name (Man vs Wild- the Discovery Channel) while recounting the adventures of Borneo. Certainly Bear would show Offspring #2 and me in several shots from “Man vs Wild- Borneo,” as we, along with his camera crew, took an active role in the filming of this installment of the series.What we found out about this super He-man is his knack for making the easy hard.
For example, he opened the show executing a treacherous descent via helicopter drop while we took the more leisurely approach.
This was the beginning of our education regarding the true behind the scenes action. Honestly, how “Wild” is it in the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre? Bear was only interested in escape but the rest of us wanted to see the orangutans – whom will probably be extinct in the next 15-20 years. In order to get a view of the “Man of the Forest”- the orangutans, not Bear- the primates were lured in with bananas.
OS#2 and I were mesmerized as the apes and a hand-full of monkeys came in exactly at 11:30 for lunch. We learned these orangutans are fed bananas every day at 11:30. Eventually, they tire of this unvaried diet and forage in the jungle for wild food. This turn in behavior facilitates an eventual return to the wild. Once Bear was informed he couldn`t eat the bananas or the orangutans, he lost interest.
Like so many boys before him, he`d rather sleep outside even when plenty of Eco Friendly lodges would have provided an equally uncomfortable experience. As night rolled in, Bear mimicked the orangutans by building a nest in the forest canopy. I don`t recall if he explained the nightly ritual of the orangutans building new nests in varying locations in order to protect themselves from predation, but, he did light some grass in a home-made tiki torch to protect himself from his greatest fear – mosquitoes.
The next day we all tramped through the rain forest- Bear, OS#2 ,me, the camera crew and all the support staff, in search of something repulsive for Bear to eat. No surprise, he picked one of his usual suspects- a non-venomous snake which he claimed bit him, didn`t taste like chicken, and was boney. Blah, blah, blah….We were on to his pattern of doing everything the hard way.
While Bear fought with the still moving tail on the snake as it roasted on the spit, the crew, OS#2 and I ate what Bear wouldn`t. Fruit.
Cat Eye Fruit. It should be called Dead Cat Eye fruit because it resembles something on a zombie cat.
On the other hand, as a tv viewer, watching Bear vomit something he`d eaten would be true entertainment. If it doesn`t come back up, how bad can it be? If Bear wanted to prove his machismo, eating the Dorian fruit would cement his image. One whiff from that fruit of nasty could stop a charging elephant. So putridly pungent ( I know, I just created that word) are these malodorous yet edible plants, they`re outlawed inside hotels lest the guests run from the hotel screaming. And worse.
My only advice to offer Bear in the future is to mind the signage. You`re never too old or experienced to learn from the natives.
“Bear- love- watch that Dorian tree- don`t get too close. It can hurt you,” I mothered as one of the football sized fruits fell from the tree knocking him out cold and poking 100 holes in his head. I`m sorry the viewing public missed that- a very dramatic moment.
Being in a rain forest, one should expect rain. While he waxed on to the television audience of the discomforts from the rain dragging the camera crew along the ground behind him, OS#2 and I took advantage of the canopy walk above. It was much easier.
Lovers of “Man vs Wild” have learned that Bear usually searches out streams and rivers on which to navigate his way out of his challenging situations. While he paddled along on a raft made of bamboo, we followed behind in a boat for 12. We passed several villages along the way while Bear looked for a lone boater in order to stage a dramatic rescue.
Now- the answer to the question posed last time. What`s the difference between a monkey and an ape? Monkeys have tails.
Finally, Bear`s version of surviving in the Bornean jungle. YouTube Video HERE.