I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to blow the dust off some old photo albums that I had put away in storage. It was then that I came across these couple of pictures from my early working years.
I was in public health at that time and was doing research on new field kits for testing microbial water quality. Basically I was trying to develop simple, cheap and easy field kits for monitoring drinking water safety in a developing world setting.
Somehow, I managed to convince my superiors that I simply had to get baseline data from pristine jungle streams which was how I managed to wrangle myself onto a scientific expedition into what was then a relatively unexplored part of the Malaysian jungle. Carrying and using the heavy gear in the jungle would be hard work but I liked the idea of going to places few people have ever seen; I had a kind of a David Livingstone obsession in those youthful days.
Ah, but there was a catch! My supervisor wanted me to take her two visiting Dutch medical students along for the jungle adventure. I groaned.
And then I met them, Ilsa and Laura. Two gorgeous beauties (with wonderful personalities) and since we spent most of the time in and out of the rivers collecting samples, they were most often two gorgeous beauties in swimsuits.
Now I am sure you can imagine that this “Tarzan and Jane” scenario is a fantasy of most of the men in the almost totally male expedition camp. Suddenly, everybody seemed to want to be on our research team and go out on the trails with us. I became popular! Suddenly, rough, anti-social, jungle hardened veterans was giving me the time of day, so as to get closer to the girls. Safe to say, there was a lot of chest beating going on around camp!
These days, Marja is my Dutch sweetie but as you can see I had the privilege of knowing these two Dutch Jungle Janes’ somewhat earlier. The other great thing was how all these guys left me offerings of food and drink in return for the opportunity to be introduced to the girls.
Dear, Ilsa and Laura, thanks for the good memories. I hope that you are both well and happy and the intervening years have been kind. And if you happen to read this post (stranger things have happened on the internet), do make contact and leave a comment.