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The Adventures of Whales 4 1/2 months with a newly wed couple in Southeast Asia Jan 9th 07 to May 17th 07

Caves and Tea Plantations

MALAYSIA | Sunday, 11 February 2007 | Views [1523]


  About a week ago we left Georgetown, Penang and traveled east in an overnight bus to woman-unfriendly Kota Baru. The journey was supposed to take 5 hours and it took 10. It worked out well though because we hopped right on to our 6:30am express train through the Malaysian Jungle to the small town of Jerantut. From there we were shuffled into a minibus with a Swiss gentleman named Christian and were dropped off at an extremely organized traveling center, only to be load again, like sheep, into a regular bus and unloaded in Pahang. Again we were rushed into this 30'X 4' long creeky, open wooden boat with a tin roof. We were sitting right in the water. One false move and we were going under. Then he took off at 30 miles an hour. It was a little bit of a rush because this culture is soooo laid back and they take a tremendous amount of time to even bring you a menu in an empty restaurant.

So we whip up this river with 20 other people and 300lbs of luggage. It was very relaxing. We saw water buffalo, bright blue king fisher birds, otters, and a huge monitor lizard. Three hours later we arrive in the middle of the jungle in Taman Negara National Park. This was one of our favorite places yet. There was sooo much free stuff to do. We had to buy a park pass and the boat ride was expensive but well worth it.

On our first full day in this jungle, we went to a canopy walk made of rope, alunimum ladders, and 1X10 wood planks. It was like walking on the tree tops, at some points about 100 feet in the air. Then we hiked at a 70+/- degree incline (It was more like climbing up tree roots and vines) for about 45 mins. It lead to a spectacular view. Mountains as far as the eye can see. Continuing on, we climbed back down the other side and finally reached a part in river where we could swim. The water was a little gross but it felt so good.

For our second day, we hiked an easier trail to an unexpectedly difficult cave. FULL OF BATS. So we crawled through it. There was a rope to guide us and it lead to some unbelievably small, dark places. Big enough only to squeeze through!  It was one of the most extreme things either of us have done. Expecially Elijah being clostriphobic and videotaping half of it. Earlier in the walk he did manage to tape some gray gibbon monkeys peering down at him from a tree- churping and clucking to one another, and some really pretty butterflies, one who loved the camera!

We left on the third day at 7:30am and transfered from Jerantut to Temerloh, from there to KL (Kuala Lumpor) the capitol of Malaysia, then up, way up to Cameron Highlands. It was one of the most stressful times of our trip. The people are helpful but one thinks you have a ticket while the other doesn't, you rush to get food only to find out you cant bring it with you, so you try to eat it before you leave in 10 mins and it tastes like poo, You have to run back and forth across 4 lanes of traffic made into six, everyones going in a different direction and, you have no idea where you are. But we managed and got along well, given the circumstance.

We finally arrived, after dark, in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands. Our bus weaved up the hairpin turns for about 2 hours. This place is like being in Vail, Colorado except no snow and we can affort the ritziness. Its sooooo beautiful. It will provide a nice little retreat from our vacation/ trip, we are so spoiled. We ended up staying at the same place as afew friends we met on the bus trip here. Except we are in the attic! The little half room is so cozy and its alittle chilly up here so its very "mood setting". We had amazing Indian food for dinner with our new aquaintainces, then stood around a fire and went to bed. Today we will explore this little town. There are also alot of treks to take and Cameron Highland is famous for being a tea plantation, so we will enjoy a good cup and a scone with jam. These sweet luxuries we take for granted at home!

We bought tickets home! Well kinda.

We bought airplane tickets for Feb 25 from Singapore to Bali, Indonesia. We want to try to catch the Pasola. Which translated to "the spear". 100 men on horseback believe that they must spill their opposing tribe's blood to appease the gods and so they may have peace for one more year. The tradition begins when these neon coloured worms come out of the sea and flood the shore. The tribes and their preists go to the water and wait for these worms, between the first and second full moons of the year. Then they actually battle one another. Tourism has dulled the tradition, because they have to blunt their spear ends, but it should still be shocking. Our travel book says it will outdo all expectations. So we have decided to speed up our trip through Malaysia to Indonesia. We have until March 18 to enjoy crazy Indonesia, where we will try to surf. The food is also supposed to be excellent.

On the 18th we fly back to Bangkok, but sorry, only to explore the northern region of Thailand and enter Cambodia, Loas, and Vietnam. Its funny, at first we thought 4 months would be plenty of time and we are realizing it is barely enough.

Whew, a lot to say. But most importantly, we love you all and miss you terribly

Love, D&E    

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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