First thing I received what I believe to be a homemade Valentine’s Card from my wife – as the Verve put it “I’m a Lucky Man’. The fact that it was on scrap notepaper gave the game away but that is more than I did for her – more fool I!
Today we had decided on a cheap day so we opted for a climb up a mountain just outside Taman Rata called Gunung Berembun and we managed to get lost trying to find the start of the climb – it was only a bloody mountain after all!
After visiting a hospital car park on our mis-directed first attempt to find the route to the summit – can you imagine the Everest attempt beginning this way – we hit on the right trail and we were off. It first just seemed a little overgrown but a reasonably doable task until we started getting further up. At this point the fact that we were knackered was kicking in but also the day was getting quite a good deal hotter and under the tree canopy it was very humid as well. What started out as a reasonable jaunt started to get very tricky indeed. Up we went often having to pull ourselves up using trees and the root systems gave us steps to use as well but as we were also surrounded by trees we had no idea as to our progress except for a few sign posts which though they appeared to be giving distances in metres they must have an entirely different form of metric system in Malaysia as we climbed on and on but for a few cries in the distance we did not manage to see any monkeys either – or any other wildlife for that matter!
When we finally did reach the top again Taman Rata – home of the World’s most Underwhelming Waterfall – failed to deliver. At the top there was a sign which although being made of metal and grubby yellow did not give a great deal more information.
Everything was trees except one little view through the trees onto the … clouds. Well that was worth it, not even a pub in sight!
So down we went – this was much easier, though I do say easier somewhat tongue in cheek as we were still knackered after the uphill exertions.
At the end we decided it to be time for a siesta but on the night we would treat ourselves to a Steamboat – now at this point we did not know or understand the implications of what we were considering but we are now better informed about the matter and will consider very carefully next time we try one. A Steamboat is one or two boiling liquids in the centre of the table on a gas burner so they continue to boil – ours were Chicken Soup and Tom Yam Soup. We were then given a plate of vegetables all sorts of everything and various proteins that we were to cook in the two boiling liquids – in all we had 22 different items. Some of the proteins were a bit unusual to say the least – crabsticks, ‘fish’ (we think), Cuttlefish but the worst of the lot had to be the jellyfish which was like a clear plastic by the time we had cooked it! – This was the item at the beginning the Chinese proprietor had highly recommended! Needless to say as mere beginners we left an awful amount simply as we could not fit anymore of anything in but it was a valiant attempt but next time I will think twice before ordering a ‘Steamboat’.
All in all it was a very unusual experience topping a very exhausting day – tomorrow onto Taman Negara and the real jungle!