Freitag, 10. August 2007

Taman Negara (English)

Two weeks ago I joint a trip of a school in Shah Alam to the biggest National park in Malaysia, the Taman Negara. The two girls of my chapter, Naja from Greenland and Laura from Costa Rica, followed as well.

Our Chapter Leader fetched us at the Shah Alam KTM station and we drove to a nearby secondary school in section 24 (by the way, the Malay spelling of this word is “seksyen”). There we board one of the characteristic yellow school busses. Quickly I felt comfortable with the students and had some nice and funny conversations with them the whole 6 hour-journey to Taman Negara in northern Pahang. There are still some two hundreds king tigers and even more Asian elephants living in the park, which are both in danger of extinction.

We arrived very late near a rivervalley, where our accommodation was located. It didn’t mind anyone, that the rooms weren’t air-conditioned as the nights were cool and I even had to put on long and warm clothes.

On Saturday morning we went down the steep hill to the boat quay to board a long narrow boat. We alighted some two kilometers away on the other side of the river with its light-brown water. We hiked through the densely wooded rainforest. We also by passed a orang asli settlement. Orang Asli (Malay: People Native/Original) are the original inhabitants of Malaysia. Today they can be found in the highlands living their primitive livestyle, but also in townships near KL, where they have adapted to modern lifestyle.

Finally we reached our destination, which is namely the Cave Gua Telinga (Ear Cave). The small cave is named after an ear-shaped hole within the cave-system. Beside the mentioned hole, there were other difficult sections, where you had to fully bend down and sit in the ice-cold water of the cave stream. In the small domes inside the caves we admired the walls and ceilings covered with black bats, that were also flying around us. I also caught sight of a white cave snake, which was probably only a meter long.

After having had our lunch we visited another orang asli settlement and one of the locals demonstrated the blow pipe made of bamboo, which is used to hunt animals. I was also given the chance to try it and my arrow hit the target: A voodoo puppy on a Styrofoam board.

Afterwards all of us enjoyed an ice cold bath in a river stream. Sitting on the stones I let my self being massaged by the rapids.

In the evening we left the hostel for a night walk in the jungle, which I didn’t enjoy so much, because I couldn’t see anything exciting and the foot track was replaced by a metal walkway.

On the next day we hiked on a different route to a canopy walkway. The canopy walkway was a chain of bridges in the canopy of the rainforest, stretching some 400 meters. Between the bridges there were platforms, which provided fascinating views over the valley. I left the group for a short time to climb a hill. On the way I saw some monkeys and squirrels.

One the way back we stopped for an hour or so at a river side, where the majority of us went for a bath.

The trip to Taman Negara was very entertaining and my circle of friends grew again, but it didn’t meet my expectations in terms of the nature. Perhaps this is because I thought of safari, meeting a wild tiger and stuff like this.

My father picked me up at around midnight and we were both happy about eating a durian, which I had brought from Pahang. Durian has become my favorite fruit and I even like the smell.

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