Sunday, May 08, 2005

taman negara - 01

[290405] 3 French, 1 Finn, 1 Indian, 1 Irish, 1 PRC & 1 cat met after work & walked across e causeway for dinner in Johor Bahru. had extremely satisfying handmade wanton mee at a kopitiam named Tien Fu along a side street running west of & parallel to Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, & watched one of e French wash down ~30 sticks of satay + wanton mee with a bottle of this rate we'd probably run out of food during e trek & have to barbecue bats in e caves of Taman Negara.

waited 1.5 hours for e 21:59 Singapore-Johor Bahru-Tumpat Ekspres Timuran train. it arrived on time according to my watch, which has been set to Thailand time since last November. unfortunately everyone else had their watches set to local Malaysia time, a full hour ahead of Bangkok.


view from e upper berth, where e cat could touch e ceiling by just sitting up straight. if you belong to e 85.7% of e population that is taller than this cat, consider paying a few ringgit more for a lower berth, which comes with a larger window too.

[300405] e Irish has been in Southeast Asia for only a couple of months to date, & was still used to e inelastic European sense of time. by 3am he was up & all packed to go, ready to disembark at e scheduled arrival time of 3.30am at Jerantut. apparently he expected e train driver to speed up & make up for e delay. at 4am e cat was awakened by snoring, & e train had yet to reach Mentakab (scheduled arrival around 2:45am).

sometime later e train staff finally came round to wake us up - they keep track of each passenger's destination & wake you up 20 minutes before arrival, a wonderful service that spares you e uncertainty of missing your stop. finally pulled into Jerantut at 6am, which saved us from having to hang around in e dark for hours before e first kopitiams opened for breakfast =)


Jalan Besar, old part of Jerantut. most of e shophouses along e right were built around WW2 time. at dawn e sky & every TV aerial was crowded with barn swallows, just like in Ban Apa, Chieng Rai =)


breakfast along Jalan Besar, in a kedai kopi somewhere opposite e house where our guide was born.


second cat met in Jerantut.

piled into a van & stopped by e petrol station to fill up on diesel & feed some part of e engine with water from a 1L mineral water bottle, before e drive to Kuala Tembeling. after taking e MRT, a bus, walking, an overnight train & then a van ride, e cat was in Tembeling 'again' with this weird sense of zero displacement - Tembeling Road is just one bus stop away from e cat's house in Singapore. after settling e admin stuff - registration & payment of e park entrance & camera fees, & even recording e brand of camera?! - more waiting, as e first boats upriver would depart only at 9am.


Kuala Tembeling jetty along Sungai Jelai.


orchids outside e jetty building.


second cat met in Kuala Tembeling.


outside e house next to e jetty building.


e group at e entrance of e jetty building.


Sungai Jelai on e left, Sungai Tembeling in e background, & somewhere to e right they form Sungai Pahang I think....


setting off from Kuala Tembeling.

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~70km journey north along Sungai Tembeling, where 1 stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis), 1 white-breasted kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), & plenty of cattle & orange, pale yellow & blue butterflies were spotted.

about 3 hours later we reached Kuala Tahan & checked into e 8-bed dorm room in Ekoton chalet, where e ceiling fan is low enough to guillotine e Europeans in our group.


we were welcomed by this cat, some chickens & a few goats =) this cat is disabled & can only drag itself around using its two front legs, but e Ekoton staff ensure that it is fed.

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