Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Life in Tanah Rata, Malaysia: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

One afternoon, Kassim took us on a walk along Path 9, along with new volunteer, Lisa from Austria.
Giant vegetables.

Kassim seemed able to identify every plant in the area, and he knew medicinal qualities in several of them. Here, he rubs some roots over one of Angela's mosquito bites to nullify the itching.

Heading back to Tanah Rata.
Back in CH Travellers Inn, our next job was to plant orchids in these pots to help decorate the new guesthouse.
Kassim fiddles around with the new wiring.
A message in the dust.
One day we took an excursion in the jungles an hour north of Tanah Rata. While Tanah Rata is about 1400 metres above sea level, these jungles were at about 800 metres, so they were much warmer, though still not as stiflingly hot as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
Our objective was to find the mysterious Rafflesia, one of the world's largest flowers. It doesn't grow anywhere near the main roads, so we would have to trek for several hours through the jungle if we were to have any hope of finding it.

We crossed several streams and rivers on the way.

At last, we began seeing these brown football-like objects on the forest floor. These were the buds of the Rafflesia, and we knew we were close! The flower spends about 15 months as a bud like this, and then blooms for about a week, so there's only a small window of opportunity to see it in its prime. This makes it tricky to find, and we'd heard that we might have to return home disappointed.
Soon we found a flower that had bloomed, but much too long ago, its leaves all black and rotten.
Finally! A live, blooming Rafflesia!
The Malays sometimes call this the "corpse flower," since it apparently smells like rotting flesh. We didn't smell anything of that sort, though it's possible you need to stick your nose right in that hole in order to smell it.
After we took our photos with the Rafflesia, we quenched our thirst by drinking the water stored in nearby bamboo stems.
Hiking back to the road.

Before taking our jeep back to Tanah Rata, we tried shooting at a bullseye with a blowpipe.
On the road back to the Cameron Highlands.

Click here to continue the adventure in Part 3!

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