Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 3: Telaga Tujuh at Jelawang Waterfalls and 'Drama' on the return home

Despite it being our last day in Stong and that there are no major ‘events’ scheduled for the day, I woke up early in the morning, shortly before sunrise to catch a repeat of yesterday’s spectacle that I missed. The crowd of sun watchers was markedly less today and as the minutes passed, it was soon clear that the sun has decided to go into ‘hiding’.
Waiting for the 'rising' sun... what else? :p ;)

People were starting to leave but I lingered on, the girls, Linus and Sum as well. Instead of viewing the blazing red orb rising from the horizon, we were treated to a different spectacle, the view of the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds, an awe inspiring effect Linus calls ‘God’s sunrise’.
Sunrise in Dabong Valley

Dabong Valley bathed in the morning light

Breakfast today was what’s really left of our food, consisting of another round of instant noodles and eggs. My ‘tank’ was already quite full and I restrained myself from gorging more than I could manage.
Breakfast! :D

At 9:30am, Dek came over, ready to take us further along the stream to another set of falls called Telaga Tujuh.
There are actually many more 'holes' than Telaga TUJUH seems to imply ;)

It’s not really that far. In fact it is only beyond the 5 minute walk to the waterfall we had been going to all along. Reaching it however, required a little bit of climbing and after about 15 minutes we were there and greeted by the same large group of people that were doing the ‘sliding’ down from waterfall stunt a day earlier.
A slippery climb up to Telaga Tujuh...

As we await our turn, I took the opportunity to survey the surroundings. Like I have mentioned earlier, Telaga Tujuh is another waterfall upstream of Jelawang. What distinguishes it from the rest were these underwater ‘holes’ located right underneath it. Two of these stands out, one being large enough to accommodate a single grown person with a depth as high while another , a larger hole enough to accommodate three to four people in one go!
One of the 'smaller' holes at the falls

This one could fit THREE! :D

Both are covered with water and it is rather fun dipping your whole body into them. For those opting to have a very good and hard massage, you are welcomed to lean against the side of the falls while allowing your back to be smacked by the onrushing water falling from the top.
Wei Han and Yee Wei having a good massage...

Wei Han looks suspiciously 'satisfied'... ;)

The gang at the falls... ;)

We did all this when we had our turn and after taking a few pictures most of us returned down to our camp. Linus and Henry however, chose to try another level up, finding a small pool above and another smaller fall pass the slippery slopes.
Some of us manage to clamber over the top of Telaga Tujuh Falls...

... revealing jumping 'natives' below ;)

By the time they returned, it was time to pack our stuff and head down. Bidding Baha Camp goodbye, we commenced our descent down at 1:30pm.
Packing up for the hike back!

Farewell Camp Baha! :D

Getting down was a breeze and opting for the ‘official’ track, we were back at the bottom within an hour, or at least Kam Keong, Wei Han, Yee Wei and me. The rest took a little while longer to get down, delayed slightly by ‘sum’ drama of Sum slipping and falling down on his butt that resulted in a few scratches.
Ching Li having a 'snack' on the way down ;)

By the time they were down, I had just exited the toilet, having emptied the 2 days worth of contents from my stomach! :p
Back at Base Camp! Looks like the track down is more strenous than it looks for some... ;)

There were very nice bathrooms at the park office, except that only ONE of them was truly working. While I was in the toilet, Wei Han, Kam Keong and Yee Wei had already taken their turn at it and my very timely exit from the toilet coincided very nicely with the schedule. After a long and very refreshing shower, I returned to the staging area near the registration office to have a go at some deliciously prepared Ramly burger. Coupled with generous gulps of 100 Plus, Pepsi and iced water (in order of consumption ;)), it felt like a meal made in heaven… Mmmm. The arrival of advance elements from the other group who started off after us, hastened our departure.
Refreshed and 'unloaded'! It's time to show how happy we are at a mission accomplished!

When Henry finished his bath, it was time for us to have a REAL meal, the van already ready to pick us and transfer us to Jelawang ‘Café’, located on the road to Dabong town. It was standard Malay fare but nevertheless, we ordered like nobody business. We had two servings each of ‘telur dadak’, seafood tomyam, mixed vegetables, ayam masak merah and sweet sour beef to cater to 11 people. Sadly, they were out of fish. We spent RM156.00 for the meal with some of us suspecting that its inflated price might have something to do with providing a little of ‘commission’ to our guide. :p
Sum displaying his chivalric inclinations! (To the cheers of the other guys!)

We had to return to the station by 5:30pm, the van having to take up more people waiting at Stong park. As we neared the station, I caught sight of a train coming out from under an overhead bridge, little knowing that it was a prelude to an ‘extension’ of our trip.
Time to head back!

We got down, I heading to the agency office to collect the stuff I left behind. When I got out, people were running about, there was a strange excitement in the air, uncanny for a town this sleepy. :p “The train derailed!” said Sum as he ran by. Oh-boy! I supposed it was really wishful thinking that we could still board the train home on schedule at 8:36pm, but at that point in time I was still hopeful. Not wanting to be left out of the ‘excitement’ I joined the growing crowd to ‘observe’ the debacle. Apparently the last coach slipped of the track, damaging the sleepers and yanking out the restraining clips in the process.
Time Extension???? Train derailment in Dabong!

There’s going to be a lot of work to be done. First was to set the coach back on the track and second to repair the track itself. Only then did I understand that I am going to spend a little bit more time here in Dabong.
Hello? Hello?! Train Derailment! Train Derailment! :p

The hour of our departure came and went. The moon was high and people were starting to get agitated. Everyone was huddling at the station now and milling about the two small ‘makan’ stalls nearby. Thankfully, one of them had a large TV, from which we watched the Carling Cup final between Man Utd and Aston Villa.
Nightfall at Dabong... the hours tick...

The usually sleepy local 'makan' shop has suddenly become the most HOTTEST spot in Dabong!

Others without an interest in football had to find ‘other’ types of entertainment and while some would have been contented with playing cards and chatting, Linus decided to take a step further, one resulting in a shouting match between the KTMB station master and himself.
Newest GSC branch in Dabong! :D

Actually, our tickets did mention that ‘should the train be delayed more than 2 hours before departure’, we are entitled for a FULL REFUND. Typical of Malaysian ‘gah-men’ service, the guy doesn’t know anything and at first adopted their standard ‘tidak-apa’ attitude. That riled Linus up and the result was that he managed to coerced the station master to chop, sign and leave a remark on our tickets saying that our train was more than 2 hours late, so that we can later bring the issue back at KL Sentral. We boarded the train at last around 3:30am in the morning, after teams of KTMB workers worked (and drank their share of teh tarik/teh o’limau) to remove the obstruction.
The train arriving AT LAST!

I made a short visit to the galley, got a bottle of water before heading back to my bunk. I slept lightly, remembering the train hurtling pass Kuala Lipis station then Jerantut, Kuala Krau, Mentakab, before I finally woke up as we approached Bahau, Negeri Sembilan.
Murder on the Orient Express? ;) I was so tired, I might as well be a corpse!

Ah... the comforts of air conditioning... ;) Not! :p

It was close to 9am then and the fact that we were already in Negeri Sembilan seem to imply that we’ll reach KL very soon! Those merry thoughts were dashed when we found out we still had to go south towards Gemas, Johor before the train headed back north.
Gemas leng lui... ;)

At Gemas, we stopped for almost an hour, some of us actually entertaining thoughts of paying a visit to the station’s Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant to grab a bite but all fearing that the train might just suddenly leave, stranding us behind!
Gemas leng chais and leng luis... ;)

We did manage to wander about outside the train and with so much time in our hands, some of us decide to conduct a somewhat interesting ‘experiment’. :p
The result of the experiment... if you think walking along railway tracks is 'romantic', look down at your feet. Because that's where all the excrements from the toilets are deposited!

We left Gemas at about 1:30pm, finally heading north towards home sweet home. As we approached KL Sentral, the electrical circuitry decided to play tricks on us, switching on and off at intervals of 20 to 30 minutes, reeking havoc on the lights and most importantly the air conditioning! :p Kam Keong happily got off at Kajang, relieved that he could short cut the agony and head home from there. Strangely, the air conditioning turned itself ‘on’ the moment he stepped out the train!
Kam Keong happily leaving the HOT train... strangely, the air conditioning turned itself back on the moment he stepped out of it! :p

Thinking that we might have perhaps gotten rid of the jinx, we soldiered on. The electrical circuitry gave up again as we approached KL Sentral at 3:30pm, plunging us into total darkness as we entered the tunnel where the arrival platforms were. We quickly got off the train. Still, there was some ‘unsettled’ business to attend to. Being the so called ‘organizer’ of the trip, I had to at least put some effort in ‘trying’ to get our refunds from KTMB. I approached the counter and made a preliminary enquiry. I was not surprised to be informed that there was no refund forthcoming. Their reason was simple, they might have been late, but despite that you still ‘used’ their services to get yourself back and therefore there should be no refund. :p Things begin to simmer when the ‘long haired’ one came over and helmed the ‘negotiations’ with KTMB.
The long haired one having a 'civilized' chat with your friendly KTMB staff...

Starting off by asking the female clerk whether she understood English, he demanded for our refund pointing out that vague ‘clause’ on our E-tickets. He was eventually asked to write a letter to the clerk’s superior who was not there. In it, he threatened to take court action against them as well as publish our experience in various newspapers should the refund isn’t forthcoming :p. He then asked *me* to sign the letter, which freaked me out! I mean, I support your crusade to make Malaysia right and all that, but putting me in the forefront ala ‘Rosa Parks’, well, that’s a whole different ball game altogether! :p Nevertheless, I signed the letter after getting Linus to sign on it as well. “Don’t worry dude, we’re right! They’re wrong,” reassured Linus. ;) As he submitted our signed letter, we found out that among the ‘supporting documents’ stapled to it, Linus, Yee Wei, Henry and Sum’s e-tickets were not among them.
The last time that document was seen... ;)

Apparently, the custodian of their tickets had left it under his pillow in the train rendering the possibility of the 4 getting their refunds (should there is any) slim to say the least. I guess Linus must have been very tired, because surprisingly he bit his tongue on this and we were all ‘released’ to head home. We parted ways, each of us taking separate modes of transport home. Like the way we came, Wei Han and I chartered a taxi to bring us to where Wei Han parked his car, his office. My mind was so wrapped up thinking about court cases and such that regrettably, the taxi driver managed to drive off with my unpowered Nokia N82! Goodbye my dear phone… you’ll be truly missed! :p This unceremoniously made the trip to Gunung Stong/Jelawang the MOST EXPENSIVE hiking trip I have ever been done so far! But one very good thing I gained out of all this though… I could now fit into my size 32 jeans again. And that my friends, made ALL that hard work WORTHWHILE! Until next time… ;)

5 comments:

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  3. very exclusive travel trip reports!!

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    ReplyDelete