“Edwin, you’re going to Taman Negara next weekend!”, Kak Rozi caught me as I strolled my way past her. “What?” “It’s compulsory. Please click ‘Accept’ in your calendar invite”. I was already squirming my eyes, I was planning to enjoy my weekend with my lover. Well, I guess I have to oblige to the 3-day trip planned for the department.
All that was stuck in my head was mosquitoes, leeches and more mosquitoes. Nothing short of that. Boy I was wrong.
We took off from the office at 11pm. At 410 am, we reached Taman Negara. Before we arrived, I had the impression of, we’re going to stay at some cheap chalets with leaky roof, crappy foods and toilet that doesn’t have a proper lock. I was wrong. It was just like any luxury getaway resorts, air conditioned, bricks and mortar, full mobile reception.
The first day, we hiked. It was thrilling and exhilarating, of course, tiring as hell. Up hill slopes, slippery down hills and saw some wild huge insects. It was fun to watch co-workers in their mid 30s struggling to catch up. And I finally know how a Tongkat Ali looks like other than Ali Cafe.
Amongst our path was the Canopy walk a.k.a. hanging bridge. I have to admit, I am afraid of heights but surprisingly, I managed to content my phobia especially when the head of division started jumping like a monkey and swaying the bridge left and right. If it did break, we’d suffer hemorrhage and a few broken bones from a 35 meters fall. Thank God I survived.
In the evening, we went to visit our original landlords, the orang Asli (native people).
In my 27 years of living, I’ve never seen a life as simple as these people. They couldn’t care much about making money, what matters was their survivability and not getting too hungry in the process. It somehow reflected onto myself, while I enjoy my lamb curry, slaughtered and cooked to perfection at any mamak franchise, these people, hunt, fish, gather and start their own fire.
From their appearance, you can tell that they don’t have loads to wear nor do they smother after bath lotions. Dried dark skin and fuzzy hair do was the way to go. Most with missing tooth. At some point, I felt embarrassed being properly dressed, use of personal care and not barefooted. I guess the feeling surfaced because we were the minorities.
We also tried shooting some sumpit, which of course, most of us missed miserably. I missed by 3 inch below the target.
An Orang Asli showing us how to light a fire using woods. I won’t bother lighting one manually, I either pack foods or bring along a lighter but truth is, I was impressed with his skills.
Just as I thought the first day was over, there’s a night walk. It was pretty dark and lively. The mat sallehs were in their evening dress to explore the woods. Seriously wtf. Anyway, we did spot some wild deers, huge insects, scorpions, birds and nothing extra terrestrial.
When the clock struck midnight, everyone was already snoring their way to slumber land. Tiredness has taken it’s toll due to lack of sleep (3-4 hours) before the first day starts.
On second day, we hiked to a water fall. The water is not as clear as your average perception, it was black. Black like the thick tea that your forgot to strain after hours soaking the tea bag. We had to take a 30 minute boat ride to get there. The journey was already half the fun, what more when arriving.
Thank God, there’s nothing line up for us in the evening so we loitered at a local shop. They sold keropok lekor 10 sen per piece. We had 70! Hahaha.
The night was pretty interesting, a buffet dinner under the starlight and a camp fire (which to me was just nothing more that burning woods). The lamb was marvelous, I even got some pointers
Of course, being a weirdo, I didn’t want the fire to go to waste, so I leaped over the fire a few times. And someone managed to capture it.
The third night ended with a karaoke session, much to my disappointment, they don’t air Chelsea’s match. Boo hoo!
The last day here at Taman Negara Resort, we had a few rounds paintball. I got one huge bruise on my back. It looked as if a bird took a dump on me. Painful? Yes. But I like.
After lunch, we checked out and took a boat ride about 2 hours! I was fun at first, before I knew it, half of us was already fast asleep. I accidentally stuck my hand out of the boat and got sun burn on just that hand. I shouldn’t have declined the sun block offer from the ladies.
What have I learned from this trip? First, I never knew Taman Negara was so much fun when they’res a huge turn out. Second, two of my superiors are either insane or crazy (most managers are). Third, I’d thank the company for sponsoring the whole event. Taman Negara sure leaves us with tonnes of memory. If you’ve got the time, go! Make sure to rope in a few of your friends too!
ps: There was one keras incident, but I guess I’d just tease you with that.