Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Malaysia and Endau Rompin National Park - FOOD!

On our Singapore adventure, we had the priveledge to be able to wander into Malaysia. We awoke early one morning and boarded a train with little idea what we were getting ourselves into. The first thing we learned was that Malaysians may enjoy food and eating food more than Singaporeans do. Upon our arrival at the train station in Bekok, eating was our first activity.

Our first Malaysian meal was served at the National Park Corporation office in Bekok where we were greeted by our guide Gary and a Park Manager named Chu. We then loaded up into 4 wheel drive vehicles for the hour journey into Endau Rompin National Park in the Johor Province of Southern Malaysia. Despite the bumpy ride, we were all enthralled as each sight was new for everyone.

Upon our arrival at our camp in Endau Rompin we were once again greeted with a meal. This time, the meal was prepared by Adni and his wife Isha (sp?) who we would get a chance to become better acquanted with during out time in Malaysia.

After a brief orientation to the camp and the accomodations (spartan at best), we then visited a local village of indigenous people that once lived within the Park, but now live just outside the Park's borders. This was a very valuable experience, but in of itself is worthy of an entire entry some other time. Suffice it to say, that the hospitality of these people was tremendous. And, of course, the first thing we did was eat again!

After visiting the Orang Asli (Malay for "Original People") we then returned to camp to find a snack just in case we were still hungry. Adni and his wife prepared us some delicious homemade doughnuts that would not be our last wonderful Malaysian snack.

And, just in case you were wondering, we followed the doughnuts up shortly with dinner. Yum!

Then, feeling the need to walk off our 6 meals, most of the group went with Gary and a local guide named Yassin on a night walk. The night walks also are worthy of a separate entry, but after the night walk everyone was ready for bed. We wandered up the hill to our "chalets" and settled onto our wooden planks for a good nights sleep amidst the sounds of the rainforest. I can say nothing but good things about sleeping with the sounds of the rainforest around me, but my back would like to have a word with whoever thought sleeping on wooden plants with only a straw matt and a sheet was a good idea. Nevertheless, I awoke the next morning ready to continue exploring the rainforest, and ready for another tasty meal!

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