17 June 2011

KuLu Tu: Trekkin Happy Time

The last leg of my travels (it's so long ago now it seems like a dream) was Kuala Lumpur.  It was mid January and it was hot, humid and bustling with energy.  Judging from KL's location near the equator, I think such weather is the norm there.

I checked into one of my favourite hostels in the world, Red Palm, where my pal (who I'd met six months earlier), Mac, works.  I told Mac I wanted to spend a day or two out of town, in a place more congenial to my exhausted soul.   The next morning, a local forty/fifty-something year old man named Happy picked me up.  We stopped for breakfast at Kuala Kubu Baru, a district with a large Indian population, before heading off to the Chiling Waterfall.

Kuala Kubu Baru
Happy is an irrepressibly charismatic man.  You would never have guessed he spent a career working in insurance.  After ten near-death experiences, he decided to read the Tao Te Ching, the Koran, the Bible, and other primary religious texts from front to back.  He believes there is one common underlying thread between all these texts, and that is, that God is within all of us.  He memorises and recited a number of quotes from each of these texts that supports this assertion.  Yet, he doesn't understand why there is so much conflict between religions today.

This is the back of Happy's head.  He has a strange scar that resembles the number 10 which reflects the number of near-death experiences he's had.  Examples of such experiences include a heart attack and night-dive where he was face to face with a shark.
Trekking towards the waterfall
After one and a half hours of discussing spirituality, chopping through thick shrubs and wading through waste-high waters, we arrived at the inspiring and secluded Chiling Waterfalls.  We were truly off the beaten track - at least I thought so, until we stumbled upon some of his old friends who also knew of the waterfall.

Here, I fed some fish, jumped off boulders and went for a relaxing swim.  As we trekked back towards our base through the jungle, Happy taught me some interesting facts about many of Malaysia's native plants and how we, as humans, can learn from their survival techniques.

Chiling Waterfall
Leaves that resembled the pattern on a soccer ball!
The last stop of the day was the Batang Kali Hot Springs.  It was at these hot springs that I thought Happy might actually be crazy.  The water in these hot springs was between 42 to 49 degrees celsius.  Upon arriving, he immersed his whole body, including his head, into the hot pool of water.  Then he told me it was my turn.  First, I splashed some of the water onto my feet.  They turned red almost instantaneously.  I thought I was about to be involved in some sort of religious suicide.

After providing me with some mental exercises, he taught me to control my mind over my body and I managed to submerge myself in the hot pool of water without feeling any pain.  I felt like I had been exorcised.  It was surreal.  My body was red and swollen for the remainder of the day!


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