On this #TravelTuesday I’m reminded of my time in BC last year. I look forward to returning to Canada soon. We drove 2.5 hours North of Vancouver, BC to explore some of the most beautiful lakes in Canada at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. These three stunning, bright blue, glacier-fed lakes are accessed by hiking through some beautiful mountains on a moderate, but well maintained trail. The third lake features a camping area with wonderful views of the Matier Glacier, which is the source of these brilliant blue, alpine lakes. https://youtu.be/IwbyO3pAAmk (at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) https://www.instagram.com/p/BylLGyHpCMa/?igshid=n2x08d3arwg4
MAGICAL MISTY ADVENTURES IN CAMERON HIGHLANDS, MALAYSIA
There were 3 main things on our list for Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. None of those things included a death defying motorcycle ride up a mountain or a trip to the emergency room. We did get to check those off our list, however. But I’ll tell you more about that later…
THE LARGEST FLOWER IN THE WORLD
At the top of our itinerary, was an excursion to try to catch the Rafflesia flower in bloom. It is a parasitic flower that is known to have the world’s largest single bloom. They can grow up to 100 cm in diameter. The tricky part is that once it blooms, it’s only photogenic for a couple days before it starts to wilt and turn to mush. The best viewing time is within the first 1-3 days, though the bloom can last for up until 6 days. They bloom throughout the year, but many people agree that rainy season is the best time to find them.
Luckily we tracked down a tour operator who had recently come back from a trip where they had spotted the elusive beauty.
After a couple hours of trekking into the jungle, we spotted our first one, but it was not in bloom. We came upon other decomposing flowers and were starting to lose faith.
Finally we reached it, there in all its glory. It wasn’t quite pristine, but good enough to satisfy the giant flower yearning burrowing its way into in my wife’s mind.
The hike back to the van proved to be interesting as a woman from Syria proceeded to bombard us with her thoughts on who exactly runs the world…Luckily, I am practiced in the art of ignoring people while I appear to be listening to them.
BOH TEA PLANTATION
When I hear the words “tea plantation,” I don’t envision a thrilling, beautiful experience. That is exactly what we experienced at The Boh Tea Plantation, though. It is the largest tea plantation in Malaysia and was founded in 1929. Despite torrential rains, the tour of the inner workings of the plantation and the tremendous natural beauty of the fields surprised and delighted my inner skeptic
The factory tour was a welcome escape from the rain. The history and the process of the tea making was actually very engaging and the stunning views from the cafe were simply breathtaking.
THE MOSSY FOREST
Here is where things started to get interesting. We decided to go to the Mossy Forest after the tea plantation. It is an amazing forest that has a bright green moss blanketing all of the trees. The picture we had seen beforehand looked amazing. It is in the same general area as the tea plantation and if we had taken the scooter we rented, it would’ve only been about a 15 minute ride. The problem is that the place we rented it from told us “their insurance would not cover us driving on the road up to the Mossy Forest.” (wtf?)
So we parked the scooter near the entrance to the plantation and began the soggy hike up the road to the Mossy Forest.
It rained off and on for what ended up being about an hour and a half journey. We finally reached our destination and began walking around the slick observational boardwalk. The following footage is all we captured.
That’s it! No pictures, nothing else! As my wife had hoped, it was magical. It was like being in a mossy mystical fairy forest. She was entranced by its beauty and I was tired from the hike. Photographing the experience was not at the top of our priorities at first. We just soaked (pun intended) it all in.
As I was drinking some water and walking down the slick wooden steps of boardwalk through the forest, my wife casually said, “be careful.” Almost simultaneously, I slipped and fell down the stairs. I crashed into the edge of one of the steps with my right elbow and felt an intense pain shoot through my arm. I got up reeling from the pain and my wife asked if I was ok. I paused and told her I needed a moment, that I hit my elbow and it hurt bad.
She picked my arm up and took a look at it.. “Oh my God! We need to go to the hospital! I can see the tissue coming out!” Apparently the step had split a large gash deep into my elbow that would require stitches. But wait, we still had an hour and a half hike back to the scooter and where the hell was the hospital anyway?! We rigged up a make shift bandage/ tourniquet with some baby wipes and a plastic shopping bag and proceeded to walk back to the scooter.
My wife adamantly announced that I couldn’t drive the bike, because I had to keep my arm straight in order to keep the baby wipe/ plastic bad in place to prevent it from bleeding.
At this point in the story, you should be aware of the fact that my wife had never driven any type of motorcycle or scooter before AND that this was a manual shifting scooter. There was no clutch but you still had to change gears with your foot.
Aside from a few close calls with the edge of a cliff early on in our journey, she took control of the vehicle very well and handled the difficult cargo girth of my 215 lb ass, like a pro. We were on our way back up the road to the hospital. It only took another 45 min. Luckily I did not have a life threatening injury, but I did think they might have to amputate my arm. (not really)
By the time we got to the hospital, the bleeding had stopped and the wound was holding together. I did have to argue with the doctor a little about getting stitches. I had not bent my arm in over 2 hours and it was not bleeding. The doctor said “go like this” and he bent his arm up, pointing his elbow at me. Ok, I thought and was amused when I did that and shot blood 5 feet across the room onto the doctor. It was like something out of a movie. “I told you, I need stitches.”
What really amazed me about my experience in this clean, modern, Malaysian emergency room was the price. $15 !! When the nurse said she wanted to give me a tetanus shot, I asked her how much extra it was. “It’s included,” she said. Then, when she handed me a week’s worth of antibiotics and
acetaminophen, I sheepishly asked “This is included too?” My American brain was baffled, confused and delighted. An emergency room visit, 3 stitches, a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and
acetaminophen all for only $15.
Malaysia is a great place for adventures of all types. The food is tremendous. The people are wonderful. And if you get injured, it’s a great bargain location at which to get patched up!