PART14. Gunung Ledang mountain

Gurang Ledang mountain.

Nigel and Fong took us down to Malacca to climb a mystical mountain. Malacca is further South than Penang island and on the west coast. Mount Ophir or by it Malaysian name Gunung Ledang  situated in the Gunung Ledang national park which is in Ledang district, northwest Johor Malaysia.

We took another chilly air conditioned night bus from Penang to Kuala Lumpur and then to Gunung ledang mountain. We arrived at the base of the mountain in the afternoon and booked a room in the Gunung Ledang resort. A small hotel with a swimming pool. Vin, Lian and myself shared a room together. We unloaded our luggage and went to ascend the mountain.

Gunang Ledang resort

It had tropical forest as we walked up the steep path. Vines and trees, insects clicking and buzzing incessantly. The stone steps became incredibly steep and short and the climb became harder. I was glad for the hand railing.

Nigel Sutton and Lian Sutton by the waterfall

We finally arrived at a pool with a waterfall . The waterfall went as far as the eye could see, up the mountain. We had bought our swimming trunks with us and we all changed and got in. Both Nigel Sutton and Lian took their kris knives out and dipped them in the water.

Lian Sutton washing his kris in the pool.

Gunung Ledang has a legend attached to it about a princess with magical powers who was wooed by the sultan of Malacca; she agreed to marry him only if he could complete 7 impossible tasks. This is when it gets murky; some say he managed only to complete the first 6. The 7th task was to bring the magical princess a bowl of blood from his young son. Others say he was about to cut his son when an image of the princess appeared and told him she could never marry a man who would hurt his own son. Then she disappears forever.

Although there are different versions the point of the story is to illustrate the Sultans pride and how it blinded him to the real reason why the princess gave him the challenges. The reason being she really didn’t want to marry him.

Bathing in the pool or dipping your kris in the pool may be a way of imbuing yourself with the Princesses magical powers.

The pool wasn’t deep and the water was clear and fresh. Tiny fish began to nip and nibble our feet trying to eat the dead skin. It was almost unbearably ticklish.

Tim, Lian, Vin

 After I had swum a while I climbed up the rocks and followed the waterfall up the mountain. Passing the ‘’DO NOT PASS’’ sign and leaping from rock to rock. The waterfall crashing down beside me, thick forest on either side. I kept climbing up and up until I reached a grand bolder which I wasn’t prepared to climb. I sat for a while on the warm rocks watching the water crash down over the rocks. I meditated and focused on the spirit of the tiger. I rose to my feet and made my way back down to the others by the pool.

On the way down Nigel Sutton put a small rock in his pocket, apparently many people try and take items away from the mountain and the authorities have been trying to deter them. ‘’do not take anything off the mountain and you’re not allowed to take machine guns up the mountain’’ A sign warned at the base. Seriously it actually said ‘’no machine guns’’

Vin and I found an old tree which had fallen over on our journey down and we mounted it and practiced our Lian padukan sparring to try and topple each other off. Like so many journeys which have been built up or have significance you should grasp this one failed to take a hold on me. I didn’t feel anything special like many have claimed to. I didn’t see any strange animals or ghosts. We arrived back at the Gunung Ledang resort and had another swim in the pool.

Some people have revealing dreams after visiting Gunung Ledang. I desperately wanted to have some sort of spiritual encounter that evening but I didn’t and I woke up the next day disappointed and with no memory of my dream. Vin did mention that I sat up in bed late at night and said ‘’Vegetables’’ but I am yet to decipher its meaning.


PART350 monarch butterfly

Sunday, April 24, 2011. A day off work. I dreamt I had a new born baby, I was living in a caravan and all around me were raucous partying campers. I lay with my baby and hoped that it wouldn’t be woken by the noise.

I myself woke at midday refreshed; there was a heavy rainfall audible outside. Sarah had gone out with Maggie and I was left all by myself as Jorine and Candy were both at work. I took a long ponderous shower, thinking about how if I had given into my slight urges to drink last night then today I would have been laiden with a hangover. I was glad I had not drunk.

I took an umbrella and went shopping, the rain cleared as I approached Te puke and I put the umbrella in my bag. I bought the necessities and another can of cream soda from the sweetie shop. As I cracked open the can outside the shop I saw a poster in the window advertising whippy ice cream. In the poster a cartoon child was running and smiling with an ice cream in hand. The name of the brand was called farm boy “always licked never beaten” was the slogan below the picture. How peculiar I thought to myself as I walked away.

I met a fellow Trevelyan worker in the countdown supermarket; He told me he was also going to a job interview at Mt Ruapehu. It seems many seasonal workers are planning their migrations down to the ski slops. I feel like I am part of a flock of geese, traveling freely, stopping where ever we will for a short honk and a rest, then off again to pursue this life of a traveler.

On the walk home the rain had began again and as I popped open the umbrella I saw a large butterfly which after finding out the species reviled its self to be a Monarch the king of butterflies, pail orange wings with black edging and the body was black with white spots like a Dalmatian dog. The butterfly was slowly walking on the foot path, raindrops which looked like led weights beaded on its wings. I picked it up and it faceed forwards as I took it home under my umbrella.

When I got home Sarah opened the door and after showing her delight at my buying some crisps she gave her attention to the butterfly. We put it on the table in our room and left it be. It didn’t move at all, I thought it was dead but after gently prodding its antenna I found out that it was just tired.

The rest of the day past smoothly, like most times of idleness I ate out of mere boredom, heaps of ice cream with chopped up Kiwi fruit, mountains of noodles and sand wedges. As evening approached I was bilious and felt pretty sick. I wonder if having time off from work is actually wise?