Cascades at Tanglir River.
Nee On and his models, Amelia and Sherrie
Mummy Should Think With The Tummy Like Us
Kids at Tanglir River
It all started with Nee On inviting me to a waterfall a week ago. I was somewhat reluctant initially. I wanted to go up solo on a mountain, but then I also got a phone call about a possible photo shoot in Penang. So I kinda ding-donged Nee On quite a few times throughout the week–one day it’d be I’d go, then I won’t go, the next time I’d say I’ll go, followed quickly by a I can’t go and the whole lot of other phrases that only an indecisive person can concoct. I didn’t decide on what to do for the weekend until Friday night; the night before the trip.
My start time of 7am got postponed to 9am. The perfect excuse for the delay was that I had decided to pack my whole family in the car to join in the fun of playing at a waterfall. With kids coming along, there would be delay (quite naturally actually). Anyway, once we were on the journey, all was smooth sailing. I got to the Selesa Resort–the place where we parked out cars–about an hour later.
Together with Nee On, Amos, Amelia and Sherrie, my family and I started walking towards the waterfall. The journey would take us at least one hour, and I kept wondering how my kids would fare. We walked. And we walked. And we walked. Every so often, I’d try to distract their attention from focusing on the walk. “Look, there’s a snake. It’s dead on the road,” or a “Look! Pomelo’s on trees. Did you know they grow on trees?” (Nee On didn’t know. He thought they grew on the ground). I also went, “Did you see the busy bee?” or a “Wow! This is a vegetable farm. Do you think your friends have been on a farm?” But I soon heard, “Can you please carry me?”
Before I knew it, I was carrying weights as I walked up the slopes. Because I had two sets of weights, I had to rotate them every ten steps. These were not true ten steps, by the way; I was counting one step for every three to five steps I made. So I was like doing fifty steps with one load of weight, then put it down only to pick up the other weight instantly. I’d walk another fifty steps, and would change weights again. The whole process went on in many cycles. phew. It was a tiring workout indeed. This went on for quite a bit, and I was slowed down even further when I continued with the can you spot the river, leaves, water dropping like rain, beans and other things around you game. Soon, I lost sight of the four young people who seemed to just march on and on.
I wouldn’t have fallen very far behind if I didn’t have to stop to spur the other one on so often. We were still walking on slowly when a woman, probably in the mid-twenties, came into view. She was on a motorcycle coming in the opposite direction. She must have seen how tired the kids were, and took pity on them. She offered us a ride to the top of the farm, very close to where the waterfall was. I was ready to battle the slope, but my wife was excited about the ride. The offer accepted, my kids and my wife hopped on the motorcycle and got the ride up.
So I was left alone by myself; I wasn’t in the jungle, but I was alone on the trail. I had been released from my chains, and I sort of liked it. I looked at the lush greenery around me, and I let the sounds of the jungle–of rhythms of the cicadas, rustling leaves, distant roaring waters–ring in my ears. I took a few forced breaths, filling my lungs with the fresh air, and started walking again, picking up speed as I went on. In less than five minutes, I caught up with the four. Seems like Sherrie was a tired and had slowed a little down. I greeted them and kept on walking; I wanted to get to my kids and wife.
As I passed Amos, he made a remark to the effect that it was the wrong thing to teach my daughters. He was, of course, referring to the motorcycle ride. I wasn’t in the mood to argue; my kids were kids after all! And they’ve walked their fair share of the journey. Let them have some fun and the experience of riding a motorcycle. I haven’t said anything when Amelia came to my defence: “You don’t see Mr Tan on the bike. He’s still walking.” God bless her soul! I didn’t stop to say thank you, pretending not to have heard her. I just picked up speed–my walk turned into a slight jog–and I left them behind.
We weren’t very far from our destination, and pretty soon we were all playing in the water. The river wasn’t as calm as when I first visited the place. It looked like it had swelled somewhat after a rain, and the rapids were much faster. When we got in the water, we were dipping ourselves in really cold waters. I was expecting to head down to the main waterfall later in the day, so I didn’t bother to dunk my head in the river. Unfortunately for me, time sped on unknowingly and when we decided to descend to the waterfall, it was already getting a little late. Dark clouds were forming in the sky, and my family and I had to go home for a meeting. But Amos wanted to bring Nee On to see the waterfall. Amelia and Sherrie followed them. As for me and my family, we took the trail back to the car.
Once that decision was made, I was at it again: carrying weights in cycles. I tried to make my kids walk by distracting them from the trail. But the only thing that caught their imagination was when we walked pass the vegetable fields, and they got to see a flock of swallow take off and circled the sky a few times in unison. That was something new for them; and even though I have seen such sights before, I still marveled at the birds acrobatic-like act. After that entertaining act, I had to carry the kids again. Then light raindrops came a falling. We tried to speed up in our little walk, but the kids slowed us down. After walking quite a distance, a middle aged man in a jeep/4WD came from behind us. My wife stopped him and we all got a ride out. My kids sat at the back with baskets of freshly plucked four angle beans and French beans. My wife and I stood outside the jeep on a bumper bar, and held onto the railings like we were holding onto dear life. My kids thought we were having all the fun. Maybe we were, but the ride was a pretty short one as we’ve walked quite a considerable distance.
Once we were in the car, I attacked a packet of nasi lemak. I hadn’t eaten anything when we were at the waterfall. While my family were eating oranges and sausages (or more like feeding the fish in the river because the kids kept dropping them into the river!), I was taking photographs.
Just as I stuffed the last spoonful of nasi lemak into my mouth, I noticed one of the farm’s jeep/4WD coming to a halt in my rear window. In not more than seven minutes–even before I had adequately warmed the car seat–Amos, Nee On, Amelia and Sherrie were clumsily getting off the vehicle. Hah! Here was my chance to get back at Amos–for making his comment about the motorcycle ride earlier in the day, and for having the nerves to even ask someone to ferry him out now! I opened the car window, popped my head out and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Lemahlah, you all!”
Amos shouted back, “You walked out?”
“Yeah,” I said, not revealing that I didn’t walk out all the way. I thought I’d let the thought linger in his head for a while. At the same time, I had reversed the car onto the road and was ready to head home. I simply waved goodbye and I drove off.
I’ve been wanting to revisit Tanglir Falls since I first “discovered” this place in July 2007. Unlike Amos who has returned to the waterfall numerous times, I only got to it for the second time today. Then again, I didn’t get to it. Dark clouds hovering in the afternoon sky and a meeting with kindergarten teachers I had to attend in KL meant I had to leave before I got to the spectacular waterfall. I only spent time at the calmer cascades of the river above the waterfall today. It’s like I have yet to satiate my desires; and I’ll be wanting to go back to Tanglir Falls again.
The same night, I sent messages to Nee On and Amos–about me being a really sensitive guy because I had a mild sunburn, and a confession that I walked about 80% of the trail, and got a ride for the last 20%. I can’t tell a lie. I’m not wired that way. After a while, Amos came back with messages about him eaten alive by
mosqkwerties mosquitoes and leeches and “we walked 20% ride 80%…”
So much for toughing it out; all of us cheated a little today. Maybe some more than others, but the measure is inconsequential. The bottom line is we didn’t go all the way. The next time we head to Tanglir together, perhaps I’ll get Amos to race me up the slopes. I’m sure this wasn’t our last time.
Note: You can click on the first three images for a larger (and better looking) look. Trust me, the do look better.
Related Link: Tanglir Falls • 3 July 2007.