Staycays are the new vacays Pt 2

After the beach scene it was now time for the green scene. Asraf and I travelled 1400km exploring new places and spending as much time as we could outside away from people (with limited success). Cuti cuti Malaysia is in full force combined with the Hari Raya holiday and after months of seeing barely anyone it’s been weird being around people again.

We started our road trip in Negeri Sembilan (the 9th state Asraf tells me) at the Dusun. The Dusun is a rainforest kampung style resort which sadly hit media headlines when a teenage girl went missing. Her body was later found in the rainforest by hikers. When I found the Dusun during my research I knew I had heard something about this place. It’s a very tragic connection to a beautiful and tranquil place. We loved our Dusun kampung house. It’s surrounded by nature, has it’s own kitchen facilities and there is a pool you can use too if you book a time. Covid life. We wandered around the grounds and I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. They were very aggressive mosquitoes.
On our second day we hiked up Gunung Angsi. Things were going OK until it rained A LOT and we got absolutely soaked and the ground was very slippy. Small rivers were cascading down the path and my shoes were not enjoying it. A random Chinese lone hiker attached himself to us for the slide down. He must have felt we would be able to support him wiht his endeavours and offer moral support.
We conversed with other soaking wet people and then we spent many days trying to dry out our clothes. At night we saw the biggest moth I’ve ever seen and apparently according to a news article I found there are many of them around these days and no one knows why. Population of giant moths is on the rise. Good for them.
It’s hard to tell but it’s huge.

After 3 nights we left the Dusun to travel to Melaka for one night. Here we met up with Asraf’s old friends and I discovered that durian sticky rice is amazing. We then went for a pie because there was a British pie restaurant!! Unfortunately I over indulged in my excitement and later vomited. That’s the outcome of finding British food in Malaysia for you.It was also every single person’s birthday in the restaurant and the above photo shows how Asraf felt about the happy birthday song on repeat. Melaka is a beautiful UNESCO city with great historical buildings and street art. It is also home to the biggest monitor lizards I’ve ever seen.
Our next stop was Colmar Tropicale which was one of the most bizarre places I’ve ever been. It is based on a French Town and it’s trying to be a European village in Malaysia. This was the most crowded place I’ve been to in Malaysia especially considering the pandemic. People go nuts for this kind of thing. We found it underwhelming. It was a nice concept but I guess if you’re actually European then it’s not going to cut it. They had a Krispy Kreme which was a huge deal but when we went to get some THEY WERE SOLD OUT. You snooze you lose and we really did lose. I was fuming. We also had the most awful supposed Italian food and I left a scathing review telling them they murdered some of my favourite ingredients of all time, pesto and blue cheese. I’m still not over it.Weird, weird vibes. There was also the hugest monkey I’ve ever seen causally going into people’s hotel windows and stealing their stuff. It was the size of a large dog. It was terrifying because I’ve discovered that I have a phobia of monkeys since moving to Malaysia and having to interact with them frequently.

So we left Colmar Tropicale uncertain if we liked it or not. We stopped off at a cool waterfall but Asraf left his bag there so that was a stressful car journey back again. Thankfully it was still there. Just keeping it interesting…
We then went to out favourite spot of the trip, a tree house in a Durian orchard. We loved the tree house. The first night there was other people on the campsite boo but the second day and night there was no one there but us. What a dream. Asraf enjoyed making fires and I loved the stars and the fire flies. There was also a super cute dog family.Asraf remincised about his childhood and did his laundry in the river and we had a really great time. We walked around all the orchards and I read a book and tried not to get bitten by mosquitoes again. After leaving the orchard we travelled to Bukit Fraser. Bukit Fraser is now one of my favourite spots in Malaysia. It’s cool (temperature wise), it’s a protective forest which is rare here, the people were friendly and the views were stunning. I got bitten by a leech even through socks and leggings and found out hours later when my shoe was full of blood. It took me a good hour to stop the spurting blood. Those leeches are pesky.
Our final stop was Gopeng where we experienced some incredible scenery before heading back to Penang. Gopeng is seriously beautiful but unfortunately the camp site we were staying on was full of students on some kind of activity trip and that was noisy and annoying alllllll night long. We are becoming old before our time but whatever. We need to go back and explore the caves. On our return we got caught by a speed trap and then Asraf dropped his brand new laptop and broke the screen. My fit bit screen broke and basically we have destroyed all our most loved technology in 8 days. However we had a great time, discovered a love of Nescafe mocha poaches and spent the first time together outside of our apartment in months. Oh and I brought the alpacas.Sadly I missed my mum’s birthday whilst I was away and I cried multiple times about being home sick. I am grateful for my experiences and having the ability to travel around, low corona virus numbers etc but I really struggle being away from home for so long. The anxiety of not knowing what is going on from day to day doesn’t sit well with me because I am a stringent planner. Ups and downs of current expat life are in full force. Let’s see what happens next.
Happy birthday to my mum. We wish we were there.

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