First stop was KL to the Muzium Negara, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in this location this year, and another trip to the Muzium Tekstil Negara. In both museums I was particularly interested in the crafts of the orang asli, the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia. Officially there 18 tribes which comprise three groups: the Semang, the Senoi and the Proto-Malay. Here is a detail of a Mah-Meri (Senoi) women's skirt made of origami mengkuang leaves.
|Origami skirt worn over a bark cloth skirt made from Terap tree.|
|FInely woven hast with bright red pom-poms|
The Cameron Highlands occupies an area the size of Singapore, and are situated 200km from Kuala Lumpur in Pehang, bordering Perak. They are the highest point in Malaysia - 1135 to1839m above sea level - and are therefore a popular cool climate destination for nationals and tourists alike and are the site of many large tea plantations. The bus ride there can be a terrifying 4 hour ordeal, on very windy narrow roads with fearless bus drivers overtaking anything and everything on the way. Needless to say, not pleasant for those who suffer from motion sickness (or for those who don't!). The best way to get through it is probably close your eyes and ears and try to sleep as soon as possible.
|View of one of the Boh Tea plantations|
Jim Thompson was an American businessman who revitalized the Thai silk industry in the 50's and 60's, saving it from extinction. Although his work lives on, he himself disappeared whilst on a trip to the Cameron Highlands in March 1967. After attending a church service in the morning, he left Moonlight Cottage in the afternoon for a stroll.
|This is Sunlight Bungalow, Moonlight Bungalow in the background.|
Although he knew the area well, and was a keen walker, no trace of him was ever found. Several theories exist - that he was eaten by tigers; that he had been kidnapped by communists; that he was a victim of a hit-and-run accident and his body hidden; that he was killed by an orang asli trap; that he had planned his own disappearance or even committed suicide. Unfortunately we may never know as no trace of him could be found despite hiring groups of orang asli trackers, police, military, and foreign experts. The two cottages that he and his friends occupied that weekend - Moonlight and Sunlight Bungalows - have new owners who do not allow visitors in, although you can rent them to stay in, although at the time of my visit they were still undergoing renovations.
|We were not allowed past the Sunlight Bungalow unfortunately.|
|Yes, I do know which is the more stunning redhead!|
|A view inside the Rafflesia|
|Beautiful ornamentation on the inside and on the 'petals'|
|Rafflesia bud getting ready to open.|
|Old town Ipoh kedai|
|The banana flower, or bunga pisang.|
I was also back in time for a large dinner party with some visitors from the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was also time to say good-bye to Carlo Gernale, who has finished his 3-month residency and flies back to the Philipines. Selamat tinggal, kawan saya.
sehingga minggu depan