Our trip, the one I have been nervous about for some time, started with a bit of a fizz… a text message at 2am to say our flight would be at least 2 hours delayed.. uh oh we thought, but it was all fine. Brekky at the airport following security clearance, and then we were off! We chose the back end of the plane for our seats – which worked out super well… plenty of spare seats to be able to spread out! I hate flying and did my usual anxiety take off routine – being laughed at by my friend K – which was probably deserved – I know it’s ridiculous!
The flight was, as flights often are, a long and tedious 8 1/2 hours, and the security queue at the KL airport was next level chaos! We then had a 3 hour drive into the Genting highlands. A trip that normally takes 1 1/2 hours doubled in time because of a public holiday long weekend for a Muslim holy day. To say we were exhausted on arrival would be an understatement.
We did manage a bit of a sleep in day one and then enjoyed some quality pool time, followed by a trip down to the local DFO shopping centre for a look around at all the big brands. Some more pool time and cocktails, and then a trip to the local village of Permai for dinner. That was definitely an experience! All the colour and smells – it is Durian season – a fruit that has the most pungent aroma- think vomit and sewage!… Cars driving everywhere and so many things to look at!
Day two saw us eating curry for breakfast before heading up the mountain! We went to see the Theme park that my friend K’s husband Jarrod was involved with building before his cancer diagnosis. It was such an interesting thing walking through the park with someone involved in its construction (K’s best friend L still lives and works there). We went up the mountain in a sky rail which was very high, very fast and mildly terrifying but with amazing views! On our way back down we stopped at the ChinSwee Caves Temple… a fabulous place with a giant stone Buddha and dioramas telling the story of the 8 gates of hell. I loved every minute of it!
Day 3 started with surprisingly noisy rain but is was a lovely morning to sit and wallow for a while. We had curry for brekky again. L came around to our room and we had some fabulous conversations… my new nickname is either Behemoth or Hindenburg (a strikingly attractive large object)… depending on the mood… I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it, but he has assured me that it is meant to be complimentary!?
I mentioned that I was yet to see monkeys – I had been told they would be everywhere on the golf course but hadn’t seen any, L organised his driver to take us to a spot we would be guaranteed to find them. And that we did! They were everywhere and quite terrifying up close! I was given half a loaf of bread to feed them, and once they saw the bag they were very enthusiastic and clearly hierarchical if the pushing, screeching and baring of teeth was anything to go by… but also very very cute!
When we went back to our resort, it was decided that we would complete the main reason for our trip… to place Jarrods ashes in a spot that he loved, one of the water holes that are on the golf course at the resort. It is a beautiful spot and it was a privilege and incredibly moving to be part of something so special. I didn’t know Jarred, but if it wasn’t for him, this trip and my friendship with K, and by association L, would never have happened. A nasty glass of his favourite Rum and Coke and L and K sharing their favourite memories rounded out the afternoon for us.
For dinner that night we went back down to Permai to eat at one of the local shops. It was almost impossible to get a Grab (like Uber) given it was one of the holiest days of the year for the Malay people, so when the local police chief offered to drive us down the hill to the village for dinner in his car that has a bullet hole in the side, we couldn’t say no!! The lady that runs the shop we went to, had promised to make my friends favourite curry, and was just so so happy when we came back to eat with her. There were plenty of tears from all of us – police chief included, when we discovered that we were all widowed – Echo Chamber of Misery – Malay chapter – sometimes it really feels like a very small world!
We had the very best chicken Randang curry I have ever eaten and a fabulous conversation with the locals! The Police chief very kindly also drove us home – and contrary to some of my boys predictions no one harvested my kidneys (or showed the slightest inclination for that to happen!). One last night in Genting and then on to part two.
There was a bittersweet sadness leaving the Highlands – K and Jarred’s home for 3 years, and heading on to KL and the next part of our adventure, but also excitement and enthusiasm for what was to come! …. Part two still in progress, but coming soon xx