As usual, we met at Kelana Jaya LRT first and we departed at 8.15 a.m., a little later than planned, due to me turning up a bit late. Darn those non-peak-period-trains-schedule-to-arrive-every-eleven-minutes practise.
There were nineteen of us in five cars, down from twenty seven who signed up initially. Which, I feel, was too bad for them. They sure missed a hell lot of fun.
The two-hour journey didn’t feel long at all, as we had a lot to talk and laugh about in the car. A little past ten and we arrived at Gua Tempurung.
We entered the cave after paying a fee of RM20 each. A bit unfortunate for us, as we got a guide who speaks Cantonese.
Now, everyone knows that my Cantonese is
When we entered the cave, he explained that Gua Tempurung is named as such because of the smooth white surfaces of the cave. Which was not a lot actually; they could only be seen at the entrance.
The cave is made of limestone, with all sorts of shapes and lengths of stalactites and stalagmites. The guide then began to point out shapes and forms on the walls and ceilings which resemble familiar things, for example the face of a ghost, Kun Yum (Chinese Goddess of Mercy), monkey, horse, seahorse, a pregnant woman, drumstick, etc.
To me, it was interesting at first. But then it got tiresome. I was more interested in the scientific and technical aspects of the cave, like how it was formed, how did the cave changed after it became a tourist attraction, how they built the metal pathway, etc.
To be fair, he did mention a few of those. Like where the old trek was and how difficult it was to explore the cave then before the current pathway was built. Like how old is the rock that is about a hundred feet high, seemingly barely supported at the bottom by an adjoining one – 560,000 years old, according to an expert.
And he did explain a little about the history of the cave, of how the communists used it as a hiding place during and after the Japanese invasion. There were writings on the walls, supposedly codes about how to move about in the cave (one can get lost pretty easily back then, without the many halogen bulbs that are installed now).
The reason that oh-look-at-that-protrusion-that-look-like-breasts-and-it-even-has-
nipples turned quickly into something annoying, was because they can look like anything, with a bit of imagination. It’s like clouds – they can look like anything with a little suggestive ideas.
As such, I stopped listening and instead look at the formations myself.
After a while, it all looked the same. There are some parts of the cave where there is water dripping from the ceiling and water running – beautiful sights of nature, carving something wonderful out of a slab of nondescript stone.
Of course I won’t be able to see the final product, unless I get to live for a half a million years.
Actually, there are two parts of the tour, one dry and one wet. The *ahem* less adventurous visitors can settle for the dry part where it is well lit and not very interesting and the caverns are huge and one can walk upright. The latter part is the opposite; smaller spaces where one has to squat, crawl, slide or lie flat on the ground, and a few times, all of the above but in water.
Which is what made the trip tremendously fun.
Heh. The off-the-beaten-track requires agility and flexibility, courage and cooperation.
Ok, that was a bit of exaggeration. But it certainly did entail more physical work than the dry part, which was, well ... literally and figuratively dry.