Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weekend retreat

We followed our GPS - then nothing showed on the screen - our destination was off the radar. There was  only one  way  to go - keep following the  gravelly road. Finally we arrived at The Dusun, tucked in the Berembun Reserve, about an hour's drive from KL.

Jem, a staff and an orang Asli  of the Temuan tribe greeted us to escort us to our overnight abode. Down the steps we walked with our hands full, each one of us, lugging our bags and food. Upon entrance into Emas chalet, a quick look around registered ,'Yay! this is it!'. So did 5 of the rest. First impressions - so free and open! Then straight onto the deck to view the dusun in front of us with the hills beyond. Then niftily up the narrow staircase  we checked out the sleeping loft. A higher view of the valley down below and and a sense of more freedom! Emas like the other timber chalets are built Malay style and on stilts.

It is certainly a place to chill out. Already I could sense the 36 hours or so ahead were going to be enjoyed to a different beat. It's amazing how  we distance ourselves from the grind and the noise of the city when nature surrounds us. We hardly ever protest. There's a willingness to just soak in and embrace.

The master bedroom in EMAS chalet

We came prepared to enjoy a bbq. That evening, in the darkness around us, with the city lights twinkling in the distance, and a sky that threatened to pour, we eagerly got our prepared bbq  stuff out of the fridge. The Dusun has a kitchen  ready for our cooking needs. Jem brought the coals and we started the fire  to cook our food, kawah-style. First off, were the drinks - white wine was the preference with beer and fruit juices while the coals were being stoked. I brought enough I reckon but my nephew insisted I had overdone it! 'But what do we do when our stomachs are half empty?', I countered. 'You wanna have bugs for dinner??'  I have to say we did well - almost all polished off with a bit to take -away. Dessert was kept simple - dragon fruits, grapes and chocolates. Everyone was satisfied. By the glow of the lights, we chatted and the young set  thought the  night bugs  were increasing in numbers as it grew darker.

All from our home kitchen  - chicken wings, spare ribs, lamb kebabs, mackerel, sotong,  frankfurters, sweet potatoes, corn on cob , potatoes and coleslaw.

In the open deck, we cooked  our food. 

Morning came.No one except  hubby and I were ready for the jungle walk. We were joined by 2 other trekkers from Brisbane. They occupied  another chalet by the infinity pool. It was past 10.30 am  when we started off. Nothing beats a good workout doing a trek. Surprisingly them lazybones of mine responded to the much needed exercise. Limber bodies bending real low under huge fallen tree trunks, clambering onto a couple of fallen timber to continue the trail, doing the stepping stone walk  across rivulets of water, clutching onto branches warily to get on to a higher level. Blackie and Tan, the  two resident dogs  just happily ran about, very much at home in this virgin jungle. Hubby's legs attracted  several leeches and it was a tussle to pull them off. When the walk ended and he was ready for a quick shower, more were found on his body. Such momentoes!' Well, no thanks,' said the young ones in unison.

All in all, the hours did not rush by. It was time to set off at 1.30 pm from this homely retreat. The gathering of cousins and us as a family was a time to treasure.

Trees before our eyes and the hills beyond - that's what we came for! 

Three's not a crowd - in fact come party here!

Nature surrounds

Let's drink to our fill and spout only tender words for Mother Nature around us

Listening to the sounds of rushing water is therapeutic  

The setting sun obscured by clouds

Our orang asli guide - he's 22 years old.

Fungi among the leaf litter

Phyllagathis rotundifolia / Akar serau malam - perennial herb  which is shiny dark green above and reddish below

Selaginella wallichiana Peacock plant /Paku merak - is a widespread herb of the lowland -forest understorey. The surface cells of the primitive leaves reflect green or blue according to the angle of view. 

Picking a leech off my hubby's leg - a few  of them  clung like crazy.

A leech reaching out , like a tiny whip for the unsuspecting victim

This one got me -  my pint in there !!

The sign that says it all - VIRGIN - let no man  plunder!

We passed by a freelancer who was taking pictures of  mushrooms. I had a peep into his camera - exquisite mushrooms

A jungle walk never fails to invigorate


  1. What a great weekend retreat, Keats! A group of my colleagues from another dept went to The Dusun last month for their departmental retreat. I think they enjoyed themselves tremendously too. Hey, do you know that you can play games with leeches? Line them up in a row, and then pass your hand over them slowly. When they sense the heat, they will rise up and do the Mexican Wave! Try it! Our Iban friend taught us how to do it! It was hilarious!

  2. A beautiful place to rejuvenate. Only an hour's drive from KL. I may want to check this out. I had 2 leeches on my feet when I was in FRIM recently. I hope they serve nice food.

  3. Oh Keat, sounds like a fantastic place for a retreat..until I got to the leech part. Yikes, all I have to say is that you're a brave woman!

    Fantastic photos to enjoy, but not the leech :-)

  4. everything on your BBQ looks delicious and your accomodations sound just perfect.
    i looked a couple posts back and love your indian dance photos!
    have a great day

  5. OH wow. Seems to be a perfect plc for a getaway. I'm gonna google now. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  6. I agree with all these comments...Beautiful post!

  7. I've always remarked on how interesting and exciting your life is. These are stunning pictures. I would love to retreat here for a week-end. It looks so relaxing.

  8. What a wonderful weekend retreat--except for the leeches :)

    Wonderful pictures as always.

  9. Beautiful pics! Nice place.

  10. Except for the leeches, I am jealous. It looks like a lovely retreat.
    You are such a cute couple!

  11. Wow, what a splendid place to get the adrenalin going! The place is beautiful! Leeches! Yucks, I just caught one today, two yesterday over at my long bean plant!
    Tip: if you go to a place where most likely there are leeches, carry along a small container of salt! Use that on the leech when they are sipping away your precious pint, they will soon drop off! Have a nice day!

  12. Wow..Truly beautiful place.I can hear the rustle of leaves!
    Lovely pictures.

  13. Great pics, nice to see Ravi. :)

  14. Looks like a nice place for a holiday... but the leech... ooh... reminds me of the padi fields when I was small...

  15. Nice to be back with nature..oh that fatso leech must be having a whale of a time with your one pint heard any burp? tQ.

  16. Your pictures are stunning! Thanks for your visit to my blog and your interest in memoir writing.

  17. Hi Keats! Sorry for the absence, but the season has been too busy here in Lisbon...

    Great to see you two there!! it looks like a nice walk, though the leech... ;)

    Blogtrotter Two is gone to Corsica... Enjoy and have a superb weekend!!

  18. It is fun to go for.... "jalan-jalan masuk hutan!" I am imagining how his eyes rolled about as the leech was pulled out.

  19. very cool week end retire,the forest is amazing


Great to have you popping in!