31 July 2013

Where Civilization Meets The Rainforest

There's many a time recently that I've thought that life in Malaysia could be well described as life at the exact point where the rainforest and civilization meet. Sometimes you err a little into the jungle side, and at other times, you have both feet planted firmly in a man-made city, but the two often appear so close together that you see elements of both at the same time.

I believe that thus far in this trip, our experiences at Lost World of Tambun showed most clearly how thin that line between jungle and civilization sometimes is. Lost World is new since my last time living in Malaysia, I believe it only opened 2 or 3 years ago. When my Dad told me about it, I was intrigued by the idea of a waterpark that was also a home to tigers, so I agreed we should have an outing there during our trip.

Lost World really is a one-stop shop for entertainment.  Very interesting concept--combine a water park, zoo, a hot springs spa, rides from a county fairground, a cave, and a historical lesson on the importance of tin mining to the Malaysian economy, and you get Lost World.

But none of that was the most exciting part of our day there. The Lazy River is a key part of any water park experience, right? We rented three tubes, and 7 of us headed on into the Lazy River, soon coming across a sign floating in the water (it was not supposed to be in the water, it had fallen off of its post) that boasted that the river was 660 meters long. We didn't know just how long that 660 meters would seem until we rounded a bend, and my younger sisters, in the the tube ahead of Angel and I, started yelling, "Snake! Snake!" 

I thought they were just being goofy until our tube also rounded the  bend and I saw a skinny black snake swimming towards one of the walls of the river. Instantly I maneuvered my body so that no part of me was touching the water, and I started yelling at Angel some sort of garbled message about you never know when tropical snakes are poisonous so you better paddle and get us away from here!

But Angel was too busy laughing to paddle. My Dad's tube rounded the bend, and he had the presence of mind to gesture to the snake, now sticking to the nearly vertical wall of the river, and shout to a nearby waterpark attendant, "Ular! Ular!" (The Bahasa word for snake).

The waterpark attendant didn't seem alarmed, he waved at us and said, "It's okay, wait 5 minutes."

That advice confused us greatly, I had no intention of waiting 5 minutes, but it was hard to paddle away from the snake's location when I was refusing to touch the water. About a minute later, we realized exactly why the man had told us to wait 5 minutes, because the wave machine started--we guessed that he figured we were wondering when the waves were coming. 

The very first wave had the effect of knocking the snake off the wall and much closer to our tubes, and that effectively startled Angel and Dad into action to make sure that we were moving faster than the snake. I'm pretty sure every one of us girls screamed every time we saw the snake at the crest of a wave, and I'm quite sure that the waterpark attendant, who never saw the snake, must have thought we were utterly crazy.

We eventually saw a wave knock the snake back onto the wall, at which point it slithered back into the jungle. Then we relaxed, until about 50 feet later, when we saw a 2 foot lizard sunning itself on top of the river wall.

After we completed the 660 meters, we decided that was the least Lazy River experience we'd ever had, and we also agreed not to tell Mom, who had opted out of the River, about what we saw till after we left the park. 

I told you, it's the point where the jungle meets the man-made world. You can build a Lazy River running through a beautiful water park, but you can't stop the snakes and lizards from wanting to get in on the fun.

  photo TRWORsig_zps564b92a0.jpg
Moonofsilver said...

wow, omg. I hate snakes. O_O I still have chills after your story.

Looks like you are having fun! What is that knotted skirt that it looks like your younger sister and (mom?) is wearing?

Inge Jane said...

Wow, it seems like such a cool place! Well, minus the snake, ick.

Unknown said...

Oh SE asia, always giving you nice surprises like that. One time our host mom came knocking on our door saying "Pua, Pua" which means snake. Our next door neighbor...who we shared a backyard with as there wasn't really a fence and just banana trees had a cobra in his yard. They speared it through the hood and cut off it's head with a machete. Exactly like you said, where civilization meets jungle.

Suzanne said...


That would have been the scariest tube ride of my life. I HATE snakes. I think I would have needed therapy after that. Lots of therapy.


Mrs. Pancakes said...

oh wow..this is such an awesome experience!

Susannah said...

What an experience. That snake would have scared the be-jezers out of me!!

LeiShell said...

That's a funny story...definitely made the day memorable!

Dara @ Not In Jersey said...

your story made me laugh, but if I was there I'd have been screaming right along with you. sure makes the non-snake infested waters at schlitterbahn seem much nicer!

Cramer Coffee and Jesus said...

dude I would've screamed too! I mow with the riding lawn mower (call me crazy but its fun....) and I keep seeing baby snakes when I mow. FREAKS me out! I lift up both feet and mow with my feet up by my hands. ha. SNAKES SUCK!

Cody Doll said...

Wow. That was one non lazy river ride but I can slightly relate. I live in fl where it's swap met city and the alligators are everywhere. It's normal to those that are use to it but if you aren't from around here it can freak you out.

Thanks for linking up with Weekend Reads.