Monday, April 18, 2011

Highlander III: The Skunk Hunters of Gliese 581 g

Alright, so the Orang Asli tribe come from the Cameron Highlands, not some distant exoplanet. But I felt like I was walking in an alien landscape (again) as I squished my way through Malaysia's only mossy forest. It was ace.

Mossy forest

Natural wonders appeal to me a lot more than man-made ones (I blame the pyramids - how was I supposed to get excited about other buildings after seeing those?) so this freakish mossy tangle near Mount Brinchang was my favourite place I visited in the Cameron Highlands.

With its fluffy branches and spongy ground of roots and peat, this ancient forest was the first time since the Martian landscape of Yehliu in Taiwan that I could conceivably have been exploring some distant world. Though it's not like the aboriginal locals are entirely down to Earth either...

Soft earth dappled by an alien sun

Spot the hovering wasp

Why monkey cup, your lips look ravishing today!
No way is that thing from Earth

Orang Asli village

I've visited a few tribes recently (the Ami, the Karen, the Meo and now the Orang Asli, if you're counting), and it's always a fascinating experience - even with the underlying paranoia that a culture may be being exploited.

You don't feel any of that with the Orang Asli though, as it's pretty clear which ones are happy to ride loud motorbikes around the nearby towns and which ones feel more comfortable going into the jungle in a loincloth and catching skunks with their blowpipes.

Waterfall near Orang Asli village

Hunter shows off his stinky spoils

Blowpipe demonstration.
I hope this has made kids cry

Viagra root (the twisty one) and various canes.
So you know what to look for

The reincarnated Michael Jackson (so he claims) cooks liver for his cats

Michael Jackson's view. This life isn't so bad, is it?

Next stop: Perhentian Islands


  1. You met the real reincarnated Michael Jackson? Amazing! What was he like?

  2. He was *at least* drunk, let's leave it there.