Oop Noorth Again!

One hot weekend in May, I decided I needed to get away from the smouldering dusty atmosphere of KL. For a day trip, the closest thing was Bukit Tinggi, unfortunately. So a friend and I headed there for a day’s escape.
The road up was a different than the last time. They closed off the more direct route up, and we had to pass the horse stables and the Berjaya Resort structure before heading down to Colmare De Tropicale. Sigh… even the name trips oddly off my tongue. My friend’s reaction when he saw the little ‘village’ was “Why like that???”. My response was, “I did say it was cheesy!”
Saying that, I do believe that everyone Malaysian should go up to Colmar De Tropicaliente at least once in their life. I cannot believe anyone would think the painted-on bricks and wood of the faux European cottages can be anything close to the original French Colmar. And to make the make-believe even less make-believe, when we arrived, there was a loud (and I mean loud echoing-across-the-mountains kind of loud) dance performance. Two men and two ladies (maybe more, the loud music made my eyes water, so I’m not sure what I witnessed) were cavorting in Arabian Nights kind of outfits in the village centre to Britney Spears.
Yes… the Arabian Nights performed with American music in a French Village on a Malaysia Hill. What will they think of next?

Anyway, we escaped up the lift (!) of the ‘village’ belfry (I can’t help but smile when I write this!). The noise there was more tolerable, and we could have a decent conversation. And it was cooler and windier as well. From the belfry, you could see the pink faux sandstone castle parking lot. At any moment, I was expecting to see people dressed as ‘sang kancil’ or ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang’ or something come cavorting out of the pinkness. It really was a surreal afternoon.

The noise subsided and we walked down the belfry tower to get some coffee. As soon as we were on ground level, the music began again, so we had to find the cafe farthest from the noise. This was not easy considering the level of noise and the smallness of Colmar du Tropicana. But we still managed to have a decent coffee, albeit overpriced beyond Starbucks and nearly as good (strange, considering how Starbucks and Colmar are both owned by Berjaya).

Anyway, amused and sated of the Arabic French Malaysian gala, we went back to the parking lot to head to upwards to the Japanese gardens. I told my friend that no matter what happened, we needed to start with Colmar. Start with the worst, that’s my theory. The Japanese Gardens is totally sublime compared to the twilight-zone-like experience of Colmar. And the atmosphere there, although touristy, was not as instrusively noisy. Truth to tell, I really enjoy the Japanese Gardens.

Then we headed down to the Botanical Gardens. It was getting close to early evening, and since we wanted to see the rabbits, we decided not to explore the Botanical Gardens too deeply, especially since it was resting on the fringes of the jungle. Twilight + Jungle = not good, IMHO.

So down to the rabbits we went. I must admit, this was by far the best of the whole Bukit Tinggi experience that day. The rabbits were cool, although visitors tend to frighten them more than anything, especially the kids who chased after the rabbits. Rabbit are such fragile animals, you can’t go chasing them like some clumsy giant. It’s unlikely you’ll catch them anyway.

We sadly found one poor dead rabbit. The staff were quite blase, saying that at least one dies a day (ack!). There were also two puppies playing in the rabbit maternity hutch. The little girly puppy was adorable. After awhile, I decided to see the deers and donkeys (or horses?). Smelly but cute.

On the way back from Bukit Tinggi, on a whim, we decided to stop by Batu Caves. And on a whim, I climbed all the way to the top. I was short of breath at the top, but… I don’t understand the big deal. People make it sound like climbing Batu Caves is So Hard! In fact, when I reached the top, I expected more steps within the cave, equivalent to those on the exterior. None, but a short flight in the deepest recess. Hmmm…

Then we had excellent Indian vegetarian food, great end to a great afternoon!

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