Friday, March 26, 2010

Batu Gajah & Lawrence of Arabia


Batu Gajah is another town that is close to my heart as we grew up here prior to bapak's posting to Lenggong.

However, since we were much younger then compared to when we were in Lenggong, we don't exactly remember the town itself, but thanks to three full set of album of pictures taken by bapak in Batu Gajah, we remember the house and the surrounding as if it were only yesterday.

But I have always wondered about Batu Gajah and where it got its name. Batu Gajah is supposed to be named after two large boulders that resemble elephant, at least that's what Wiki told me, but I have never seen them.

Of course as I have mentioned in previous entries, there is this limestone hill in Lenggong that was originally a giant elephant. We believe the elephant was cursed by Sang Kelembai and turned into a hill in the shape of an elephant.

But here is the story and the journey to find batu gajah.

Lawrence of Arabia di Batu Gajah

This is still Al Ula as per previous entry, but this time around, the journey would take us about 30 km out of town.
Along the way, we saw the green surrounding the Al Ula valley, and as we moved out of town, we started seeing rock formation and reddish tone.
The road is good, in fact it is excellent and practically devoid of traffic - we are talking about being in the middle of the desert here obviously. Or shall I say that the road was 'deserted' (and that the pun was intentional?) ;-)

We saw all kind of rock formation - in different shapes and sizes, often left to our own imagination.

LIke this hill. What kind of animal do you think this is? Did Sang Kelembai use to live in Arabia too?
Then suddenly Bus No 1 swerved to the left and went off road and we were left breathless with the sudden turn. Would we, in the end, need to push the bus out of sand dunes?

Now, this could be one adventure I did not expect when I decided to make this journey.

But soon we were greeted with this sight, one of the many attractions of All Ula.
Obviously you can decide of what you want to name this rock formation.

Just in case you were wondering about my prologue to the entry. ;-)
Akmal posing in front of the Elephant Rock. It is now confirmed that Sang Kelembai actually lived in Arabia and later on migrated to Malaysia and made Lenggong its adopted hometown. ;-)

But I still wonder, what does it have against elephant? Do you know why?
Akmal, his mum and grandma and of course about 150 of us, all posing in front of the rock formation.

Looks like a giant elephant feet to me.

I was made to understand that this rock formation was not shaped by the wind but by the waves of the ocean as this area was flooded in the old days. Before the ice age? May be, I don't really know.

Then again it could have been shaped by sandstorms over thousand of years.

Any geologist here who could explain?

I think I failed my Physical Geo during high school ;-)

But what I am blabbering about here? It is the work of Sang Kelembai. End of story.

Tulis nama atas batu. Err, bro, ni bukan Jabal Rahmah or Kuala Kubu.
The whole contingent in 3 buses, admiring the hills in the desert
Close up view of one of the the hills. It looks like someone has decided to sculpture the rock.

Another view of the Elephant Rock and its surrounding.

When we are close to being done with admiring the rocks there, out of nowhere, this horseman appeared from the other side of the hills.
Galloping towards us as we head back to the bus. I don't think this couple realize what's behind them.

We were wondering about this guy - who is he and what is he doing here amidst the rocks, because we did not see him when we went behind earlier.
Dancing with the horse
We were quite impressed with the free show. Not sure if the organizer has anything to do with it. We doubt it to be honest.
Aaaah, no wonder he looks familiar; I think he is Lawrence of Arabia! ;-) (or may be this is how Khalid Ibn Walid looks like on his horse.) Acknowledging the rapt attention that he gets from all of us there with a smile.

Rugged man.

Seriously, I think he was just enjoying himself, showing off his prancing horse skill infront of 150 foreign tourists.

I only saw one person tipping him. The rest of us were just enjoying the free show. We weren't sure if he was doing it for the tips or by coincidence.

He starts doing his own stuff as we start leaving.

Hey, where's my tip?

It seems as if he was chasing Bus No 1. It adds drama to the tour anyway.

Anyway, here is something you may want to take the tour yourself.

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