Telaga Tujuh

This morning we managed to squeeze six people into our little rental car for the short drive to the Telaga Tujuh waterfall. It is just 2 kilometers north of Oriental Village. Lonely Planet had said it was a 10 minute walk up to a waterfall where you could slide down the rocks. We were envisioning a waterfall like the one in Vanuatu, with a big waterfall where you jump into a pool of water that leads into a series of several tiny waterfalls where you slide from waterfall to waterfall.

We pulled into the parking lot. The “walk” is up a steep staircase carved into the mountain. The steps are made of concrete and there are benches placed every few feet. The trees are tall and provide good shade, but it doesn’t feel very “naturey”. About 10 minutes later we reached a sign saying there were 638 steps total and we had 367 more to go. We couldn’t believe we were less than half way up. Sigh. Huffing and puffing, we reached the top of the staircase in about 10 more minutes. We were disappointed to see there was no waterfall at all, just five or six small pools of water from a stream. A couple people were sitting in one of the pools. This couldn’t be the spot. There isn’t a waterfall.

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We looked at a map posted near the pools. There were two paths that could be taken, and from the map we weren’t sure which one actually lead to the waterfall. Maybe Lonely Planet meant the waterfall is a 10 minute walk from the top of the staircase? We picked the one we thought would get us there and started on it. This trail was the “naturey” walk we had been expecting. It is a dirt path through dense jungle that parallels the stream. It is a beautiful, albeit steep walk.

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After another 30 minutes of walking, we reached a sign that said we were half way to the top. Since we were expecting a “10 minute walk” and not an hour plus strenuous hike, we hadn’t brought any water. We were parched and sweating buckets, and we decided that continuing forward would not be a smart idea.

We walked back down to the pools of water. This time the pools were packed. There were people sliding down the small rock separating one of the pools from the next. Ah, so this really is the spot Lonely Planet mentioned. We walked over to the edge of the cliff, where the stream runs off the edge of the mountain, presumably making a waterfall that could not be seen from this angle. Talk about a huge let down from what we were envisioning. We jumped in the water, which was a welcome reprieve from the heat. We all got in line to slide down the rock. It was a short ride, but actually a lot of fun. We each slid down the rock several times. Eric tried sliding down all the other rocks in between the pools, but the one we were at was the only one that you actually slid on.

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After relaxing in the refreshing water for a while, we decided we really needed to get food and drink and trudged back down the long, steep staircase. We saw a monkey along the way, sitting in a tree, intently watching us. We all returned the stare, each curiously checking each other out until we decided to move on.

We made a pit stop at the boats to put on dry clothes, then headed to the other side of the marina for lunch. We decided to go with Italy. The food was pretty good. After lunch we were just too worn out to do anything else, so we relaxed at Kosmos. It was almost a supreme effort to walk all the way back to the other side of the marina for the second time that day to get dinner. We chose Russia, and are sad to report the food at this restaurant just isn’t very good.

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