There are so many memories that I want to share with the kids. So many things I want them to remember about Asia. The places we have traveled, the things they have seen, the experiences, the opportunities that they have been given, and all of the special one of a kind things they have been able to do.
Two years ago we took the kids and the grandparents to Kota Kinabalu Sabah (on the island of Borneo). One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to track down one of the most elusive flowers in the world. The Rafflesia, which is also the world’s largest flower, is often hard to find. It takes 9 months to grow, only blooms for a few days, and requires specific jungle conditions to grow. I guess it is kind of like going on Safari in Africa, you want to see one of the big three, but often you go home with only postcards. This trip we were lucky though, while driving up towards the Mt. Kinabalu National Park, our guide saw a sign saying the flower was in bloom. Following the signs, we doubled back, drove up a single track road and almost high centered the van until we reached a house again with a sign stating “World’s Largest Flower”.
Frankly, it seemed pretty sketchy, no one was around and finally the woman of the house appeared and negotiated with our guide. It seemed like they finally agreed on about $1.00 for each of us to view the flower and he paid on our behalf. She pointed toward another sign, leading us into the jungle. We trekked along for a few minutes and then things got even a bit more hairy. We were now lead down some ramshackle stairs, built with what looked like reclaimed boards down a steep slope (again remember these flowers have to have specific conditions to grow). Grandma decided at this point to turn back for fear that her knees would not hold up climbing up and down the stairs. A short while later we finally were able to see, okay not really see yet – smell would be more accurate- the famed flower. The kids were fascinated when we saw how big the flower really was, and while we were quite a few feet away, it was clear that my daughter was almost as tall as the flower was wide. And yes, it really does smell live a big pile of dog poo, it is not pretty, and it is kind of alien looking. But, it is the world’s largest flower!
We marveled at the flowers for a few minutes, talked about the fact that it took 9 months to bloom and the fact that Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore had also first identified this flower and the kids thought that connection was pretty cool. We then walked out of the jungle and laughed about our good luck in seeing the flower (our guide mentioned he had not seen one in quite a while himself). Just another memory going into the scrapbooks, a story the kids can tell when they grow old.
“Seen the largest flower in the world? “
“Yup. How about you?”
This is part of Photo Friday over at Delicious Baby. What one of a kind things have you seen?