Hello from Cameron Highlands. We’re up in the highlands, about 1500m above sea level. Obviously being Kelly and I, we got a bus up here, and talking of buses, what a joyous trip that was. We booked a bus from the worlds worst bus station, in KL, you have to fight your way past lots of guys grabbing you trying to get you on their bus to get to the desk you want to book the bus from. We managed to do that and then Kelly and I had a discussion about whether to go ‘Economy’ or ‘Super VIP’. I won that battle as it was only about £1 to go Super VIP so we figured it was worth it. So, we got on the bus around midday and got into her seats. Kelly then informed me that someone had vomited on her seat, I asked how she knew and she said look……there was dried vomit all over the floor and down the seat handle etc. Not a little, but a LOT of vomit. The bus wasn’t fully booked so we moved seats, however there was also vomit on that seat. We finally found a seat which was vomit-free and settled back for the 5 hour ride. However shortly after setting off the reason for all the vomit became clear. The bus was being driven by Nigel Mansells less skillful, but equally as brave, Malaysian cousin. About an hour in Kelly pointed out to me that the driver looked like he was going to fall asleep any minute, I looked in the rear view mirror and he had that head-roll thing going on that you get when you’re beyond tired, he was yawning and from time to time he would shut his eyes for a lot longer than I was comfortable with. Luckily he received quite a few mobile phone calls which we took some sort of relief from as if he was talking we were reassured that he was at least conscious. So after a quick stop after a couple of hours at the most horrifying service station on earth, we set off again. Now, the way to Cameron Highlands is via some very narrow and windy roads with some pretty big cliffs on each side. This is where our fearless driver really came into his own, hurtling the horrifyingly old bus around the corners as if he was driving a tram. I put my iPod on and just tried to blank the whole experience out.
We are leaving Cameron Highlands tomorrow and the company that brought us is the one that takes you to Penang. So we’ve opted for a different approach, we’re going to get a different company to take us to Ipoh in the morning and we’ll get a bus from there to Penang. We have no guarantees the other companies will be any better, but lets face it, they’d have to be really trying to do worst than ‘vomit-bus’ (our name for this delightful company).
So, we’re staying at a fantastic hostel here in Cameron Highlands. Kelly did a lot of research before setting off and she’s done a great job. It’s tucked right out of the way at the top of the hill, it’s nice and quiet, the staff are friendly, and we have a lovely room. It’s a nice big size with en suite, and you open the double patio doors out onto a little garden which looks down over the village. Last night was our first night here and they were doing ‘earth hour’. Anyone else out there do that yesterday? It was fun, we sat outside playing scrabble and jenga by candle light while drinking beer and chatting. Really nice just to chill out after our manic last couple of weeks in big cities.
Today we did a country tour where we were driven around for about 5 hours from place to place. We started off with a trip round the tea-fields around here (there’s 4200 acres of it!!) and then to see the factory where the tea is sieved, dried, sorted etc etc. Have to say, it was a lot more interesting than I had imagined. See if you can spot me in the second photo below……..
We then went to some Strawberry farms to see how they grow them, and get to taste local jam etc. There was a butterfly farm where we got to hold some insects, although I think our favourite was the ‘Cat Eyed Gecko’ which you can see below.
We then went to a bee farm where we were warned not to swat any of the bees or we would have 5000-10000 bees after us. Kelly wanted to know how they didn’t know exactly how many bees they had in their farm, which then started a silly conversation about why some of them would not chase us!! We saw a Chinese temple and then had some time around a local market where we tasted some local produce.
So tomorrow as I said, it’s back on the bus to Penang, and Georgetown to be more specific. We have a hostel booked which looks nice and we’re there for two nights before setting off for Langkiwi and some relaxing by the beach (which I’m really looking forward to!).
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend and didn’t miss that hour less in bed!!
A & K xx
P.S. Here’s a picture of seven monkeys at the hostel we are staying at……