Tuesday, October 9, 2012

...and from Cameron Highlands!

When we left Pangkor, we made a detour to Cameron Highlands.  It's a hill resort very popular with families.  In the old colonial days, it used to be where the Brits escaped to for some cool weather, tea and scones.  Cameron Highlands is where most of the tea in Malaysia is grown and today, families still go there for tea and scones.  Strawberry picking is also a popular activity.  Cameron Highlands is also the heart of the vegetable growing business in Malaysia and you can buy lots of fresh veges to take home with you.

Can you believe it was my first time there???  I don't do hill holidays in Malaysia.  News of landslides and crazy bus drivers scare me.   So I've always stayed in the lowlands where I was born and bred.

Coming from the north, we took the Simpang Pulai road to Cameron Highlands.  The lanes were broad and the route wasn't as dizzy-fying as I thought it would be.  The scenery was lovely - mist-covered treetops, raindrops dripping off ferns and colourful flowers we rarely see down in the lowlands where we live.

However, we got to some parts of Cameron Highlands that depressed me.   There was evidence of a lot of land clearing activities and it really upset me.  The sight of a bare hill, stripped of its trees and plants just says one thing to me - LANDSLIDE.  I'm not one of those romantics who want to preserve the entire rainforest forever and ever.  People have to eat and make a living.  But please don't strip it all and don't strip it all at once.

We stayed at Strawberry Park Resort.  We picked that for one reason only - they had a 2-bedroom suite option.  We were pleasantly surprised when we got to our rooms.  They were new, sparkling clean and very nicely done up.  Wow.  I could live in it.

Oh... and we had a little bit of excitement too, courtesy of Dear Hubby.  We'd dragged our bags to reception thinking we could hitch a ride from the golf buggy parked there to our rooms.  Then we found out that our rooms were just round the corner and we could drive up and park outside there.  So we walked back to the car, dumped our bags inside the boot and Dear Hubby slammed the boot shut.

Only to find out our car keys were also in the boot.  He'd just locked us out of our car while we're about what... 200km from home? And about 5,000 ft up in the sky?

ALAMAK.  I'll say it again.  A.  LA.  MAK.

Like, big time alamak okay.   Stuck in the bloody highlands with only the clothes on our back.  And strawberries. And scones.

Fortunately, there was a car mechanic's shop just 10 minutes away.  The hotel called him up and he zoomed over.  Dear Hubby was dismayed at the thought of having to smash a car window.  He told the mechanic he was planning to smash the little side triangle glass at the back passenger door.  The mechanic almost choked with horror. "NO!!!! Smash big glass!  Small glass more expensive to fix back!"

In the end, nothing was smashed.  What he did was use a crowbar to pry open the driver's door just a little bit.  Then he threaded in a stiff wire with a loop at the end and used that to hook it onto the boot lever on the floor.  With a firm tug, ta-dah!  The boot popped open!

Now back to regular, boring programme.

We bought vegetables, strawberries, did the tour of the Boh factory where I bought some tea.  Connor ate strawberry cake and we headed home.  Going downhill via the Tapah road was NOT fun.  It was very, very winding and all of us were dizzy when we were done.  We passed a few orang asli  settlements along the way and it's interesting that they're still living in bamboo huts today.

I really enjoyed it, the cool weather was fantastic but next time, I'll make sure we hire a helicopter instead of driving.  For one, I don't like the roads.  And with a helicopter, there's no way Dear Hubby will lock his keys in the boot.  ;)

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