Friday, June 30, 2006

Cameron Highlands

We got a direct bus to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands from the bus station, which handily turned out to be just round the corner from our hostel in KL. The bus station was big and bustling and chaotic and hot, but wasn't too hideous. The aircon on the bus broke down before we'd even left and necessitated us sitting there for about an hour while we waited for it to be fixed. One bloke was doing things with tools at the side of the bus while another 5 watched and stroked their chins. A British bloke also on the bus went down to ask if they would turn the aircon on. When rebuffed, he walked back up the bus exclaiming, 'Prick, I'll fuckin' punch you in a minute'. Strangely he didn't say this until he was just out of earshot of the driver and in earshot of the girl he was with.

We were on the road eventually and cruising along Malaysia's highways. Out of the city everything immediately turns very green. After the town of Tapah the road is an ever climbing, seemingly endless series of blind corners and quite scary drops at the side of the road. I had to insert the word seemingly, as it obviously wasn't endless otherwise I wouldn't be typing this now would I? This is how I'd imagined South East Asia, densely forested hills stretching as far as the eye can see, a vast rolling verdant carpet over the land. Eventually we arrived in Tanah Rata and booked into a chinese hostel thing. We ended up with a room with two double beds in it, as that seems to be what the cheaper hotels call a double -oh well, we know now. This was also our first accomodation with squat toilet and mandi, a large basin of water with plastic scoop for showering.

Tanah Rata is a lot cooler, being up in the mountains. It has a 'Ye Olde England' thing going on. Mock Tudor embellishments on 6 story apartment blocks don't really fit though. We spent a couple of days in the town, just taking it easy. The area is famous for walking trails, of which we did a couple of the smaller ones to nearby waterfalls and a treetop lookout. Unfortunately we were a little dismayed by all the rubbish spread around. Even thrown into the canopy from the lookout.

In town we kept walking past a curry house at which the waiter would say, 'Hello', to Gemma in a high squeaky voice, taking the mickey out of the first time we'd gone past him. Gemma began to find it a bit annoying by the end. We also found a nice cafe that did tea and scones and ended up in there 4 times in 2 days!

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