Strawberry farms and tea plantations forever
Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
99Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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Where I stayed
A brief history, while chatting to the guy from Yemen at the nye pool party, he asked how I was driving on a winding road around a mountain for 90 minutes! In my head, I instantly thought back to my bus route in Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil or my bus ride from the peak of Emeishan, China to the bottom, I don't handle them very well. I replied to him, I'm sure I'll be fine!
The morning of the bus ride, I had a buffett breakfast, some eggs, sausage, rice, noodles, coffee and plenty of orange juice! The bus left thirty minutes late and all was good. I did wonder why there was a black plastic bag in the seat pocket. The kind of bag they use at small bodegas in NYC. I thought nothing of it.
After a couple hours of driving, it started!! We started winding up a mountain and being at the back of the bus, it wasn't long before I was feeling dizzy!! Within minutes I was getting hot and the sweat was pouring out of me! Oh dear, how long am I going to last?? I put on an episode of Alan Partridge season one and it seemed to do the trick. I focused on the screen and tried to distract the swaying motion away from my mind. Seeing as episode four went down well, I moved onto episode five! This was the school boy error!
With about ten minutes to go, it happened! In episode five, Alan is trying to impress two Irish RTE guys and ends up taking them back to a stalkers house! The stalker makes four cups of coffee, one in a mug, one in a milk jug, one in a kenco jar and one in the ball shaped object one pours washing powder in and throws in the washing machine!! An Arielator!!?? The thought of soap in my mouth made my mouth fill up, I pulled out the black plastic bag, turned away from the other passengers and threw up! And again! Then some more! And again! It was pink, with bits of sausage and rice floating around! Oh man! I heaved one more time then had to hold my bag of vommit for another five minutes!!
I dropped off my little black gift bag at the bus station trash can and quickly found my guesthouse in the highland town of Tanah Rata and was soon lying down and downing some water! I felt rough, very rough! My stomach was pretty tender after the bus activities!! I got up an hour later and walked back down the winding road for thirty minutes to the scenic view point at the Cameron Bharat Tea Estate.
I've never set my eyes on a tea plantation before and the view was bliss! You can drop down the peak to walk inbetween the tree bushes to get closer, touch and smell the flavorsome leaves! Back at the scenic viewpoint, I grabbed a cardoman tea, it was pretty spicy but very tasty. I was offered plenty of rides back up the hill but I genuinely wanted the exercise.
That evening I met an Malay looking Aussie girl, Suzaini, and I joined her while she ate dinner and I just had a ginger tea! She was on holiday with her family but with only a dew days left, wanted to venture out and do something that she wanted to do. We went for a drink after and she was good company.
Next day, I signed up for a morning tour. I mainly wanted to see the workings of a larger tea plantation and to see a strawberry farm! Sigh, I also had to see a Buddhist temple, a butterfly world with scorpions and insects, a bee farm and a market! Our tour guide, friendly she was, brought along her knitting. It was the usual drive here, you got twenty minutes, drive there, you got thirty minutes! Nothing has topped the passionate tour I got on Easter Island last January.
I did visit Boh tea estate. Established by a Scottish man in the early 1920s, they produce over 800000 cups of tea everyday!! Typically, the factory was closed the day I was there, so I got to enjoy another scenic view, enjoyed a lime and ginger tea and watched a film crew do literally nothing for thirty minutes!! No tea leaves are hand picked, only in India and China does this tradition continue, mainly due to having a larger population to fill the workforce.
The strawberry farm was pretty cool, we got a five minute talk but then that was it, not even offered to try a strawberry, we could try a bit of jam but no strawberry. A very cute young Indian family were on my tour and the young mum insisted I tried one of her strawberries, very sweet of her and a very sweet and tasty strawberry!!
I did pick up a couple of punnets for Suz, she was on a different tour that involved hiking and driving up another mountain, didn't think I could handle that!!
I slept quite a bit in the afternoon, only after I had chatted to a lovely young Canadian/Danish couple who are travelling while on her maternity leave with their cute little six month old boy! An amazing choice and they started their travels when he was only 3 months! They have both travelled the world and will continue to do so but they were not sure what it would be like travelling with a second and third child, but I know they will still do it!!
I slept a few hours and hung out in the dining room with the wifi signal. It was here the previous night that I briefly met a cool Aussie couple and I bumped into them again on my second night. We went out to dinner together and I managed to hold down some vegetable rice while they enjoyed a banana leaf with lots of Indian treats! Shawn and Sam had both worked abroad for the Aussie version of the US Peace corp. Shawn in China and Sam in the Solomon islands. I think she was a little surprised at my knowledge of the islands but this mainly stems from the war in the pacific and trying to squeeze the islands in on this trip, sadly, they will have to wait! A fun couple, lots of insightful stories, great ambitions and down to earth awesome people. A couple of guys popped into the restaurant and said my name. I hate when this happens, ummmm, oh right, the pool party! A couple of French guys who I briefly met at the party before they hung out ONLY with other French people. This is pretty standard, sorry, but in my experience, it is the norm for young French travellers.
Back at the hostel, Sam and Shawn drank some of their homemade spicy vodka and the Danish mum was still up so we chatted late into the night!
Still feeling rough, I slept most of the following morning and finally got up for a shower, to check out and wait for my bus!
The ride down the mountain back to KL was not as bad as I sat nearer the front. I'd have gladly offered to drive!! This time I listened to a 606 phone in podcast and focused solely on the road!! Luckily it worked, but not so much for others on my bus as black bags were handed out, gross!
I had one night in KL before flying to Bangkok in preparation for the arrival of gingerman 2!! Brother Dave is joining me for eight weeks in SE Asia!! I hope he likes lots of bus and train rides!! My last few hours in KL I spent in Merdeka square, while also trying to find a post office. This area has the one-time cricket field formerly known as Pedang and is where Malaysia's independence (Merdeka) was proclaimed in 1957. Today, it's a choice spot to see some fetching colonial architecture.
I headed back to the airport, one final time flying out of KL, annoyingly, they've stamped my passport 8 times now.
Next stop, Bangkok Thailand.