Biggest flower in the world

Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 04, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Thursday, May 20, 2010

So the day starts with Erik not being able to find his passport. 20 minutes of unpacking everything he owns it was discovered in the middle of his dirty washing! I am sure the people watching across the street had great fun. Then we ended up with the craziest taxi driver ever. He basically spent the time to the bus station making baby and child impressions.
    The bus wasn't amazing but at least we were on our way after various confusions on which bus we needed to get. It felt like it took forever. We stopped at a bus stop/cafe place and the driver said there was another bus actually going to the Cameron highlands and that we could move to that one rather than change in Tanah and wait who knows how long for a connection to the highlands. So onewards we went towards the windy uphill section which reminded me of Laos. Although not as scary as the driver actually stuck to the delegated part of the road. 
   Eventually we found a hostel after 2 attempts and much walking at 6pm with backpacks. All that travelling earned us a chill out day where we just explored the town (which takes 10 minutes to walk from end to end). Then it got super misty so you couldn't see more than 10 meters ahead of you. Most of the food was Indian where you get nann and tandori chicken but not much else. I noticed that people similar to Malacca also loved staring.
   We signed up for a hike / all day adventure our final day. It involved an hours journey in a Land Rover. Then we got to the bottom of a hill which was completely covered in mud. It took 4 attempts to get up the first part of the hill and many precarious turns on mud just near the edge. I was pretty glad I was at the back so could only see the bits we had already completed. Eventually we arrived and set off for our 3 our hike to find the Raffelia flower one of the largest in the world. This involved hills, going up and around tree trunks and over rivers. I slipped and banged up my knee and managed to slip in the river and soak one trainer about half way. Eventually we got to the flowers which take about a year to grow and last just 5 days. Pretty lucky to see it and just happened to time my visit perfectly. 
   The next stop was an aboriginal village to see the first settlers of Malaysia. Most of them have lost their traditional way of life so it was good to see the blow pipe in action even if I don't usually like these organised excursions where you see the 'locals'. Next we all had a try and I was better than average but Erik almost got the bullseye. My money is on him to bring home supper. Next stop lunch which was an experience for those who didn't like spicy food. After Thailand it was great and interestingly most Malaysian food is like Indian - to my tastebuds anyway.
    Next we went to the highest peak of mainland Malaysia which we got to see some of the view before the mist rolled in. Just near the top of the mountain there was the Mossy or Cloud forest. It was like a hidden world with moss covered trees shrouded in mist. We saw pitcher plants and various other unique plants which rely on the moss for moisture. I also managed to fall into the mud and completely cover my what was formally completely brand new trainers in mud. Least they look lived in now! 
    Final stop was the tea plantation where we got to learn about how tea is made. Apparently all types of tea use the same leaf whether they are Black tea (English tea), Chinese or Green. The difference comes in the manufacturing process. Whether they are dried. Also the best tea is one with the largest leaves. Tea bags apparently only have tea dust which isn't even much of the leaf. So now you know! It was amazing to be on the plantation and the patchwork of trees which made up the plantation. You can so imagine as you sit there the founders in the throws of the Empire laying the foundations for today's plantation. A lot of the trees are the same ones as planted back in 1924. I loved the Highlands for the cool weather great scenary and sense of peace. Back to the crazy heat of KL next.
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London Correspondent on

Humungous flower! Very Little Shop of Horrors (feeeed me!) I wouldn't have leaned in so close.....Was there just one of them, or were you surrounded, Day of the Triffids style? I'm bringing out all my flower-related sci-fi references here....

That mossy forest looks proper pea soupy too...glad you didn't wander off the path and get suckered by some exotic over-evolved moss. Bet they have some mean venus fly traps too!

In fact we haven't had a decent insect spotting update since the infamous cockroach encounter. I am sure there are some real nasties lurking out in the forest....seen any of those hairy-horned tree jumping spiders yet? ;-)

On a less creepy crawly subject, did you get to sample some of the tea?


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