Cameron Highlands

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Mar 31, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Cameron Highlands makes a selling point of the fact that it is as cold as 10C at night and rarely over 23C in the daytime, there is also a bit of an attempt to make it feel 'English' and there are some inns and country pubs.  The cool temperature is bliss after the jungle, and there are no insects and leeches, which is also rather nice.  The scenery is delightful, lush green hills with tea plantations and fields and polytunnels filled with strawberries, tomatoes etc etc.  The weather is perfect for growing, sun all morning and then a thunderstorm at 3 o clock every day.  All the farmers drive Land Rovers and everywhere you look there are battered old Land Rover pick ups filled with produce. 
We do an organised trip for the day, in a Land Rover.  Our first stop is to see a Rafflesia, which we are told is the world's largest (another one!) flower, although when we get to one which is about a metre across, we are told that they are actually a fungus, but were originally believed to be a flower.  On the way to see it, our guide turned off the main road onto a heavily rutted and waterlogged track, and proceeded to drive at motorways speeds along it, which was quite fun for me in the front seat, but a bit hectic in the back with Stella, 2 other Europeans and 5 Chinese.
We also visited a tea plantation, with steep hills planted as far as the eye could see in all directions.  We also went to a strawberry farm, where they grow strawberries all year round in very wet grow bags.
On the last day, we went for a walk on our own around the area early in the morning.  We'd seen no-one else for about 2 hours when at the top of a hill we met a Malaysian-born Indian chap with a huge net trying to catch butterflies.  He was waxing lyrical about what he had heard of the Natural History Museum in London, and thought that England must be a wonderful place.  Then he started telling us about how the wildlife was being affected by logging in Malaysia, and about the Discovery channel and then about Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppellin.  A very surreal meeting!
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