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Cameron Highlands, Day 10, Monday

Written on: Monday July 16th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

Today was another strange day, as it was my brother's 21st, and it felt weird to not be at home to celebrate with him. Managed to phone him to wish him a happy birthday though, but I don't think he was very impressed at me waking him before 7am - sorry about that one Craig!

It was another long travel day as well, which is beginning to take it's toll. We left Penang at 7:15am, in the minivans, but only as a transfer to the bus station where we boarded a local coach. It was pretty comfortable, but they had the air-conditioning turned up way too high, and we were freezing. The journey was very slow-going, as the roads were very steep, and the bus was seriously struggling to climb them. I dread to think what damage those buses do to the environment, as it was kicking out black smoke the whole time.

We finally arrived at the Cameron Highlands at around half past one in the afternoon, and it looked awfully quiet! There was a lot of strawberry propaganda scattered around the 'town', as strawberries are quite big business there, along with tea.

We were staying at the Hillview Inn, which was actually pretty nice. Our room was right at the top of the hotel, and we had a balcony which was pleasant. Disappointingly, the shower was cold though. You can't win them all!

It began raining again about half an hour after we arrived, which tested my patience a bit, as I'm getting rather sick of being drenched. I had bought an umbrella and a poncho at the Buddhist temple in Penang though, so better than nothing.

Despite the rain, we thought it would be a nice idea to spend the afternoon on a walk, so we set off at 3pm, armed with rain defence. Before starting the actual trail, we made a brief stop-off at the T cafe, to sample the local produce. I was pretty hungry, so I had a proper meal first, but some of the others tried the strawberry cheesecake, and declared it to be nice, but cheesy. I gave it a miss after that.

We made our way to the walking trail, which was well signposted, and began following Sophie (the girl from London), who was the proud owner of a mapbook. The paths were very slippery underfoot after the rain, so we were all shuffling along cautiously, praying that nobody would fall.

We came across a waterfall, which was quite pretty despite the murky water, and definitely warranted some photo-taking. I was quite annoyed to see that the river was filled with some odd-looking fish - old plastic bottles, and food wrappers, that had clearly been left by some previous less-than-conscientious trekkers. It really spoils things when people don't have any respect, but that's life I suppose.

We came across a group of guys that had a local guide with them, so tagged along after them, climbing what seemed to be a never-ending staircase, leading us through tunnels of woven and twisted branches. We discovered an old wooden tower that rewarded us with beautiful views of the entire town when we finally reached the top of the steps.

We headed back to the Inn after about an hour, meeting for dinner at 6:30pm. We were taken to a local tandoori restaurant that served really nice food. I had a chicken tandoori set, which consisted of a huge chicken leg, rice, garlic naan bread, mint sauce and cucumber, dahl, and a suspicious tasting curry sauce, which turned out to be fish curry! Aside from the disgusting curry sauce, it was all really tasty, but I couldn't finish it all as the portion size was massive.

We only have one day here, but in the morning we have arranged to go to the local tea plantation which should be good. We went to sleep hoping like hell that we wouldn't be too cold, but it was alright, and we had a good night's rest.


From Mum on Jul 18th, 2007

Shame you didn't try the 'cheese'cake Kim. You've been doing rather well trying all the different foods...except for the McDonalds, shame on you! Love Mum xxx