Old Smokehouse Inn
gorgeous architecture & gardens
Tuesday, May 12th
We had hoped that during the night our clothes would dry, but not all of it did. Damn humidity! We packed, had breakfast then got on a mini-bus to the Cameron Highlands, about seven hours to the west. We had hoped for a big bus because they're so much more comfortable, but no such luck. Another bone-rattling ride lay ahead.
We hadn't planned on leaving Taman Negara so quickly, but we've decided to also visit the town of Melaka in south-west Malaysia before returning to KL. Why not see a bit more of the country while we're here?
The first five hours of the trip went by in a flash because the young lady sitting next to us is an American who grew up in Zimbabwe and the US and is currently living in Pretoria. We chatted about politics, crazy Mugabe and about the long road SA has to go before it's healed. After lunch she got on a bus to the Perhentian Islands in the north-east and we continued on to the highlands.
During the last part of our trip we had a different driver. He was a bit of a maniac, driving all
Egg Roti Canai
over the road and over-taking as all Asian mini-bus drivers do; on blind hills and corners. Talita even put on her seat-belt, nervous squeaks coming from her at each maneuver the driver pulled.
We had expected the Cameron Highlands to be beautifully rural, with tea plantations stretching as far as the eye can see. As with most expectations, we were way off. Monstrous greenhouses and stalls line the road and cover the hills. We hope we'll get the good views when we go hiking.
Finally we arrived in Tanah Rata, a small town in the middle of the Cameron Highlands. It's beautifully quaint, very "old-European". The mini-bus dropped us at Kang's Travellers Lodge. They had clean and well priced rooms and we decided to stay. It's still humid but much cooler here. We're looking forward to some hiking in the cool air.
After dropping our stuff we went to check out Father's Guest house, a very nice place on a hill. It was gorgeous and not really too expensive. Still, Malaysia has turned out to be hard on our budget so if there's some way to save a bit of money we should try it. We went
to a German restaurant for dinner. We had pizza, mash and tea. It was insanely expensive. Oh dear...
1. Surviving more than seven hours in a mini-bus.
2. Getting an affordable room.
3. Cooler weather.
Wednesday, May 13th Happy birthday to our good friend Melinda! She's 20-ish today and kicking it in Europe. What a birthday present! Hope you have an awesome-super-amazing-romantic time! May God bless you this year and may all your dreams come true.
After a wonderful nights sleep we dressed in our hiking gear, got a map of the area's hiking routes, had a spectacular breakfast of egg roti canai, then hit the trails. We headed for a hill-top north-west of Tanah Rata called Gunung Jasar. It was quite a climb but with the climate being so much cooler it wasn't murder, it was fun! The jungle is just so alive. Everywhere you look there's something living on, or with, something else. It's great. On the trail we met a Scottish couple, Craig and Claire, going in the same direction. We continued down, missed a turn-off somewhere and ended up at a power station. We had to bundu-bash around the perimeter fence
to reach a secondary road leading to the main road. Craig and Claire were going to a nearby strawberry farm and we decided to join them. Here we enjoyed wonderful strawberries and ice-cream and got some dried strawberries too. Very nice!
At this point we were well north of Tanah Rata, but instead of walking back along the main road we headed back into the jungle, following another trail that would take us back to Tanah Rata.
When we got back into town we headed for a late lunch, but before we got there we met a Belgian guy named Robert. He talked our ear off and when it started raining he joined us at the restaurant. We had a good chat and when the rain stopped we said our goodbye's and headed back to our guest house.
It started raining again. Dinner was at an Indian place (big surprise) and we had the highly recommended Banana Leaf Set. Instead of a plate, your food is served on a banana leaf. You eat with your hands, mixing the various dishes together. It was good fun and not too expensive.
After dinner we went to the Jungle
Bar to celebrate Melinda's birthday with a couple of beer shandies then went to bed. We hope the rain stops so that we can go hiking tomorrow.
1. Egg roti canai for breakfast.
2. Hiking in the jungle.
3. Strawberries and ice-cream.
4. Indian food and celebratory beer shandies.
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