Our journey to the Cameron Highlands was so organised it shamed the high speed and efficiency travel we had become accustomed to in Japan. The road network there is so developed that we definitely didn't have to fly to Kuala Lumpur first, nor did we have to get a bus from the airport to the city centre which left when the driver could be bothered to switch on the engine. After this we certainly weren't left hanging around with our bags in the tropical hell-rain, waiting for our coach to arrive, that would've been stupid. Also, it wasn't as if we had to change coaches twice more over a four hour period just so they could cram as many people into them as possible. So, after leaving early in the morning we finally arrived, spirits soaring, at our guesthouse at 10pm. 20 seconds later I discovered that they had big mugs of locally produced tea on sale for 1 ringgit and all was forgiven. As is so often the case on travelling days (and travelling always seems to take entire days regardless of distance!), once we arrived we didn't have the time or willpower to do anything else, not that we could have if we'd wanted to... the way to the collection of bricks that was the town was unlit and downhill so any attempt to get there would have been rewarded by some kind fo creative death.
In the morning we had our first proper fry-up for ages, served up by the most miserable little crow of a woman I have ever met (if you don't like your job love, get another one). She could never ruin the experience though, especially not for me. It was even written on the menu as a "big boy's breakfast" which I thought was a special little touch. We watched the Olympics in the lounge for a bit and then headed out to try one of the mountain trails, because that's really all there is to do there that doesn't cost money. After getting lost and ending up almost wandering into a Mosque (we realised our mistake when the custodian at the top of the tower started singing louder than was strictly necessary) we found the entrance and spent the next couple of hours wandering through the jungle. Our hike included a minor detour up a steep hill to a viewing tower that looked like it was about to collapse. It was also half heartedly cordoned off but, being rebellious and having no sense of self preservation, we climbed it anyway. It was rubbish.
The next day we went on a daytrip around the highlands which was kind of cheesy and a bit of a tourist trap, but was still pretty fun. Our guide was an absolute champion of mankind called "Mr. Singh", and he had a fantastic accent. He drove us to all kinds of places, including a rose farm (better than it sounds and had incredible views over the valley), a strawberry farm (amazing cakes and milkshakes), butterfly garden (more of a minature zoo, also had scorpions, snakes and other things that Jacqui wanted to hold), and a bee farm (boring). The best part was probably the tea plantation which covered most of the inside of the valley. We were driven to the tea factory, with Mr. Singh firing tea facts at us as we went, and once there were taken round on a tour led by another grumpy little troll who must have been mates with the waitress back at the guesthouse as she clearly didn't want to be there. Well neither did we, so we went to the tea shop and had a cuppa on the balcony overlooking the plantation like the civilised ambassadors of England that we are. On the way back we stopped briefly at a chinese temple, the "oldest in the mountains" Mr. Singh triumphantly announced. He then told us it was built in the 70's and I lost interest. We spent the rest of the evening watching the Olympics and I drank something like nine cups of tea just because it was there. Tomorrow we have another marathon to complete, this time to the Taman Negara national park, which I think neither of us are looking forward to... but it has to be done!