I said a big ol' happy birthday to me by having a lie in. Mr F was off chasing lesser adjutants - murderous looking storks that you wouldn't want to meet in bright sunlight let alone after dark. On his triumphant return, we packed up and pushed off - next stop Bukit Fraser aka Fraser's Hill. Fraser's Hill derives its name from Louis James Fraser, a solitary Scottish pioneer, who set up a tin-ore trading post in the 1890s. He also operated a gambling and opium den at the workers' camp and vanished without trace some 25 years later. In 1917, the Bishop of Singapore led an unsuccessful trek to look for his site, but did report that the place was a perfect retreat from the heat of the lowlands. This was the bit I was looking forward to.
The drive there flagged up that Malaysian McDonalds were selling their 'Taste of Japan' experience with Katsu curry burgers and my particular favourite, the Samurai Mcfizz! If we had this in the UK, I'd buy it just for the name.
Something else that was immediately obvious from the car window: palm oil trees. They were everywhere. There were even old coconut groves that had been planted over with the sad dead trunks sticking out over the top of the oil palms.
You know you are in a country with good monsoons when the expressways have motorbike rain shelters. Even our heaviest downpours don't come close enough to warrant this.
The landscape finally started to change and the horizon disappeared as the highlands rose. Endless switchbacks with taller and taller trees soon made us dizzy and longing to stop. Happily, the hotel wasn't much further.
After a quick stroll round the village and the required gawp at the clock tower, we went for a cup of hot kopi. Partly because it was a bit chilly and partly because Mr F needed consoling on a near-miss sighting of a forktail.
Dinner that night consisted of my first taste of the infamous nasi goreng along with a side helping of beef rendang. Apparently I was meant to share this with Mr F but forgot and troughed the lot. Well it was my birthday after all!