.......Taking time out for tea
Ah, that's better, a nice cup ot tea...
Was extrememly excited about going to the Cameron Highlands because there are massive tea plantations there so drinking it is a popular thing to do for locals and tourists alike. And it didn't disappoint.
It was rather a long drive up into the mountains, the last two hours of which involved snaking along mountains roads to the point where I couldn't read because I felt rather sick. But the views were amazing and me and the very sweet American girls I met back in Georgetown were pretty blown away by it all. Think it was all the more dramatic after being so close to sea level for all the other stages of the trip so far.
Also the standard of long distance bus travel in Malaysia is really high, all moving from a to b has been by big modern air-conditioned coaches so that's fab.
The little town of Tanah Rata which is the base for all the Cameron Highlands action was so sweet. An Alpine resort in summer (ie, minus the snow) is the best way to describe it I think - not that I've ever been to an Alpine resort in summer, but I'm pretty sure this is exactly what it would look like...
We stayed in this fab guesthouse perched on an hill and all the rooms were massive and had balconies and it was just so lovely. It was also pretty chilly which came as quite a shock after four weeks or varying degrees of extreme heat. Had to get the old jeans on in an evening and ended up sleeping under three blankets!
We did a tour of the main tourist sights on the first day - hence the random photos of flowers, butterflys, insects, etc etc. And of course, there was the tea! We had a tour of one of the main plantations and the factory which is is still owned by a Scottish family three generations down. It would seem that a bit of British money-making enterprise has gone into the fab cafe at the end of the tour where we feasted on rather overpriced tea and cakes... but it was worth every penny; it was really lovely and the tea was spot on.
The surrounding countryside (which hasn't been made into tea plantations or farms of one kind or another) is rainforest/jungle type vegetation and there are trails through it all for a bit of hiking action. Being the industrious breed that they are the American girls got up really early to get walking because they were leaving that evening. But I am aiming to set my alram as little as possible on this trip so headed out later alone. Which was fine apart from it was actually really hard walking on one main section of the trail I picked, like having to cling over branches and scramble over big roots, and I didn't see another soul for two hours. Was very relieved to get the to end as I got it into my head that if I slipped and twisted my ankle or something I would never be found...
Ok, I'm being over-dramatic again, but I still went for another round of overpriced tea and scones in a rather nice country house type cafe to settle the old nerves.
I think this stop has been the best of the trip so far actually which only goes to reiniforce my inherent northern-ness - bring on those hills, cups of tea and cooler climes...
Oh, and have I mentioned how cheap Malaysia is too? Even cheaper than Thailand.... which again, makes a Northerner very happy indeed.