Monday, March 8, 2010

Our Highland Fling.... (16th-20th Feb)

Sorry about the delay in posts folks - we've not had Internet access and loving it! Stay tuned over the the next couple of days and you should get caught up with our crazy shenanigans. Here's a start:

After 10 hot, lazy days in Langkowi, we headed for a cooler destination inland, the Cameron Highlands. Set in the hills surrounded by tea and strawberry plantations, it was a shock to the system to have to whip out the thermal vest and cardi in the evenings – plus we experienced rain for the first time since leaving KL.

With flocks of people being turned away from our previous digs (Gheko Guesthouse) due to Chinese New Year, we decided to book ahead. A brilliant move, as after travelling for 14.5 hours (being stuck in New Years traffic jams) – arriving at 9.30pm, it was nice to rock up and have a room sorted at Fathers Guesthouse - which we ended up sharing with a couple of Argentinians’ we’d met on the way who hadn’t booked ahead.

We went on the obligatory half day tour, which included a tea plantation, rose garden, strawberry farm, butterfly and reptile farm, bee farm, markets, another Buddhist temple. It was a good day out mixing with a bunch of fellow travellers. Highlights: Being served tea made with a bag, when we’d just been told on tour that you shouldn’t use tea bags, eating fresh strawberries and waffles, Brad holding a live scorpion (I didn’t even get a good photo as someone decided to pat it, then things got a bit scary).

Then we got stuck into the trails. Trail 4, rubbish strewn waterfall – a little underwhelming. Trail 13, on trying to find the start we were advised it had been blocked off due to deforesting. Trail 9A, on the way there, passed a really nice waterfall, then met a couple of Aussie girls coming up Trail 9, who warned us against doing 9A, they’d started up the track from the bottom, but turned back when it appeared they’d end up plunging down the hillside where the track seemed to have given way – words such as Hells death track were thrown about. Deciding to chance it, we headed down the beautific 9A, a lovely meandering track through the jungle. Half way down we met another Aussie couple who had come up against a massive tree across the track and had turned back. Having made it thus far, we decided to chance it again and kept going. On coming across the tree, we climbed over it, a bit unsure about why all these Aussies were turning back.

We continued on and made it to the end without too much problem. Then meandered through some picturesque farmland nestled between the hills. After waiting an hour for a bus to take us back to town, we hitched a ride with a young Malaysian couple off to enjoy their New Years break in the Highlands. That night due to Brad’s longings, and some encouragement from a friend via Skype, we splurged on our first schnitzels since leaving Oz. It was our most expensive meal for the last 7 months, with our schnitzels costing a whopping $10 each. The following day we walked another trail. It was nice 3 hour walk through beautiful jungle, steep on the way up to the top of the hill, sometimes climbing upwards by clinging to tree roots, then a gradual decent back to town – a really pleasant walk all in all.

We extended our stay for a day when Brad experienced some tummy problems, which gave us time to get some laundry done, watch a couple of movies, and generally relax after our couple of days of walking. We’ve been laying off the Indian cuisine (apart from egg and banana roti) since being in Malaysia, but we did discover a great place here with the best chicken rice so far on the trip (Brad’s staple diet), and yummy marsala dosa.. MmmmMmmm

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