Thursday, 8 September 2016

Week 21.1 - Cameron Highlands

It was a late night thanks to being made famous by Minster FM, our video was posted on their Facebook page where many enjoyed it and saw the humour, and we got a few moaners too. But hey, it happens, you can’t be the next Kim and Kanye without a few haters. The monsoon had well and truly hit Penang when we left, with rains pouring all night long and way into the morning, didn’t bother me though I’m loving ear plug life. 

Leaving George Town I’m still confused how so many people of different cultures, religious beliefs and interests can live in one small town and get on so well, yet the world can’t manage it and most of them don’t even live in the same country? I mean come on world, sort yourself out!

The journey to the Cameron Highlands was probably one of the best bus journeys which we’ve experienced so far on this trip. The mini bus made for 9 had only 5 of us (queue moaning from the people thinking it should have been cancelled), so we could all spread out and sit comfortably. The journey took us down a long, newly built dual carriageway and into the highlands. The windy roads took us higher and higher, past tea plantations, greenhouses, nurseries and garden centres. You can visit anything from strawberry picking farms, lavender gardens, honey farms and tea shops. The only thing that pissed me off was the amount of strawberry memorabilia, it is everywhere, t-shirts, hats, magnets, it’s just a constant reminder of my unpleasant allergy. I bet they taste bloody lush up here too. 

Our new home is the CH Travellers Inn, located in Tanah Rata, and were back to a private room and bathroom. Get in! We had a stroll around the small town, and for the first time since Mondulkiri, Cambodia, didn’t break into a sweat. You’ve got to love these highlands. For tea we headed to The Barracks and got chatting to a local girl who surprised us when she started telling us about the time she lived in Newcastle, U.K. She loved the snow and her friends thought she was crazy, but one thing she didn’t understand was how the girls of Newcastle can wear so little in that weather.

The evening took on an interesting twist when an article regarding our flight and video was posted on the Daily Mail website. Judging by the comments we’re certainly not their readers cup of tea! The morning was even crazier, with the story now being posted on Lad Bible we woke to many messages and notifications about it. Poor Kyle, I don’t think he looks like the murderous Pistoreous!

After breakfast we were picked up by a 4x4 and made our way to the butterfly farm. It was pants, and a pointless half hour stop but as it was included in the days itinerary we had to make the most of it. Next stop was the BOH tea plantation, which certainly didn’t disappoint, row upon row of tea bushes fill the mountains of the Cameron Highlands and it smells amazing. We got to walk through them and around them, we were even lucky enough to see some ladies working on the farm. Onwards took us up and round Gunung Brinchang, the highest mountain in the highlands. We couldn’t see anything from the viewing platform though as we were that high we were amongst the clouds! From here we walked to the Mossy Forest which they claim is the oldest forest in the world. Filled with many types of moss and herbs used in medicines, I actually enjoyed the short trek which we did around here. Mainly because it was cold and bug free.

Finally, the last stop of the day and the one which I’d been looking forward to the most, the BOH tea factory. Set amongst the tea planation at the factory you are able to see the whole process of the tea being made and see the houses of the local community. The homes look like little wooden static caravans on stilts, decorated in bright blues and greens. Kyle was over the moon to be able to enjoy his first proper cup of tea in over 5 months, especially when it was served with out sweetened milk.

Before resting up for the day we went to a little tea house and had tea and scones. Would you believe it only cost us one pound ten each? It would set you back at least a tenner in England now. The tea shop was cute, quaint and so typically British…a real taste of home!

The video situation got out of hand later that afternoon, we now fill 6 pages of a Google search with our story being shared around the globe! It’s so strange and not what we expected after first sending it to a local radio station! I just wish that some of them had selected more flattering photographs. The evening ended with a radio interview for Heart Yorkshire, I was so nervous and it’s not an easy task when we’re so far away with a broken Skype line. I know we’ve been a bit draining with all our Facebook posts, but I’d just like to say thank you to all our friends and family that have seen the funny side and liked and shared our posts.

We were greeted this morning by the same driver as yesterday, who was great on our tea plantation trip. Shame the same couldn’t be said today, we’d been in the car for less than 3 minutes when we turned straight round a corner and hit another car. Now our car was a huge 4x4 with horns on front, the car we hit was like a tiny Nissan, the poor woman couldn’t even open her door to get out whilst we didn’t have a single scratch. Turns out when you hit someone with your car here you call someone else to deal with it, and drive off like it didn’t happen. So once every man and his dog was on the scene we did just that, and headed off for our trek.

I wasn’t looking forward to the trek, and I felt even worse about it after a night of travellers tummy, but it was something which Kyle really wanted to do so I put on my big girl socks and walking boots and got on with it. We arrived at the entrance to the rainforest and were greeted by a local tribesman, his little boy and two dogs, the main purpose of todays trek was to find a Rafflesia flower. A rare parasitic flowering plant, the rafflesia take months to bloom and once they have only stay flowered for 7 days. Finding one can be difficult but after an hour of somewhat easy trekking our guide led us to a huge red flower, it was beautiful and we were lucky enough to see some baby buds too.

The trek varied from easy paths, to water clogged rock ways. But the worst bit was the “ladder” down, it was muddy rungs with slippy water pipes to hold on to and Kyle walking above flicking shit in your face…brilliant! Then we had to climb back up it on the way back out! Though I’m not in a rush to do another trek anytime soon, I was beginning to enjoy myself until I was fortunate enough to be bit by a leech! It’s still bleeding now and it happened 4 hours ago! Slimy little bugger.

After the trek we visited a local tribe and learnt how they hunted with bamboo poles. Using only darts from trees and no poison, as to not contaminate their food, they load the huge pipe with darts and fire them at their target. Everyone got to have a go, and Kyle hit dead centre like a pro. It was a great day, but I am feeling rough now. It’ll be plenty of water and a cozy night in booking flights for us I think.

Thanks again for your support guys.

Love Carrie xxx

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