Monday, 18 February 2008

Cameron Highlands







After a long, four hour taxi ride (350 Ringits/58pounds!), we arrived at the Strawberry Park "Resort". to say that it had seen better days would be an understatement, a bit like staying in an old youth hostel, with a strange smell! Much cooler up here at 5500ft and stunning scenery. Winding roads zigzaging all the way up, with taxi-driver complaining all the way, a Pakistani Malay with a great sense of humour. Among his pet-hates-- driving into the Cameron Highlands, vegetable lorries coming back down the hills at speed, Arabs and protesters against the government. Yesterday, the police had to suppress a protest that became violent. Elections are about to be held.

On the way up we saw little wooden shacks inhabited by the indigenous people, called the orang asli. Beats me how they live so far away from civilisation. Taxi-driver explained, a little bitterly I thought, that they are supported by the government, in every way possible, but they do not want to leave their hillsides. They were just sitting in the shade trying to sell their vegetables to anyone who would risk life and limb on these twisty roads and pull up.

Apparently, during the war, the British built "stations" or outposts up here, where their soldires could come if they were ill with T.B. or suffering from the heat. Then a Scot, William Cameron, and an Englishman developed the tea plantations. The tea camellia is a shrub, and is pruned in such a way as to create a table for picking. Like the grapes in Australia, the vintage or special tea is hand-picked, and the cheaper variety is machine-trimmed, using something similar to a large strimmer. Went on a trip to the plantations, which look like a lush green rug has been pulled over the hill-side. Makes a lovely change from the mile after mile of palm trees, that are grown for their oil!

Also part of trip, for some wierd reason it is very popular over here (probably more so with our Chinese brethren!), we were held captive and taken to- the rose gardens(OK ), the butterfly farm(OK but please let them out of these little cages!), Chinese Buddhist temple(beautiful, smelling of incense) and last and definitely for Ian enough, the Insect tour(YUK,I'm right behind you, Ian). I gazed in amazement, whilst Ian had scorpion, snake, and rhino-horned beetle placed on him by a very enthusiastic guide. The most wierd thing was a mantis which looked like a large leaf, they can disguise themselves as orchid flowers, dry dead leaves, green leaves. In the end, persuaded by the rest of our group (Norwegian, Danish, Dutch), I allowed two creepy things to be placed on me. Ian adds that they were n't on long but long enough for this photo!

6 comments:

Jack Rafter said...

Nice pair of Mantis you have there Marge. Looks like you have been having a great time. How is the old man's ankle holding up?
It looks fantastic where you are, a place I would like to visit sometime.
Where are you bound for next?
Not much to report from over here although we are having some good weather at the moment, cold but very clear skies lots of sun.It's now actually still light when I leave work which makes it feel better, especially those SAD sufferers like myself (yes sad bstrd - I know what you're thinking)
Not hearing too much from your offspring and Grand Marnier lately - come on you bloggers!
All the best Jack

Sweeney Todd said...

Who the hell is Jack?

I think we have an imposter on the website, unless that's col!?

I don't know what to blog col, apart from the fact ma's given up on bullet points for this update. It's too much for me to read mum! You know the phrase "a picture tells a 1000 words", this rule still applies, more pictures, less type! More pictures of sun, seas and food!

Col's right though, the weather is good at the moment, not that you'll probably give a damn about it as you mince around the world. From what I hear Autumn misses you and being fed 8,000,000 times a day and Laura still spends half her time in the house as does Kit.

Right back to it, lets see some more pictures!

Marie said...

Great to hear from you cheeky Col and eldest son who has the concentration span of a gnat. It's good for you to diversify from your culturally stultifying job and engage in some edifying, unlifting recounts of your venerable parents oddyseys!!!
But point taken will keep next blog brief, maybe, and send more arty-farty pictures. But off to monsoony Sarawak and Sabah so may be shortage of blue sky pictures!
To Jack Rafter- old man's ankle is holding up well, but it's amazing how many people in these far flung places understand the word "arthritis". But then Ian does a good hobbling mime!!
Message to Autumn- stop looking cute and making Jono and Chelsea want to feed you. You and I are ona healthy diet when we return!!
To other little uns - any chance of a brief message! or are you adopting the old treat em mean keep em keen! Well it's working!

Marie said...

Great to hear from you cheeky Col and eldest son who has the concentration span of a gnat. It's good for you to diversify from your culturally stultifying job and engage in some edifying, unlifting recounts of your venerable parents oddyseys!!!
But point taken will keep next blog brief, maybe, and send more arty-farty pictures. But off to monsoony Sarawak and Sabah so may be shortage of blue sky pictures!
To Jack Rafter- old man's ankle is holding up well, but it's amazing how many people in these far flung places understand the word "arthritis". But then Ian does a good hobbling mime!!
Message to Autumn- stop looking cute and making Jono and Chelsea want to feed you. You and I are ona healthy diet when we return!!
To other little uns - any chance of a brief message! or are you adopting the old treat em mean keep em keen! Well it's working!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "blue rinse diary" is more appropriate. Started raining here after some great weather, Stanage was glorious on Sunday, people climbing in tee shirts so you are not the only ones enjoying yourselves - honest!. Mum was round at the weekend and she is really doing well, even got her up a couple of routes at Stanage but she wasn't taking the sharp end of the rope. Look after yourselves.
Keith (can't be bothered signing in!)

Anonymous said...

At last I am attemting to send a message, hope you receive it! Think you got my last one, but it takes me ages to do it.

You are doing a fantastic job Marie, afraid I struggle, must be my age!That is my excuse anyway.

I have been discharged by the physios, but have been told to take it slowly, and not go out if it is wet.So am doing as I have been told. As I see Keith has told you, I was over there last weekend, had a lovely time. Went into Buxton on the Saturday, and bought a new wall clock for the kitchen, the other was done. Then as Keith said they took me up to Stanage, and really enjoyed the view from the CAR, while they were out walking. The weather was lovely, but it has now changed, and very dull, but warmer. Much preferred the very cold, but lovely sunshine.

You seem to be having a fantastic time,and have certainly seem to have seen and done a lot.

Think I had better finish now. Some thing has happened, and I don't know what to do. Hope you receive this. Love, mum.