Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cool Cameron Highlands

Wednesday 8th December 2010

MP3 track of the day: Baby it's cold outside – Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews

Weather: Hot, humid and horrible in Kuala Lumpur. Cool and nice in the Cameron Highlands

Last night I headed out to the Petronas Towers, one final time, to take a few photos of the towers at night; I then headed into the shopping center to have one of my best meals, so far, within Malaysia (then I found out that my meal was Japanese … figures). At first I was worried that me, with an SLR camera and tri-pod, might be a little bit of a target for nasty people … however the place was full of people with more expensive equipment than I. I got some wonderful photos of the towers and then headed back to my hostel for an early night.

Not leaving until 11am I leisurely got ready for my coach trip. I said thank you and goodbye to the hostel staff, and prepared myself for a hot trip to the bus station. The trip, apart from arriving pretty sweaty, went well. Once at the bus station I found out the platform my coach was going to be leaving from, the coach number and the coach livery … so I could identify the coach easily, it can't be that difficult I thought!

Oh yes it can. At platform two there were at least eight coaches, which were parallel parked. I had a quick look around but I couldn't find any coach numbers or any coaches that said they were going to the Cameron Highlands. Due to the heat, and the weight of my bags, I decided to stand on platform two, under a bit of shade, and hopefully help would arrive.

Help didn't arrive and so I eventually asked someone who pointed to a coach that couldn't have looked more different to the one the ticket sales man had pointed to. I inquired on the coach whether it was going to the Cameron Highlands … and it was. I put my stuff on board but, still not feeling quite happy, I had another quick look around for a coach that looked like the one I had been instructed to catch.

After looking around for a while I gave up and went back to the coach; my main worry was that the ticket I had purchased wasn't valid on this service. As I boarded I met two other British guys – who, as it turned out, were going to be staying at the same hostel, in the Cameron Highlands, as I - and we compared tickets … they were identical. Just before we departed a ticket bod came round and collected all tickets included mine ... all was good and we set off.

At first the scenery was very similar to my coach journey to Taman Negara two days ago. About five minutes in the coach driver turned on the DVD and I ended up watching 'The Fast and the Furious'. The TV was right next to me so avoiding watching was impossible; it seemed to be a new 'Fast and Furious' as I hadn't seen it before (I wondered if it was another dodgy DVD of a film not out on sale yet). I do like the 'Fast and the Furious' series of films; sure they are American rubbish with little plot however they do have fast cars, guns and beautiful babes … in my book a recipe for success.

Once the film had finished the TV went off and I concentrated on the view outside. It all became interesting when we started to ascend up to the highlands. Before this the usual palm oil plantations were in full view but now I had jungle terrain with sheer drops to one side. It was all very beautiful, especially with the low fog just above our position.

As we continued to climb I found out that this 'low fog' was indeed a huge rain cloud that threw rain down the side of the mountain. I could see out the window that the rain was gushing down the hillside and I wasn't looking forward to stepping out of the coach. Luckily when we arrived at Tanah Rata – the main town within the Cameron Highlands – the rain had stopped. Also a free shuttle to my hostel was awaiting for me. The other to Brits and I boarded the shuttle and we traveled the three minute trip to our hostel. On the way I saw new developments which I hoped we were going to turn into … we didn't, however the place I'm staying at is quite nice though I haven't checked the bathroom yet.

Being 5pm, and the fact I had only had a packed of crisps and a packet of biscuits for lunch, I headed into town to have a look around (town consists of one main road - with a Starbucks ironically - and so it didn't take me long to have a look around). Town seems to have all the necessaries I need and so I had something to eat and got some cash out (and hopefully this time my cash will last the rest of Malaysia).

Once back at the hostel I met Mikey from Melaka. It was nice to meet up again and, as we both arrived today, seems I might have a friend for my time here within the Cameron Highlands. So far I'm pleased with my decision to come here; I'm glad to have left Kuala Lumpur as I was starting to think that I would never leave. My dorm is only ten ringgit a night so I hope to save a little cash and there seems to be a good group of people here. However the best thing is that it is cool; it's not humid at all, its lovely and cool … think I'm going to like it here!

Toodle Pip!

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