Bugs and Blowpipes
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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The Cameron Highlands has been everything I expected: acres and acres of deep green undulating tea plantations, an immensely pleasant cool crisp mountain air, thick lush rainforest and a sobering assortment of bugs, snakes and other vile lethalities you could only expect to find in the darkest depths of hell. All good.
We got here a couple of days ago following a tiresome bus journey which involved a ridiculous series of suicidal manoeuvres by our nut-cake looney-arse bus driver. All this took place along a steep mountainous stretch of twisty turny highway that would easily put the Blacks Spur to shame - awesome bike territory. It took an eternity too, and as we climbed our way white-knuckled up into the giddy heights of the Malaysian highlands all I could think of was that in just a few days time we'll be repeating this arse-loosening experience all over again - DOWNHILL! - a painful and inevitable reality I instantly blocked out, for the simple sake of enjoying my time here.
We basically did the highlights. Myself, Nick and Liam that is. Dave (Barsie) met Nick and Liam at Uni and now they're here, fresh from England, for a few months of banterful action. Good lads by all account. But anyway that's the link up..
A tour of the Cameron Highlands by way of an all-day adventure-packed four-wheel-drive experience isn't exactly Dave's cup of tea, as it doesn't involve kicking back with a book and a box of Tiger for the day in a quiet forlorn location. Instead he insisted on suffering with a runny bum and decided to stay back at the lodge to 'play it safe'. Enjoy the beers Dave..
It was an 8am start. Apart from missing out on a visit to the indigenous village (cancelled because they couldn't be arsed to receive us and go through all the bullshit - which I just loved) we had a fantastic time, including bouncing around in a Land Rover like puppets along an insanely pot-holed 4WD track which skirted the cliffs-edge, before probing deep into the jungle for a four-hour return trek in the overbearing humidity of the rainforest to see.. let me get this right.. the third largest flower in the whole world, which we were told while catching our breath (and standing in our own individual pools of sweat) is actually related to the mushroom family. So there you go. All good so far.
With the heat and lack of hydration, this all became quite tiring quite quickly, which is why half way back down the track we couldn't help ourselves. The gushing waterfall we passed earlier was ours for the taking and not one of us hesitated or debated the fact. Clothes came off and under we went. It was absolutely freezing. Oh the bliss.
After getting the fourby stranded in a deep muddy hole - at an angle far too intimate with the cliffs edge for my liking - we had to make our own way down the track to a small remote village, while the guide sat tight with the fourby waiting for the winch to come. The village itself was a sparse scattering of wooden huts adorned with families huddled on frontages staring at our small party of fair-skinned animals, who, let's be honest, had no idea what they were doing there. It was here that we we met a guy who showed us how to use a blowpipe - the hollowed out piece of bamboo cane where they dip a poisoned dart in tree sap from the forest and shoot it with big bulbous cheeks at tasty looking animals, or in this case - a piece of paper fixed to a tree. I had a go, or should I say.. a blow?
Next up was a visit to the Butterfly Farm, which exhibited some of the most horrific looking bugs and insects I've ever had the misfortune of witnessing first-hand. Like I said earlier - straight out of hell. I mean it. What made it worse was the enthusiastic little Indian 'keeper' who kept getting the f'kn things out and offering me a 'hold and a photo'. Jesus man. Let it go. Doesn't my face say it all right now?
The pics are all there and unless you're one of those people, you'll see what I mean.
Apparently, the Boh tea plantation, is the largest in South East Asia and we were fortunate enough to get a good spot, right at the foot of a mass undulating spread of deep lime green (Caro?!) It was late in the day too, which was perfect as the whole panorama was bathed in that lazy late-afternoon hue of setting sun which emphasised the beautifully silhouetted mountainous backdrop. Absolutely magnificent.
This was all topped off with a generous mound of locally made strawberry ice-cream from the counter at the strawberry farm where it was made, before heading back to the lodge - weathered, knackered and wholly fulfilled - to join Dave for a few cold ones and a share of the antics. A superb day all in all.
Tomorrow we head west, back over to the coast, back down the mountain roads and back on the white-knuckled kamikaze bus from hell. C'maaan!
Where I stayed
Kang (Daniel's) Lodge