Are we nearly there yet?

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
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19
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Trip End Jul 31, 2007


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, February 10, 2007

In an internet cafe with a load of Malaysian kids playing online games with each other and screaming & the A/C doesn't work. Its the price you pay for cheap internet...So if this entry doesn't seem as detailed and interesting as all the others you'll have to forgive us:)

Leaving Penang for the Cameron Highlands we should've known it wasnt going to be a great day when our minibuses to take us to the bus station were late. Little did we know that we would get on two buses that would break down, have a driver who wasn't all there and a hostel with no hot water. Hey its a basic tour!!

So starting at the begining, when the minibuses both finally arrived we all pilled in and set off for the short trip to the main bus station. After loading all our bags onto the coach it was either have rice and chicken curry for breakfast or some pringles and choco cereals...wasn't really that hard a choice. On board the coach we were sitting near the driver, who definately was loopy as he was singing, whooping and tooting his horn at everybody and anything. He would cheer as the bus accelerated down hill and get really sad and depressed when we lost speed and crawled up hill (it would've been quicker to get out and walk at times uphill it was that slow). Then the a/c broke down. Not the end of the world as we could open the door and the roof vents and sitting near the front meant we still had a nice breeze (when going downhill).

On the next acsent the engine stuttered a few times and then cut out completely. The Swedes in front of guessed we were out of diesel. As luck would have it we broke down right next to a strawberry farm! So it was off there for some lunch and a strawberry shake, although our lunch options were limited to pringles, seafood cup noodles or dried cuttelfish. Again not the hardest choice in the world. As we sat there wondering when our relief bus would get here, we happened to glimse a clapped out school bus pass by in the direction of our bus, and it was empty. Surely it couldnt be our bus, but we thought we head back just to check it out. Unbelievably it was our bus! When we got back the driver chaps were pouring a couple of cans of diesel into the original bus to try and get it fired up again. When they did eventually fire it up a massive cloud of black soot erupted from the back of the bus covering Julia and some of the other girls:) It needed to see a mechanic soon, but will it...

There was no need for a/c in this bus as neither door closed and every window could slide open! So everyone jumped in this bus and off we went. Then we started picking up people as when we went along. Clearly our relief bus had now become a normal bus servicing the needs of the highlanders. But this bus clearly couldn't hand the strain of 17 backpacks and as we pulled over to drop off some locals the driver was enveloped in a cloud of steam. What was more worrying was he calmly turned around and through the steam annouced that this was usual, all he need was 4 litres of water and we'd be off again.

Eventually 3 hours late we pulled into the Cameron Highlands main bus terminal and trudged wearily up to our guesthouse. Then the fun started again as almost every room didnt have hot water. Some times girls would be in the middle of washing their hair when the hot water went and would go running round from room to room looking for hot water to wash their conditioner out.

The rest of the day struggled to live up to the excitment of earlier and so we retired early for yet another early morning to see the tea plantations (about the only thing there is to see)
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