A plucking good time

Trip Start Feb 06, 2005
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Trip End Jul 2005


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, July 2, 2005

As I came through the mountains an amazing sight through the bus windows hit me, which has been repeated throughout Malaysia: jungle wilderness parting to reveal apartment blocks. In the middle of nowhere, with hectares of wilderness around, Malaysians live in 5-10 storey buildings. It's strange how comfortable they are with high density living, but I suppose that fact means that there is space for the greenery throughout the country.
Cameron further damaged my confidence in the Lonely Planet. It has been great everywhere except Malaysia. I found the backpacker guesthouses as foretold, but they are surrounded by high-rise lodges for wealthier tourists. Jungle treks abound, which are fantastic, but they snake around the package-tour attractions such as the strawberry farm, the bee farm, the rose farm and the tea plantations, each demanding you come and 'pluck' your own (though I am curious as to how and why you pluck the bees). The whole place looks like a ski resort, and the prices are equivalent.
I decided to spend only one night in Cameron, the following day trek through the jungle to one of the tea plantations and then catch the night bus somewhere else. It was a great walk, especially after the sedentary week I had on Koh Phangan, and the tea plantation was beautiful. Rows of neat tea trees covered the rolling hills with a chess board effect as far as the eye could see. I kind of expected Alice and the white rabbit to pop out at any moment.
The tea shop was a relief after the long walk in the sun, but I was devastated by the lack of scones. Who has a tea plantation without scones? I realised while trying various teas (vanilla was a bit weird, but cinnamon gets the thumbs-up) that tea and scones was something my mother would look forward to. Geez, I must be getting old. Either that or I'm becoming cultured... nah...just getting old.
Though I had a good day, I decided that plucking was not for me, and since I was still determined to go somewhere cool before I hit KL, I headed to the Perhentian Islands. Without planning to, I somehow ended up crossing the entire country in a quest for a good time, which I suppose is the joy of spontaneous travel.
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