Anyone for tea?
05.09.2013 - 08.09.2013 20 °C
Aah go on go on go on go on go on go on go on........
Mrs Doyle from "Father Ted" would have had multiple orgasms at the sight of the Cameron Highlands. (For those who have never heard of "Father Ted", its a comedy tv series about 3 Irish priests and their housekeeper on channel 4. Definitely worth googling). The Cameron Highlands is tea mecca and really excellent quality tea at that. Nearly all the hillsides here are dedicated to tea plantations. And the rest are taken up with hydroponic tunnels, where flowers, vegetables and fruit are commercially grown year-round. From What little space they have they get maximum return. The Cameron Highlands is the size of Singapore, 712 square kilometers. It consists of 3 districts, one of which is Tanah Rata, where we decided to base ourselves. The town is lovely and cool and it was the first time we needed to put on a fleece since we arrived in Asia. So refreshing.
Most of the residents here are entrepreneurs, service industry employees, farm workers, retirees or government representatives. The languages spoken are Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. We stayed in a little guest house called the Cameronian Inn, a little haven 200 metres from the town centre, with beautifully manicured gardens.
We rented a moped for 2 days, as it's the best way to get to see all the sights (the Cameron Highlands comprises about 5 villages). We visited the BOH tea plantation together with strawberry, apiary, butterfly farms and sampled what produce we could as we passed by any stall with any strange and alien looking fruits etc. Of course the rain came as we were at the furthest point from our accommodation, but we were prepared as we had brought our rain ponchos. We definitely received some stares from the locals at our comical getup on the wee moped. Always glad to bring a smile to someone's face - that's us: loodersatlarge. Back in town we continued to do what we do best.... Eat! Afternoon tea with scones and jam (a throw back to the British) and the most amazingly cheap Chinese and Indian food. We had the most succulent tandoori chilli chicken in one place, so succulent that we had to back twice more. We kept bumping into some Bavarian girls who we had met on the Taman Negara jungle trek. Lovely girls. I'm sure they thought we were stalking them. (Well maybe Seamus was...). Girls - only kidding if you're reading this!
Overall, the Highlands are still around 60 percent forested. Jungle trails lead visitors to scenic spots, waterfalls and aboriginal villages. Most of the tracks begin at Tanah Rata. Apart from its walks, the sanctuary is also known for it aborigines. The aborigines or Orang Asli are basically jungle dwellers. Though while we were there we witnessed one of their villages being bulldozed so that a complex could be built in its stead. The Asli were re housed of course - into brand new apartments a distance away, progress??????? Thankfully while many have "left" to take up residence in the nearby towns, there are still some who prefer to treat the forests and jungle as their home. We did a really beautiful and quiet hike which took us to the highest point of the highlands.
Nothing exciting happens in the Highlands but it's a lovely reprieve from the tropical heat and the perfect place for a grand cup o' tay.