Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On the Road (Cameron Highland), April 1, 2006

I did not realize it has been four years since we last visited Cameron Highland. I realized this simply because Mar is four years old already and this is going to be her first trip there. This is not really a planned trip as one day in the office I was not busy doing something and just playing around checking our resort system. I made a booking for our Cameron Highland bungalow and within a week I got it. A lucky break and Cameron Highland we were going for a weekend.

Just after suboh we left BSP and I floored the accelerator with the intention of having breakfast at Tapah R&R. My target was 0800 which I missed by 4 minutes. The other car, my other relatives, arrived at the rest area 15 minutes before 0900. At the rest area I met my friend Ibrahim who owned the outdoor training centre/resort Nur Lembah Pangsun. He just started a new one in Lenggung, Perak as well. He was on his way to Kulim where the state government or somebody asked him to take over the operation or a training/resort area at Bukit Hijau. We actually left around 0930 to start our climb up Cameron Highland. I always have this thing with ‘a long and winding roads’ I just love driving on one and this one still intact like it used to be. I swerved and turned and stop at Lata Iskandar I thought at first just for photography sake that ended up with me and Fatah enjoying our swim. I really really enjoyed it and the ‘pool’ was not that big but the water was so clear. So much so I felt like I was snorkeling as there were a lot of fish, Sebarau, Seluang and Ikan Putih. Slightly after 1100 we continued with our climb and stopped at Bharat Tea shop and plantation just to savor the environment while drinking tea. I tried their scone but since I am not really a scone fan I did not know how to rate it. One bad thing about the tea shop was there were a lot of flies.

After tea I took the ‘kids’ (there were at least one kid in his early 20’s and two in their late 20’s) down to discover the plantation. They enjoyed both the discovery as well as the photography.

I knew that the Bungalow was not ready yet so I took everyone around the strawberry farms and t shirt shops. One of them was Kasimanis Strawberry Farm and I got more ten I bargain for. When I was about to reach the end of the climb towards Kasimanis Farm I saw Bodger (SDARA78) standing leaning against on of the shop’s ‘tiang’ scrutinizing my every moves as if saying to himself ‘what is this joker doing here’. LOL. So Bodger was on short family holiday as well and staying at Equatorial Hotel. We chatted for a while and went on our own way. For me there isn’t anything interesting anymore about the strawberry farms or for that matter other farms as well. Cameron now is just another highland resort area that I want to be doing nothing. Staying two nights here would already overkill for me. One thing for sure I would come here to write. We checked out the Bungalow after we done with the Kasimanis Farm and all. It was not ready as expected but everyone got a sense of how big it was. Five rooms with two on the ground floor that have three beds in one and two in another. The next level there were three rooms with one master bedroom on top of the stairs and two more with two single beds each. So, all in all the whole place could accommodate 11 people. The kitchen and family areas are also huge with one big dining table at the end. The area around the bungalow was also spaces. The yard over looking the golf course is big enough for a small organized football game. The view from there in the morning and evening could be breathtaking. The caretaker informed me the place would be ready around 1730 and to kill time we went to Tanah Rata. We visited the Mardi research centre where they have agro tourist attractions like the strawberry garden, fish ponds, tea museum and plantation, etc. It was not so impressive and I was not impressed at all. By now my standard is quite high already maybe to ordinary Malaysia the place is a must place to visit but to me they could have done better. In any case my family enjoyed touring the area. Exactly at 1730 we left Mardi for the bungalow. Straight away my wife and her sister went into the kitchen to cook a late lunch for us. In the end we had our lunch at 1700 but the lunch although simple was nice and fulfilling. Especially the vegetables cooked by Kakak.

We rested a bit by mostly taking advantage of the cool weather by sitting outside in the courtyard. I after awhile picked up the ping pong bat and started to hit the ball with Fatah until 1730 when I decided to take everyone out to the ‘pasar malam’. We were out of the bungalow at 1800 and headed for Brinchang.

The pasar malam was not like our pasar malam. Yes, they have kuih muih and the likes but the whole place was more like pasar tani where a lot of produce was being sold. The other majority was t shirts vendors but the quality was not so good. In fact most of the t shirts sold in Cameron were not good. There wasn’t any fish, meat or chicken being sold that made my daughters so annoyed as they wanted to have a BBQ that night. After one round we had enough of the pasar malam. It was getting dark by then and I took them further up exploring the vegetable valley around Kae Farm. Somehow I went further and turned back when I thought I’d gone too far. We headed back to the dark bungalow that created certain eerie feeling to some of us. Even without them mentioning it I knew some of them were pretty nervous about staying the night there. I did not feel anything and knew everything would be ok. What made them felt uneasy was the fact that there were any curtains in certain places like the kitchen. I decided to stay in my room and watched The New World using my laptop. While watching I heard a commotion coming from down below and I discovered later they were playing hide and seek. At least I knew they are occupying themselves with something which is good. The movie was a bit boring and when I am done I went down to look for something to eat. After I had my dinner all the girls decided to sleep in front of the TV. I went up and slept like a log that night.

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