Friday, May 28, 2010

Cameron Highlands and some Penang

The last 2 days have been such a relief from the muggy weather. Cameron Highlands was such a tranquil place to be. Although there might not be much to do up there, I can see why backpackers end up staying a few weeks before they up and leave. In a half a day, I toured a butterfly farm, tea plantation, honeybee farm, strawberry farm, and rose garden. It sounds better than it actually was- half the butterflies in the butterfly garden were dead. Not to mention that it also had this mini zoo with snakes, spiders, and other weird insects- 50% of them were dead in their tanks, which the other 50% were...missing. It was a sunny day so we were warned at the honeybee farm that the bees were particularly active today. I took one look at the swarms of bees flying about in the garden and went straight back to the bus. But the tea plantation was excellent, and so serene. Here's a look from their cafe:

After the tour, I decided to go on a what Lonelyplanet called a "easy and quick hike"- it was supposed to take me past a waterfall and then back to a main road within an hour. Well, 2 hours later, I was still trekking through the jungly mountainside and the sun was threatening to set. I was grateful for my two adorable tourguides despite the fact that they knew no english:

Finally, my two local friends (ages 10 and 11) drew the line and decided to turn back. Shortly after I crossed paths with a Chinese Malaysian family where the lady exclaimed, "You're the young girl the other hikers were mentioning. Come, we were all so worried!" Apparently a few hikers I've passed on the trail mentioned that a young girl was walking by herself and someone needed to find her. Well, now that I was found, we were all quite lost since backtracking would take too long and we wouldn't make it out of the jungle before dark. So, we scooted our way down the mountain to a farm and found the main road. The family phoned to have another family member to pick us up. It took a half hour to drive back up, and at that point, the family was nice enough to invite me to dinner! I have concluded that Malaysians are super nice.

After a long needed shower, I joined fellow guests at the hostel's bonfire where stories were exchanged and guitars were being strummed. The fun quickly faded away when my nickname changed from "China Girl" to "Stupid American" so I headed to bed. Most of it was in good fun, but there were some serious problems when I couldn't name the neighboring states of Austria or describe what a weinershnitzal was. One guy from the UK only addressed me once to say, "Only 20% of Americans own a passport and 60% can't locate the US on a world map" and then he turned around to talk to the Germans. And I thought New Yorkers were mean.

I headed out early today and am now in Georgetown- a quirky town that comes to life at night on the island of Penang. My spanish is being tested to the max since the only other travellers on the bus were two friends from the North of Spain. We toured the city together when we arrived, only to bump into someone they knew (who was also from Spain) who invited us to his Flamenco performance at the ritziest hotel on the island. The hotel was charging $100 USD per guest to attend this dinner + flamenco event, but Raul (the guitarist) led us in and told the hotel attendants that we were his photographers (Sabil had his fancy camera with him) and we got front row. Not to mention free (and wonderful) food afterward. The spanish chattering was getting to be too much for me at the end of the night so I opted to leave early- only to have them fret over my safety to get back to the hostel. In conclusion, I was carted away on a trishaw (a bicycle like thing with a passenger seat in front) and was either ridiculed or, ridiculed by everyone we passed by.

The past 2 days have been so quirky that I jumped off the trishaw and came straight to my blog to write. I hope you are all amused and I would write more but the man in charge of the internet usage is staring me down and waiting for me to finish. Until next time, eat some cheese for me please- I'm beginning to miss it!

1 comment:

  1. 1) you posted this blog at 9:14 am according to my computer..which is probably still in CT.. i thought you would like that
    2) that is so awesome that people on the trail were looking out for you! that makes me feel all warm inside
    3) austria is surrounded by germany, hungary, switzerland, some italy, czech republic, and slovakia..... so for next time you can be a little more prepared... however that guy sounded like a wang. obviously you have a passport.
    4) i miss your face
    5) i was in fact amused at the thought of you in a trishaw..