Friday, November 27, 2009

Cameron Highlands - tea, tea, and tea

"We drove to Cameron Highlands Friday 13th November 2009. And visited the Boh Tea Plantation the next morning."

Not that it's in any way outstanding piece of information.

Just that this morning (28th November 2009), I was just going through old messages on my phone and saw a message where I was exchanging texts about driving to Cameron Highlands one of these days.  The most remarkable thing about it (to me) was that the texts were exactly almost 3 months to the date the date we actually went! So cool! :)

I am fascinated by order. He accuses me of being OCD about it. Among other things, but I'll save that for another day.

I love the idea of finding connection between events or actions. Especially when something seemingly so random and isolated can be explained in one way in relation with sometthing else or another or a pattern drawn from it. He says I have the capability of seeing things that aren't there. Fitting pieces that in reality do not fit at all, but just because I want them to. He may be right. But if I can fit the pieces, hey, then I will :)

Anyway, I thought it so cool to be talking about something in future not really knowing when that time would come and then when it happens, it happens in a nice round number kind of thing :) oh hey, maybe it's the number thing that fascinates me :) I'm a numbers junkie :)

This is actually the drive out of the tea plantation. I still feel like breaking out into the song from 'The Sound of Music' and do the twirling thing ala Sister Maria :) when I think of the hills and hills of tea bushes.

This is the tea factory at the end of the road. I was quite surprised to see it. Kinda old and spooky like, Norman Bate's motel came to mind almost immediately.

I guess I was expecting more Sound of Music and tea on delicate china, with hot scones and melting butter. They did have them. Not SoM. The scones and butter but no delicate china! The tea place (and shopping place) was crowded, so we ditched that place very quickly and made our way around the factory. He loves to look for 'pictures'. I just tag along and let my mind wander :) There he is looking for a 'picture'.

I swear I saw a shadow lurking just beyond that broken window pane!! Did I say I let my mind wander??
No delicate china here :) but I think that single rose rocks. Sigh. I need to work on my picture taking skills. All that stuff about composition, lighting, exposure, etc etc etc. I kinda like the reflections on the glass ;)

I guess the term here would be 'burnt sky'? I never think about those things. Too complicated. I rather like the little boy who came into the picture just as I went click :)
This is the front facade of the tea factory. It reminds me of the lego factory in Carlsbad.
I wonder how the locals get their mail. The one there looked like it had been closed for ages. I guess they didnt need snail mail anymore. It's all email now baby! Too bad though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cameron Highlands - Tanah Rata and Brinchang

What review about a place is complete without talking about the food experience?

Not that this is a review of Cameron Highlands.  Just happened to have some food pictures. :)

But first a little background information :)

CH is made up of two towns - news to me too. I thought CH was just CH. Oh no no no. It's Brinchang and Tanah Rata. Brinchang is newer and (imho of course) kinda garish. Tanah Rata is a little quainter and where we stayed. We even came back four nights later! :)

And we stayed at the same place. Kang's Travellers Lodge. RM50 (USD17.40)  for the night. Or EUR9.90. I've been thinking in Euro lately. Wonder why? :)  We had internet wi-fi access too. How dare Lonely Planets say it's a scruffy place. Hhhh! Snort. We had our laptops with us, and the kind lady manager gave us the password so we could use the internet for free. :)  There was hot water. No breakfast though. But it's ok la. We who can survive on cookies and water don't need all that much. Haha. Oh yeah, breakfast was RM5 or something like that.

Anyway, so there is a market place between Brinchang and Tanah Rata, which I shall christen the-market-in-between, where all sorts of stuff, mostly exotic plants and ordinary garden variety vegetables can be bought.

These are supposed to be ginseng roots, if the girl-in-charge is to be believed. I thought ginseng roots look eerily like human figurines. These just look like maggots to me.

This was breakfast our first morning in CH. Coconut pancake topped with a tad too ripe bananas. The chocolate sprinkle was a surprise. It was a bit too sweet for breakfast. Nice but we both agreed we wouldn't have it again. The second time we had breakfast in CH, we had scrambled egg and toast. At Kang's. The RM5 variety.
I am so envious of the children who went to this school! They're so lucky to have such a beautiful building for a school. It probably feels like going to the museum everyday! With friends!

Nothing beats having breakfast al fresco. And in CH, where the temperature is a cool 11 degrees (maybe?), it tops my best things to do on a Saturday morning list. That's my tea with sugar on the side, in the orange bowl :) The cook was kind enough to accomodate my request to have the sugar separately :)

Something I'd like to try for sure. Not this trip though. We had already had dinner and went walking around the area. This restaurant is on the other block behind the main blocks along the main street.

Penampang ~ Yaya siblinghood

Brother and sister outside a little shop in a little place called Kg Sarapung just outside of Penampang.

My security thing was sucking on my thumb :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kuala Lumpur ~ Cotton puffs in the sky

A fine untypical sky just outside Kuala Lumpur. Sigh.

Kuala Lumpur ~ Curious is as curious does

A boy who wanted to know more. A Japanese restaurant in Mid Valley Megamall, KL.

Tambunan sisters ~ sweet as can be!

Sisters in a market in Tambunan, waiting for their mom to pack up to go home. I can't remember their names now :(

Petagas Beach at sunset

A july sunset in 2009, not too far from my mom's place

Skywatching - Sunset on Petagas Beach

Petagas Beach, Sabah

Cameron Highlands - the local flora!

This is a close-up of tea leaves before harvest.

I had, for the longest time wanted to go to Cameron Highlands. Think 15 years. Haha.

Each time I wanted to go, there was always something or other that got in the way!

So, last weekend (Friday 13th to be sure!) I arrived in CH! At long last!

I was surprised for one, at how bustling it was. I suppose I had always imagined CH to be quieter... in an English country-side kind of way. What I found instead was something busier and bigger. Not in a bad kind of way though.

I'm glad I came when I came. Before it gets too big, too commercial, too not-so-quaint anymore.

There is even a Starbucks on main street! And I got two bags of used coffee-beans to use as fertiliser! Haha. They were giving away bags and bags of them. For free. What a great idea.

We drove to the Boh Tea Plantation early Saturday morning;

1. for a spot of tea. Nah, not really. We'd had breakfast in town and were still quite full.
2. because that's what one does when one is in CH... it's one of those you haven't been to the place if you havent done such and such kind of thing.
3. to take pictures! yes! oodles and oodles of them!  Tea plantations are so scenic! Unfortunately, none of my scenery pictures came out nice enough to show on here. Point and click you know. And the weather wasn't too kind for that kind of camera. I am so jealous of my travelling partner. He and his camera make no less than stunning pictures!
Here are some flowers that caught my eye.
A flower that looks like it would be equally at home on a wet sandy beach or at the bottom of the sea in a place called Bikini Bottom! And I christen this flower Patrick :)

A georgeous lone pink rose! So pretty that all the day's light decided to focus their attention on it.
A fly decided to pose for a bit because the white of this Anthrium showed his glossy black off perfectly. Well, my point and click can only do so much...

This georgeous thing flirted shamelessly. Take my picture! Take my picture! She said. What else could I do? But submit to her demands.

This is how Patrick looks like profile view.

I couldn't decide which picture of this red flower I like best, so I decided to put both up.

These both wanted to be posted. :)

Phew! This is the fifth time I'm editing this post. Can't seem to get the positions of the last four pictures right :(
Whatever comes out, I'm not going to fuss anymore :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wat Maisuwankiri

I was in Kelantan again last weekend. For only the second time in almost 15 years.

The last time I was there, it was only for a night. And I wasn't really impressed.

It was December and the entire state (or so it seemed at the time) was under water! Of course I had to go during the Monsoon right?

Anyway, so it was with mixed feelings going again last weekend. It being the start of the Monsoon and all. Haha. What's that phrase? A glutton for misery?

Well, it was either South of Thailand or Kelantan. Both places that we havent really been there done that to. I was kind of jittery going to South of Thailand as the car wasn't in my name. What if the border police stopped us? What if they weren't satisfied with my papers? What if my car didn't pass their pollution test? or something this? or something that? urrkk.

Anyway, so we flipped a coin and Kelantan it was. Well, I did will the coin to flip for Thailand. It went for Kelantan instead. First it was heads Kelantan, tails Thailand. Then  it was best two out of three. And I wanted to do best three out five. But my travel partner put his foot down. The coin has spoken! OK la.

I was pleasantly surprised and glad we went to Kelantan. :) It is still underdeveloped relative to the rest of the country, but the weather was beautiful and we got to visit the wats! (And we will be driving or riding to South of Thailand sometime soon, maybe before Xmas or early next year! woot!!)

In so little words... the wats are amazing! Here are some pictures from Wat Maisuwankiri.

The monk was texting. I think he subscribes to one of those A Meditation a Day kind of thing.

This old house reminds me of my grandmother's place. Ah, her place was not as grand looking as this, but it evoked the same kind of feeling of home, of coming home. Miss her a lot. She passed away in 1983. RIP nani.

The balcony has a Romeo and Juliet-ish feel. A la Asian. I imagine me sitting at the window, dreaming and smiling at the moon and I hear a soft singing from below. I look down and there he is. A smile. That smile. His hands on his heart. Fall for you. Just for me. Especially for me. Only for me. :) Corny? Who cares. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

intellectual property

Seriously. @_@

OK so I did not write "all copyrights reserved" on this blog. Doesnt it go without saying though? Unless I give explicit permission to use freely?

I just found out that a travel company has used one of my blog entries to promote traffic to their site.
And there was no way to contact them.
And I mind that a lot.


There's nothing right about that.
They could've asked permission and I would've said yes but do link back to me.
An acknowledgement is always cool, right?

Honestly. Some people. Or should I say some @#$%^& idiots.... Did I spell that right??