Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Tanah Rata - Cameron Highlands

We're 5000' up a Malaysian mountain range surrounded by dense rainforest and we've hit upon three staples of British life, namely, tea, curry and drizzle. We'll tackle each in turn...

Tea. The hillsides here are very, very green and lush. It's either jungle, market garden ( every kind of vegetable, strawberries, grapes, blackberries, herbs etc ) or more than likely, tea. Mmmmm tea..... There's quite a few tea companies up here, but the 'Boh' company have a tea factory that offers tours and tasting so we paid them a visit. Interestingly for the etymologists out there, Boh also claim to have invented the word 'Ummph' as part of one of their advertising slogans back in the '50s. The factory itself was quite old, with some of the big cast iron tea rollers that are still in use, dating back to 1935 ( see video below ). The smell inside the factory was fantastic and we could follow the entire process through. There was also a great view from the tea shop where we could sample the various local brews and munch on strawberry tarts.

Curry. There is a much greater proportion of Indian folk here than we saw in Kuala Lumpur. I've a suspicion it's got something to do with the tea plantations. Either way, there's loads of excellent food options. Best value we've come across is the 'banana leaf' curry. You don't actually eat the banana leaf, it's used instead of a plate. Very eco-minded. For about two pounds sterling, you'll be given healthy dollups of about four different vegetarian curries, lime pickle, popadums, a savoury soup, rice, a dollup of a main course ( mmm... mutton ) and a naan bread. Oooh, and a nice cuppa tea to wash everything down with.

Drizzle. There's a lot of it. We're right up in the clouds here and there's plenty of water flying about. We took a three hour hike along a jungle trail and found out just how muddy the area gets. Lovely walk though with a real jungle feel to it. Athena managed to fall over several times ( to my amusement I have to admit ) and had collected a fair amount of mud by the end of the walk. Fortunately, a nice bloke in a fancy BMW took pity on us and saved us from a slow damp slog home along nine kilometres of steep road. Shame about the muddy bum prints left on his leather seats.

STOP PRESS. We discovered a fourth British stalwart - cream teas ! After our slog through the jungle we found a tea shop selling scones with jam and cream. Eat your heart out Dog !!