I hesitated about writing about this for fear of worrying my mother, but I do occasionally get total strangers reading my blog (which is always nice, thank you), who have presumably found me by searching for keywords of places they’re researching. With that in mind, I feel it’s probably my duty to say this.
LADIES, THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE HIKING ON YOUR OWN IN THE CAMERON HIGHLANDS
It’s really easy to hike without a guide here, the paths are well marked (although you might get lost on the roads because the map is woefully inaccurate, once in the woods you’ll be fine), so I thought I’d start off with the nearby walk to Robinson’s waterfall.
After the fall I happened upon a local guy who I at a quick glance thought was talking a leak by the path. He said sorry, I mumbled an embarrassed ‘it’s OK’ and carried on. A little while later I noticed he was behind me and didn’t think anything of it until I glanced round to see him standing there masturbating. I very calmly turned round, very calmly let him watch me select a large stick from the undergrowth and give it a few test swings and very calmly walked on.
And then I got the fuck out of those woods at the first opportunity.
Yes, he decided not to follow me any more and I wasn’t harmed in any way and I got to see first hand how hilariously true the stereotype about Asian anatomy is, but I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t seriously freaked out at the time.
So yeah, go with a friend or a taser. Or a friend with a taser, which is of course the best kind of friend.
Didn’t fancy going back on my own obviously, so for the next two days I joined tour groups instead to see the touristy sites of the area.
On the first trip we got to see 3 rafflesia, the world’s largest flower. These only bloom for around four days, so the tourist agencies must put a lot of energy into finding where the latest ones are. They’re supposed to smell of rotting corpses, but apparently that’s only for the first few hours after opening, after that they only really smell if you stick your face right inside them. Which you could if you so wished because they are ginormous.
We also had a quick blow dart demonstration from one of the guides (without the paralysing darts sadly, so I couldn’t deal with the annoying kid in our tour group)
Second day we went up the highest hill in the state – 666ft – and into the mossy forest. The hill was a bit of a bust. It was raining so our spectacular view was just a sheet of mist, but the forest is cool and looks like the kind of really old creepy forest from European fairytales, except that it’s full of pitcher plants.
The highlands are also known for growing tea, so I had fun messing around in the plantations and the factory taking silly photos with fellow Brits Nick and Phil.
The Cameron highlands is also apparently really famous for strawberries. Every corner you turn there’s a strawberry farm or a souvenir shop selling strawberry themed goods which the locals seem to go crazy for. I suppose that makes sense, it must count as an exotic fruit in Malaysia, and if there was an area in Blighty known for growing mangosteen I might get a bit excited too. I might draw the line at buying mangosteen draught excluders though.
This was sadly the only strawberry I saw, but I did have very good strawberry milkshake.
So my last day in the Cameron highlands we had tea, we went to a strawberry farm, and it rained. Felt terribly British. Toodle pip.