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Pictures from Cameron Highlands

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Backpacker Hotel – this has been the best so far – usually we have stayed in busy ChinaTown type places


We had a “Jungle Bar” connected to the hotel – it was great – no age limit – kids liked that – played pool -etc


Very busy backpacker hotel – neat place – at night we would all sit around the bonfire and trade stories



BOH Tea Plantation Pictures – grown in neat rows – tough to harvest – just cut the tops of the leaves off


This is a tea tree – NOT pruned – its leaves become useless


Notice the dark green is where they have pruned – the light green is ripe for the picking


Strawberry Farms – very orderly and interesting way to grow – works wonders – great strawberries


Also growing lettuce, etc


In America we call it U-Pick – here they call it Self Plucking – Natalie had a laugh over this one – thinking of women and their heigene (spelling?)


Of course while everyone sleeps in late, Tim goes on the search for a golf course.  Better greens this time.  Hard to adjust to Asian “rental” clubs.  Again monkeys playing on the fairways and greens.  Luckily no 6 ft monitor lizards to scare daily light out of you


A specialty of the area – called _______________  (forg0t) – all kinds of sea food – prawns, crab, fish, chicken, bread, noodles, vegetables – you then put them in the pot that contains two kinds of sauces and let them cook – like a fondu.  We’ll need to try this at home. 


Jan 15-18 Cameron Highlands

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Tea Plantation – terraced hills, if you don’t prune the tree grows tall and is useless – every two years they prune to keep branches and leaves fresh; lettuce and strawberries – all grown under plastic and in deperate gutter rows, bonfire chatting, and the worker vehicle of the hills – 1960’s Land Rover – I forgot to get picture of the 4 door cab  one like my dad owned – that was for the brothers to think back


I finally got to ride in a mercedes – it was a diesel and was a TAXI (of all things), Buddhist Shrine for our local backpacker hotel owners (they also  had a Hindu shrine on grounds); scorpion from the insect/butterfly farm – then Tim was walking through a dark tunnel thinking of scorpions and lo and behold Josh was waiting to scare and take a picture – he succeded; jungle lounge pool table; kids able to go to a bar – there was no underage issue – hey we are all backpacking – enter into the conversation and fun


taking a break from tourist sightseeing – went to park and played – Josh trying to slide down the “rail” – misses skiing; Tea Plantation shot

down-time.jpgjosh-riding-a-rail.jpgtea-plantation-2.jpgPictures coming

finally blogged Kuala Lumpur after the pictures were uploaded – so if you missed it –  go on back 

Time for  some cool mountain air.  Cameron Highlands is an hill station developed by the British as a respite from the heat of Malaysia – located at about 3000 feet.  It’s also been developed into a vegetable, strawberry and tea growing area.   The tourist attraction is the primarily for its Tea Plantations and strawberry farms… and the largest flower on earth – the Rafflesia, which is abiout 2 feet across.

The trip up is on a very tight 2 lane road with 96 hairpin switchbacks – it is hard to get two buses to pass each other on the road.  Halfway up, our bus driver and the oncoming bus both took a blind curve too fast. Our driver slammed on his brakes, swerved, and ran into the side of the mountain at the mid-point of the bus where Josh was located –scary/exciting!? Everyone was fine though and we just continued on our way as though nothing happened.

This part of the trip was to get out of the heat and rest a little from travel and sightseeing.  The air was wonderful when we stepped off the bus. We were actually a bit cold! We stayed at a really neat backpacker hotel – small $10 rooms as usual,  shared toilets as normal – yet finally a HOT shower (most have been cold or luke warm), very clean, lots of travelers probably due to it having a TV-Movie room area,  “jungle bar” and evening bonfire. It was also off the main road, which means a lot, because you don’t hear motorcycles whizzing by all night. And last, we were a distance away from the mosque, so we didn’t get woken up every morning by the call to prayer! We thoroughly enjoyed playing pool, watching a few movies, hanging out on the veranda doing homework, writing, internet, and staying up till 1am sitting around the fire pit talking to other backpacker travelers – mainly English, Austrian, German, Holland, Argentinian, and a big Japanese group. A Korean guy said he saw us 3 times in Singapore; an Austrian couple was in the same hostel in Kuala Lumpur;  and another couple had seen us walking like a family of ducklings in KL . (Tim had noticed some people laughing at us as we walked down a busy street in Kuala Lumpur, and in Cameron Highlands, we got to meet them and give them a hard time for laughing at us!)  They actually said they were laughing with us:)  All the travelers think it is the greatest thing for us to take the kids out of school and see the world.  They all wished their folks could have done that with them.  They also think it’s great that we are not doing the mid or high end hotel thing, but following the backpacker grouping.  It actually is pretty neat – Josh loved to hang out with us at the firepit listening to everyone talking. Other thoughts:  most have been totally against the Israeli push into Gaza, are looking forward to the Obama administration. Most have quit their jobs after saving up for a big world or ½ world trip, or have a 2-3 week vacation and are traveling Asia.  Most are 20-28 year olds – boy do we look like the old generation – but they still think we are cool/sic!?

The first day, we just let the kids sleep in and just have a “down” day.  The only problem with a down day means they have to do homework! The next day was our sightseeing day – which included the tea plantation, strawberry farm, and butterfly/insect farm.  The tea plantations were beautiful – planted on incrediby steep hillsides. The hike in to see the Rafflesia was a 4-5 hour trek in mud and leaches – not what the kids wanted to do.  You also could take a 4×4 adventure trip which would get you within a hour of the flower, but was far too costly for a whole family – especially when kids are not that interested.   Hopefully, we’ll see on of these amazing flowers later in the trip.

The next day we left in the afternoon for Penang, another island back on the northwest coast of Malaysia.  Tim got up early and went golfing at the local public course while everyone else slept.  The other highlight was that the wall fronting the hostel had graffiti painting on it with the name of the hostel.  Tim talked to the owners to see if Josh could add to the wall.  After showing them some of Josh’s work, they decided tey wanted him to paint “Home Away From Home” and the Rafflesia flower.  It became more of chore than we thought.t would be.  The paint wouldn’t stick because there was a lot of moss growing on the wall. so we had to scrape it all off, which meant finding a hardware store and buyin some scrapers. Then we decided we should prime it, so we had to buy that and a roller and whitewash the wall and let it dry overnight. Finally, Josh got to paint.  See the Picture blog for better pictures.  It came out quit well.    Josh is leaving his mark on Asia!

Pictures from Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
After traveling now for a couple of weeks, figuring out the picture situation takes time.  The original picture is saved as 8MB - too big for upload - therefore, need to resize the pictures we would ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jan 12-14 Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
Pictures Notes:  Ferry coming in the day we were diving --  we could leave the island the next morning! Kuala Lumpur Welcome center with Petronas Towers in back; Sultan's Palace grounds; National Islamic Mosque (stylized after Mecca); Obama's face on money ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jan 11 – Scuba Diving On Tioman Island

Monday, January 12th, 2009
tasha-homework-ti.jpgTasha's homework settingdive-trip-tioman-island.jpgdive-boat-ti.jpggetting ready to dive boat josh-open-water-cert.jpgJosh finishing his last dive[Continue reading this entry]

Pictures of Tioman Island

Monday, January 12th, 2009
nazris-place-tioman-islands.jpgNazri's Place - restaurant-hotelnazri-place-room.jpg Looking from our roomnazris-room.jpg Looking at our roomjungle-walk-tioman-island.jpg Jungle rain forest walk ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jan 8 – Stranded on a tropical Tioman Island! – literally

Monday, January 12th, 2009
bajang-golf-resort-tioman-island.jpgGolf Course -Tiamon Islandjungle-tioman-island.jpgmonitor-lizard-iguana.jpgMonitor Lizarjungle-monkeys-tioman-island.jpg[Continue reading this entry]

Jan 5 – Change of plans: To east coast of Malaysia– Mersing and Tioman Island

Saturday, January 10th, 2009
palm-grove-palm-oil-cultivation.jpgrice-fields.jpgsunset-tioman-island.jpghot-chick.jpgqueens-traveling.jpg[Continue reading this entry]

Jan 3 – On to Malaysia-Melaka

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
night-streets-melaka.jpgmosqu-sumatran-architgecture.jpgwalking-travel-mlka.jpgmalaka-tishaw.jpgjosh-coconut-soup.jpggeography-cafe-malaka.jpgdutch-fort-gate.jpg[Continue reading this entry]

Jan 1 – Arrival Singapore – Happy New Year

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
my-dream-come-true-animals.jpgnatalie-hot.jpgnatalie-star-of-show-at-singapore-zoo.jpgsingapore-airport-orchards.jpgbackpacker-hotel.jpgbrkfst-at-backpacker-hotel.jpgjapanese-toilet-fun.jpgfish-foot-cleaning.jpg[Continue reading this entry]