Climate Change: The Cameron Highlands

May 11, 2008

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Yesterday morning, we took a bus to the Cameron Highlands. I’ve never been on a bus that was driven like that. It seemed like we were going to fly off every corner! Not a comforting thought as you’re driving through the “highlands.” We arrived around 2pm, and walked through town to our guest house. It’s so different here than what I’ve seen so far in Malaysia. The biggest difference is the climate. It’s about ten degrees cooler, and not very humid. I love it! The guesthouse is also really nice and peaceful.

This morning, we went out to see the tea fields. The plantation was closed, but the workers were still cutting and gathering leaves. The fields are massive, and gorgeous and such a cool color and texture. OK, words are working, a picture is necessary. And here’s a video clip of our guide explaining about the tea…

This afternoon, several of us took a guided hike into the hills. When a little 65 year old Indian man showed up to guide us on our hike, I was a little nervous that we’d be hiking at a fairly slow pace, but I was pleasantly surprised. He wouldn’t accept payment at the beginning of the hike, he said, “If I’m worth it, you pay at end.” And what an amazing guide! I was so glad we decided to do the guided hike. Not only did we not have to worry about finding the trail, but I learned a lot about the area. He hikes almost every day and had already done a 4 hour hike that morning! We passed an area that he saw a king cobra in last week, so he told us about some of the more dangerous animals in the area. We asked what happens when you get bit by a king cobra snake and he said, “you have 10 minutes, then heaven, no time for hospital, straight to heaven you go.” Near the end of our hike, he went running into the trees and came out with slender chutes of rattan, that he started weaving into bracelets for each of us. He must have made hundreds of these in his lifetime! After an 8km hike, I was totally sold on hiking with a local guide. It’s more fun and it’s also nice to support local tourism.