Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cameron Highlands Trip!

Hi everyone!

So as you know, Deepavali weekend was extremely tiring. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were filled with festivals, travel, socializing, etc. In short, Deepavali weekend was really fun, but by the end of it, we were all ready to catch up on our sleep (Read the previous post if you don't understand why).

So it seems perfect that as soon as we got back from Teluk Intan on Sunday night, we had to pack for a trip to Cameron Highlands the next day! In all seriousness, however, I was pretty excited because I'd been hoping to visit the Cameron Highlands for the past three months. Another American exchange student friend of mine, Jenny, came to our house on Sunday night so that she could get ready for the trip.

We woke up pretty late Monday morning thanks to our busy schedule the previous weekend, but fortunately, we were able to board the bus. After about an hour or so on the bus, we got off at a town called Tanah Rata in the state of Pahang. We ate breakfast at a restaurant in town and dropped our bags off at the hotel before going out for the day.

DAY 1-Monday, November 4

We started off by visiting a strawberry farm. It was basically a tourist location because the Cameron Highlands are famous for the strawberries they produce. We got to see different types of plants that are harvested in the Cameron Highlands and taste a few strawberries (which were sedap, delicious!).

The other AFSers on the trip

After the strawberry farm was the flower garden. Actually, the name is a little deceptive; it was more than a flower garden. At the top of the place, you could get an amazing view of the region, which was definitely more than we expected walking into the place. It was a 15 minute walk up the stairs and a little tiring, but it was more than worth it.

I wonder where they got this idea from...

Spongebob looks a little different, right?

Finally made it to the peak!

A cool statue near the top of the hill

After the flower garden, we went to a touristy tea plantation. Although we didn't see any of the actual plantations up close, we got to try authentic Cameron Highlands tea and learn a little about how the tea leaves are processed.

Beautiful view behind me

After leaving the tea plantation, we were off to the highest point in the Cameron Highlands. We climbed a tall tower and got a few pictures of the great view.

The highest elevation in the region

Next, we went to the Mossy Forest, where we were at an elevation of about 2000 meters, or almost 6,600 feet! There, we climbed up stairs to get amazing views of the region around us.

Finally, we visited a butterfly house; once again, however, the name is deceptive. The house had lizards, insects, and many other interesting creatures. some of these animals were really strange and exotic! For example, look at this picture:

That's an insect. You might not believe it at first, but look closely at the edges of the "leaf"; those are legs! This animal is called a leaf insect. Now watch this video:

This animal is a stick insect. Both these creatures look like structures of a plant as part of their camouflage; predators find it hard to distinguish them from the surroundings when the animals are on top of a plant.

Between all of the visits to the different places, we got several amazing pictures of the view. Here are a few of those pictures:

Taken from the tea plantation area

Taken just off of the main road

Taken from the highest elevation point

Taken off of the main road

Same place as last picture

DAY 2-Tuesday, November 5

On Tuesday, our group went jungle trekking to find the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia flower. The Rafflesia is indigenous to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, but one can find the flower in the Cameron Highlands. The trek up the mountain was long and intense, but in the end, it was worth it. Getting to see the largest flower in the world is another really cool thing that I've done while in Malaysia and that I wouldn't be able to do back in the U.S.

The inside of the flower (the Rafflesia flower is pretty smelly. Unless you're burning with curiosity, don't smell it.)

The largest Rafflesia flowers can be one meter in diameter!

After we descended the mountain, we got to see a few natives to the region show us how to use a blowpipe weapon. Basically, it's one of those wooden pipes that one blows into in order to shoot a dart. The natives are extremely accurate with this weapon and can hit a target from over 50 meters back! I tried to use one relatively close to the target, and although I think I did well for a first-timer, my accuracy was nowhere close to that of the natives.

My shot

After returning from the mountain, we got ready for our bus ride back home. After Ayinde, Jenny, and I reached home, I got a nice sleep to recover from a slight headache I had been having. The next morning, Jenny and Ayinde left for their respective states of Terengganu and Selangor. Having them here for the past few days was awesome, as we got so much fun together, exchange stories of our experiences, and get to know each other better. I also enjoyed going on the Cameron Highlands trip, as I got to meet new exchange students and bond with them while seeing and experiencing new, exciting places. Overall, the last ten days or so have been both fun and eventful, and I'm happy that I had such a great time!


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