Monday, April 26, 2010

Malaysia Insects and Flowers

I arrived to Cameron Highlands with Jula and Martin. We settled into our hotel in the bunker and grabbed dinner at the hotel restaurant. I was craving vegetables, so I got a salad. Everything was fine until I bit into an onion and jumped out of my seat. My tooth wasn't happy. It had been hurting periodically, but not like this. This time, it was stronger and the pain wasn't going away like before. I ran to the bathroom and saw a rusty sink. I paused for a good 10 seconds, debating whether the water was drinkable and whether I should rinse my mouth or not. It was a decision between diarrhea and tooth pain. I went back and forth between the two and decided that tooth ache is worse, so I rinsed my mouth. It later turned out that the water was fine.

The next day, Jula and I took a tour of Tanah Rata, the town where we were staying. Below are some pictures of the insects and flowers from the tour.

The gardens consisted of a maze of paths, with beautiful flowers all over. I've seen many of the flowers in Huntington Library, but seeing them where they belong was absolutely spectacular. The hanging orchids in the picture below were everywhere.

At the butterfly garden, prior to seeing the butterflies, a local guide acquainted us with some peculiar insects.
Here, Jula is holding an insect that looks like an orchid.

I never knew that there are bugs on this planet this big. I thought that large insects only existed during dinosaur times. Crazy!

Here is an insect that looks like a leaf. When on a branch, it will move around resembling a leaf in the wind.

At the end of our tour, we made it to the butterfly garden. They were everywhere. Unfortunately, it was overcast and quite dark, so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked. Here are a few that turned out

Here's where Cameron Highlands is located

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Considering the current situation in Thailand, I decided to wait and see how things are before heading that way. Several people mentioned the Cameron Highlands, which were significantly cooler than Kuala Lumpur and have some beautiful jungles. I hopped on the bus with a couple people I met in the hostel in Kuala Lumpur and arrived by night time. We decided to stay at Father's guest house, which we heard great things about. It's an old WWII military base converted into a hotel. Our room is in one of the bunkers, which I thought was super original. The bathrooms aren't quite what we are used to, but they don't bother me. There is a toilet and a bucket to the side (no toilet paper) You figure out how this works ;)

During the next couple of days, we did a tour and a hike. The tour took us to a few fantastic places: tea plantation and tea factory, butterfly garden, a buddhist temple and a rose garden. Here is what tea looks like when it's not in our mugs.

The process of tea making is quite interesting but I think I'll save that for another entry since I'm totally exhausted after the 12km hike. Leah, I didn't forget when you said I should pay attention to the smells. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing the tea factory smelled!
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