Monday, December 10, 2007
Cameron Highlands, Pahang
The night coach ride was uneventful.
The long, dark ride was just uninteresting once we passed the Malaysian immigration, as we whooshed past acres and acres of oil-palm plantations. Soon enough the whole coach became totally silent.
I dozed off unrealized. The plush seats were exactly the perfect companion to while the journey.
Very good seats, 10 times better than on an airplane... yes, the coach seemed to move so fast, the wheels might have barely touched the tarmac... we were practically flying!
The coach made 1 pit-stop for half an hour, just before Air Hitam, I believe.
That was not before we were rudely awakened by the biggest bump of all that flung everybody up in mid-air and gave everyone the feeling of weightlessness for a split second.
"I thought we were in Genting for a second there." I joked to my son as he regained his composure. He gave a weak smile, still sleepy as it was way past midnight. We would be going to Genting Highlands' theme park the next night after Cameron.
Everyone was already awakened and timely so too, seemed ready for the restroom. The bumpy ride may have something to do with it.
The pit-stop was a welcomed sight. The restroom however, was not!
All that long-lost memory of the terrifying restrooms of Malaysia that haunted me way back from my early teen years came back to me vividly with its overwhelming stink.
The wet floors , the dim lights and the oh so crusted toilet hole greeted me when I entered the toilet. There was not a flush handle, one needed to wash it down with a pail of water!
I could have sworn time stood still there, if not for the long tiled washing basin and the long mirror across the length of the basin.
The female restroom was not spared either, Wifey came out disgusted. "Just order for me a hot Milo, please," she looked at me, wiping her hands dry "I don't think I want to eat anything."
I told myself not to be such a woose! It was like going back to nature... to the basics... to my teenage years when I went to Segamat with a group of friends to climb Mount Ophir... a long time ago.
When in Rome, do what the Romans do!
Yeah! Just find a Roman hotel and I would use its restroom, just fine!
I was wide awake for the rest of the journey to Kuala Lumpur, where we departed from the coach after a 5-hour ride and changed to a 10-seater tour-van.
The journey continued for another 3 hours up the winding highland roads. At one point, the driver asked if anyone was car-sick. It was thrilling for me though.
Since it was dark, the journey was very quiet except the sound of the van humming as it climbed the slithering road.
From time to time, I could feel the pressure in my ear building up. Popping sound in my ear as I swallowed, telling me that the altitude was greater; and even greater was my excitement to reach our destination.
It got cooler and cooler, and the headlights from the van showed foggy morning that promised a very cold weather out.
"Can you lower the air-con, please... my legs feel so cold?" The auntie seated behind me asked the driver. The family of 5 was going to Cameron Highlands too, but was staying at a different hotel.
Morning Has Broken...
We reached Strawberry Park Hotel about 6:00am, an hour earlier than expected. The place was pitch-dark except for the blurred lights coming from the Reception Area enveloped by a thin dawn mist. Cool! All sense of the word.
We checked in, but had to wait at the lounge area until our room was ready at about 9:00am.
The receptionist suggested that we take our complimentary breakfast that same morning since we were staying for only one night and had to leave the hotel at 7:30am the following morning.
The buffet breakfast at Jim Thomson Terrace started at 6:30am till 10:30am and was heavenly, indeed. The food spread was plenty and varied. Hot coffee never tasted so good in my stomach in that cold morning and after a long journey.
Nasi Lemak, Malaysian's famous breakfast was nice. Wifey can vouch for that too.
As the dawn broke, the first light hit the mountains behind the hotel to greet everyone with a breathtaking view of the valley below. Stunning!
The morning promised us a wonderful day ahead!