Malaysia Gallery ~ The Cameron Highlands
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Hang Tough - It's the Law!
April 1, 2002

Malaysia is the first country on our trip that has a law requiring helmets (which, incidently, Julie favors and I oppose. Just another of those things you find out only after you're married!). We rented a motorbike to tour the highlands around the town of Tanah Rata. At around 4500ft in elevation the Cameron highlands (named for the government surveyor who first mapped the area) are a cool relief from the heat of the rest of the penninsula. No surprise then that the area became popular with the British residents of Malaya who have left behind a distinctive, countified English character. A character that is slowly being drowned in the concrete of timeshare and hotel developments.


Sungei Palas Tea Estate
April 1, 2002

The cool climate of the Cameron highlands is not only favorable to thick blooded westerners but perfectly suited to growing tea. Many of the local plantations were founded in the 1920's by the British and now cover hundreds of hectares of what was once virgin jungle. Sungei Palas plantation, high on the steep hills above the town of Brinchang, was peaceful on the Monday we visited as tea pickers have Sundays off - leaving the factories quiet and the narrow roads virtually deserted.


Tea Plants
April 1, 2002

The tea plants in the Cameron highlands, planted in these orderly, well groomed rows, are mainly of the Darjeeling variety and were originally brought from the plantations of India. Some of these venerable specimens still flourish today, distinguishable by their darker leaves and thick, moss covered trunks.



Tea Pickers
April 1, 2002

Like the plants, many of the tea pickers were imported from India and have been here, working and living on the plantations for generations since. The pickers are paid based on the weight of tea leaves they collect and while these men are using shears to cut the tender new leaves, hand held mechanized pluckers are just as common today.


High Tea in the Highlands
March 31, 2002

The tea was poor, the scones tiny and the serving of Devonshire cream stingy. I suppose that only added to the authenticity of high tea in this hotel's 'English Country Garden.'



Roses - three dozen for a Dollar
April 2, 2002

Another of the crops that grow well at this higher elevation, along with various fruits and vegetables.




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