After another fine display of my attention span, I found myself having to commit to a trip up to Cameron Highlands to visit my brother with my friends, something I vaguely remember agreeing to month ago thinking it would be another empty promises we so often say and forget. So at 4am in the morning, I found myself hurriedly unpacked with KC and John waiting downstairs, all half asleep and wondering why they committed themselves to such trip.
And as probably a show of spirit and commitment to this excitable trip, once in the car I discovered there were 6 cans of beer with the promise of more to come. By the time we started our journey, we were already looking for a 7-11 to restock the cans. They sell mini Transformers there for RM19.90, and John got the only remaining Soundwave and left me staring at the inept sorry looking Optimus which I chose not to buy >:( Finally, I'm becoming a smart consumer, I would later on chose to waste that Rm19.90 on far more much much useless thing, as you'll come to see.
By the time we reach Ringlet, where my brother was currently based. And I guess you could say this was turning out into a typical "few friends discovered a bond over the course of travel" movie as the moment we stepped out of the car, we instantly remembered why we don't choose to come here that often, we were half frozen to death. It's not helped by the fact that as guys, we have been hardwired into thinking we can beat the cold, shown here by KC's insistence of wearing a t-shirt, short khakis and slippers, me being a college student thus perhaps more evolved, chose a jersey, jeans and slippers and John being the only one who have graduated and holding a real job, suggested a hint of higher evolution at work by wearing long sleeve shirt, jeans and pair of shoes. But ultimately, the fact that all of us forgot to either bring or use the jacket we have is probably a good indicator that evolution still have a long way to go.
After a short catch-up consisting of stories on how he survived detention, he took us to what he said "a popular and decent" motel, which I think is probably due to its great hospitality. The people there not only ignored any identification check, but they also let us choose the room that we wanted, which was hard considering all of it was empty and looked exactly the same. We finally choose room number 115, because it "looked bigger", though it's pretty much the same to me. For a temporary moment I thought it was nice to have a decent apartment for once, before the big guy above reminded me about the pipe water shower and the colony of flies that seemed to be happy to have us living under their roofs. My brother did get the hospitality part down to a pat, as I do not see anything else going for them in the race to attract customers.
I chose to get some rest while they choose to bury their faces in more beer, probably a decent idea considering the options available there. I woke up nicely in time for dinner, which we choose a steamboat place, logically thinking which other time do you eat steamboat? (It turns out for Chinese people, it's whenever you want to..) When the portions came we were honestly, shocked. Perhaps originating from Klang, or perhaps just the Chinese part in us got out, we found each of our portion consisting of one strand of veggie, one egg, small chunk of what appears to be meat and one spoonful of noodles, I wondered if we stumbled into Tyra Banks' dream restaurant. And perhaps originating from Klang, or perhaps just the Chinese part in us got out, John demanded to see the manager to explain about this atrocity. He, being the mastermind of this and having perhaps served one too many similar complaints, masterfully explained this was what we were getting and showed us some other meals we could order to compliment what I think in his view, the starter. We refused, payed around RM20 each and be on our way, with my mind lingering at the thought that it would have bought me a bloody Soundwave toy. You could have argued its expected in a tourist destination and we did bought upon it ourselves, but I would have raised my brows and countered "What!" before whimpering on with an agreement.
As we left the restaurant far earlier than expected (both of my friends didn't want to know the price of beer there..), we walked up to the night market, apparently a big attraction on weekends. Here is a place where if well played, you can guilt your girlfriend into winning a future "out of jail" card. To those who have ever bought roses for their girlfriends, I would be well guessed to say you'd have paid around RM80-100 for a dozen of roses, perhaps more during special dates. The first stall we walked pass however, shoved what I think was 200 million stalks at a price of..... RM10. Yes. I've never understood the charm of flowers, not the giddiness of getting it, but making your boyfriend paying ten times for something that symbolizes beauty only last couple of days (unless you put them in water) seems utterly pointless when we can tell that to you (more discreetly if we do not have a death wish) for less than one tenth of the price. So the next time I try to buy some silly thing (probably another electronic gadget) for ten times the price, you do not get to question the wisdom of such purchase, because the last time I check, these things does not die out in a couple of days (ironically it would.. if placed in water).
The next day, as we prepare to descent in the afternoon, saw us take on the role of a fit grandmother as we rose at 8am to go to the morning market and shopped. In the 10 minutes of arrival, we were somehow transformed into an expert in pinching fruits, feeling veggies and nonsensical chat with the sellers on observations of everyday life. Adhering to guys rule no. 54 of Dude's Guide to Shopping: "run it, grab it from nearest stall and do not turn back", we finished it in 2 hours flat and had time to stop by the nearest mamak for our breakfast, before calling my brother to see him for a short while before leaving back to Klang again.
This "short while" turns out to be a 1 hour stop, as he took us around the sleazy end of Cameron Highlands that is probably the highlight of the our trip. Yes, while you might have had the grand tour of the "scenic" hills with tea plantations, the rows and rows of strawberry in a farm or saw the grandeur of the roses in their garden but I can bet you have never seen this. In fact I wouldn't know any reason for you to want to be there, as just a road away, it seemed we ended up in a different world. Dusts flying all around, shanty joints knocked on by plank of woods, people sitting outside as if they are free, the only thing missing was horses or I would have swore we were in a western cowboy town. The only up point was that we were there for all but 30 mins and after they confirmed we weren't the rebel red indians, we were free to go on our way and I think that experienced shocked us slightly, as there was no sadness upon leaving Cameron Highlands.
All in all, it was a decent way to have wasted a couple of days, but for now, please forgive me as I go on and tell people that I wouldn't give up a city life for one on the countryside such as Cameron's, it's far far too hectic for me, I'm afraid.