1800 meters above sea level, the Cameron Highlands provide a nice cool environment in contrast to the hot humid air of the coast and cities. I’ve arrived here with four English girls I met in KL. The main activities here are jungle hiking, and touring the various tea plantations and farms of the region. The area is absolutely specatcular…nothing but rolling hills covered with green tea leaves, flower farms and rain-forests. It’s cloudy unfortunately, but I’m told that this helps keep the temperatures down.

The first day I toured a tea plantation and butterfly zoo with a group from our guest house. It was my first experience with tea in any form other than a Lipton box. The butterfly zoo was amazing as well…tons of species flying around you that normally you’d only see mounted on a tray in a museum.

The last night that I was there I went down to the local town for the Thaipusam festival. This is a Hindu festival celebrating the life of the deity, Lord Subramanian. If I’d stayed in KL, I could have seen the most impressive example of devotion, with over a million people descending on a local cave, and piercing their cheeks and bodies as a sign of devotion. Unfortunately due to the Larium lethargy, I just wasn’t feeling up to it. Instead, several of us saw a smaller version with colorful floats, offerings of milk and honey, and for some reason, lots of smashing of coconuts. It was a lot of fun, and we were all invited to participate in the ceremony. It was absolutely the highlight of Malaysia!

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