|Ipoh, gateway to the Cameron Highlands, or in our case exit from.
The city of Ipod does not have an international reputation like Penang or Malacca but it has an interesting part as the largest tin mines in the world set up in the late 1800s by the Chinese Hakka community.
Rather like thr expatriate British, the miners set up their own private members club, now a museum which reveals the history of their city covering the four evils: gambling, opium, prostitution and triads as well as the hardship involved in the mining process: backbreaking work, pitiful recompense, disease and a short life span for the workers and great riches for the bosses. Most supported up to 4 or even five wives kept out of town and 2 or 3 concubines across the road now called Concubine Lane. Some of these ladies were Japanese immigrants who eventually did quite well for themselves. However, with a market crash and declining deposits, the business folded in the 1970s leading the city into today's decline.
Just out of town embedded into dramatic limestone hills that surround the city is the Kek Lok Tong cave containing a huge Buddha statue and various cavewall paintings which attracts a regular crowd here where more than half the population in ethnic Chinese.
One of the interesting local specialities is known as white coffee which isroasted with palm oil margarine for sweetness to which condensed milk is added. Not everybody's cup of chai but better than cover coffee defecated by Asian cats.
Naturally after a busy day one looks forward to a bit of pampering, locally provided by a knife massage therapist. Not for the faint hearted, especially since a sign by the stall indicates they have a vacancy (See photo) for a knife apprentice - no skill required, learn on the job???