After the mammoth trek of yesterday we all decided it was time to take it easy.So , it was time for tea and scones.With much advice being given(all of it contradictory)we headed out and within no time we found our gem , a taxi driver who would take us all around for the day,at a fair price-excellent.No chance of getting lost.
Destination- The Seung Lee Boh Tea Plantation, the most famous plantation in Malaysia. After a hair raising drive to the site you could understand why.Once into the valley the road curled this way and that, with our taxi driver cursing in Malay and Chinese at anyone who got in the way(the road was only wide enough for on car in places), but the views of the tea bushes stretched into the distance.This was a stunning sight.Hundreds of acres of tea bushes all the way up the mountains(probably only hills).The road lead us to Frank Gehry-looking building on top of a hill that housed the factory and the tourist centre.
This is where our taxi driver came into his own-he took us on our own private tour of the tea factory, explaining the whole journey from bush to bag.Little did we know he used to do this for a living. Informing us of how the tea was separated, dried, graded and sent out.The tea only being used for the Malaysian market,and the top grade didn't even make it to the supermarkets.
Next stop the cafe for tasting.This overlooked the valley, a lovely vista to look over whilst sipping our grade A tea.This was followed by a return trip back up the valley road where our driver stopped at a viewing point where he took us into the plantation and explained how the tea was picked by machine and ,in the old days, by hand.This made me realise it was backbreaking work, for the princely sum 8 ringgits per kilo.This labour force being brought in from Ceylon, Nepal and Bangladesh.These were the same people we saw working in the vegetable fields the previous day.We think our jobs are hard , stressful and long - we have no idea!!!
Onwards to the Strawberry farm, one of 14 in the Highlands.What we didn't realise is that everything grows all year round due to this climate.So,strawberries , toms,salad leaves etc. are raised continuously.The place was Strawberry heaven, all undercover, and with our taxi driver/guide he took us into the growing area.The smell was amazing - surrounded by the scent of fresh strawberries.
Touristy it may have been but by good it only meant one thing -time for the taste test.Straight to the cafe and choose from the vast menu of everything you can do with a strawberry;
" " ice cream
" " waffles
" " salad
we stuck with simple Tea ,Scones , Cream and Strawberry jam - YUM YUM
They tasted as good as they looked- GORGEOUS
Back to the hostel to sleep it off, after thanking our guide.
What a way to end our time in the Cameron Highlands .