Towards The Highlands

© 2011 Tiago Marques

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Journal, 13-14 December 2011. Pulau Pangkor to Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

SO LONG, PANGKOR.

Funny how I still get butterflies in my stomach everytime I pack up and get ready to move on to a new place.

Pepe is leaving as well, so we share a taxi to the ferry. Talking about our travel plans, I tell him I was initially going to visit the Middle East but decided not to because “those guys keep blowing each other up”.

With a serious look, Pepe tells me his family is originally from Palestine and his parents migrated to Chile a long time ago. (He did not find my remark funny… At least now I know why he reminds me of a character from the TV series “Lost”.)

Once the ferry arrives in Lumut, he catches the bus to Kuala Lumpur and I make my way to Ipoh, towards the Cameron Highlands.

I wonder if I’ll get a bus today to the Highlands? Will I find accommodation there, or should I spend the night in Ipoh?… With the school holidays here in Malaysia it’s proving harder than I thought to find free beds – in Pangkor I literally got the last vacant bed on that side of the island.

I do my meditation and listen to some talks on my iPod to relax.

FROM IPOH TO THE HIGHLANDS.

Arrive to iPoh around 4pm, the next bus to the Highlands is at 6pm. I enjoy a bowl of fried rice, egg and soup for RM4 – less than a pound. Gotta love that exchange rate.

Text the parents wishing them a nice week, and Paulo to wish him a happy birthday.

6pm, crowded bus. 7.30pm, still one hour to go but the air is already cooling down tremendously.

I start a chat with the Indian girl sitting next to me. Her name is Kana, always lived in Malaysia, never been to India. Has five brothers and sisters, works as a nurse, her father is a taxi driver and her mom is a farmer. Really friendly girl – even called her sister and asked her to check for hostels around the area with free beds without me asking her for it.

On arrival I notice a van from Father’s Guesthouse which gives me and this other fellow a ride to the hostel – they must’ve confused me with another traveller, but hey I’m not complaining, just got a free ride. I say farewell to Kana.

FATHER’S GUESTHOUSE.

Awesome – I got the last free bed in the guesthouse. One of these days…

Drop my backpack in the dorm, make myself a cup of tea and head out to the lounge. Start a conversation with a couple, Matt from England and Violeta from Poland, on their honeymoon through Southeast Asia. Funny coincidence, they actually live in London near Battersea.

Another couple joins the conversation – Sandra, a Portuguese and Laurent, her Belgian boyfriend. Both living in Brussels, they’re in the middle of a six-month trip around the world. We decide to meet the next day to do some trekking together (cool, company).

Shower. Shave. Shleep. Tomorrow I’m going to need plenty of energy…

GRATITUDE.

• Kana, for her spontaneous generosity.
• The last free bed at the guesthouse!
• Being healthy – my legs are going to be put to the test on the trekking tomorrow…

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