Saturday, June 30, 2007

Biggest, tallest, longest, widest

We have been in Malaysia for about 10 days now and have decided that it is a fantastically friendly country that seems to have a slightly unhealthy obsession with things being the biggest, tallest, longest, widest, whatever in the world! To get you started on the theme, at the airport you are encouraged to marvel at the amazing site of the worlds widest unsupported steel aircraft hanger, wow, what a sight! We have also seen the worlds largest walk-in, fully covered bird park (there seem to be a lot of caveats to there record claims!) and the worlds tallest twin structured building, the Petronas towers, but that was actually pretty impressive!

We have only been here ten days but we have already met more locals and spent more time chatting with them than in all our time in Thailand. There is a really interesting mix of cultures with Malays, Indians and Chinese people making up the majority. We have had good long chats with people from each ethnic group and it has been really interesting to hear there opinions on Malaysia as a country and each other. We both now know more about Malaysian history, religion and politics than we ever did about our home countries!

In the Cameron Highlands we went for a walk in the jungle and up to a tea plantation, it was a lovely slightly demanding walk, with a few landslides and fallen trees making it that bit harder. We saw a baby snake on the way up the hills to the highlands too, it seems to be becoming a habit! After a quick tour of the tea plantation and a few lovely cups of tea we thought we would try and hitch down the hill the 5 kms to the town to get the bus home. We were picked up immediately by Kalid and May an Army Major and his wife who took a liking to us and rather than dropping us at the town to get the bus, took us all the way to the hotel, then offered to take us on a tour of the area, so we did! It was great, we were taken to all the major sites and he explained loads of stuff to us and made us try durian, "the king of fruits" apparently, it's not it's gross it tastes like rotten cabbage and onions mixed with drains! The best bit is that it makes you burp like a drain for hours afterwards, what a treat! But they were a really lovely couple and we ended up spending the whole afternoon with them, and have an invite to visit them in Kular Lumpur next time we are there!

Another great bloke we met was an Indian guy whose name means arrow or knowledge, but i can't remember how to spell it. He owns a shop on the high street in the town we stayed in in the highlands and every evening we would go to his shop and talk to him whilst we ate our ice creams. One day we took a bus up to a town with another tea plantation as as we started the 3KM walk up the hill he pulled up behind us in his car, it turned out he had a farm near the tea plantation so offered us a lift, ace! He decided once we got there that he wouldn't both going to his farm yet and so he gave us a guided tour of the tea factory ( he is a guide there in peak season) we learnt loads. He decided it would be more fun to spend the afternoon with us so we had tea overlooking the plantation, visited his farm, went to a Buddhist temple and various other sites in the area. All through the afternoon he taught us about local and national politics, race relations within Malaysia, religion, particularly Hindu and Buddhist, the Malaysian education system and all about his family. When we left he gave Jenni a goodbye present, he was really sweet! There have been loads of other lovely people too, too many to mention!

We've got to go as someone wants to get on the computer, but we'll write again from Kota Bharu where we're going tommorow.

Lots of love
Dan and Jenni


Nick & Ce said...

I'd love to try the durian - king of fruits, sounds yummy! Brilliant that you've perfected the way to charm local people into showing you around and telling you really interesting stuff.

Some wonderful new photos in your set; some seem to be begging for witty captions! I particularly like the close-up of a green sandwich with the ice cream, ice and nuts!

I've just discovered the Flickr "subscribe to feeds" feature, so I'll see if that works to keep me fully up to date with your pics.

John and Barbara Heslop said...

Just to give you a sense of how envious we are of your experiences, here is an item from yesterday's edition of our local newspaper, The Northern Echo, to remind you of home:

"FIRST there was a heatwave, then widespread floods –now there are hail storms in July. Thunderstorms swept across England yesterday, bringing torrential downpours. Some areas saw nearly 7mm of rain fall in an hour. But for 23-year-old Sarah Schnell, this covering of hail in Clapham, London, was an indicator that the summer’s weather has taken another bizarre twist"

Sorry there was a photo, but I can't paste it into the blog. It's at url 37/hail250.583752.full.jpg

Kati said...

Moikka Jenni ja Dan! Duriania on myos kuvailtu sanoin "parasta jaateloa mita olet ikina syonyt mutta kuvottavimman hajuisessa vessassa mita osaat kuvitella". Itse en koskaan osannut nauttia kyseisesta hedelmasta. Kun menette Singaporeen, huomaatte etta duriania ei saa ottaa metroon tms mukaan.

Paljon terveisia suomalaisesta peruskesasta!