Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting to Cameron Highlands - Part 2

Cameron Highlands is about 1 and a half to 2 hours drive from Ipoh - without traffic jam.  If you go during the school holidays via the new Simpang Pulai Highway that is less winding,  expect a jam that could start before you reach Kea and Brinchang.

The bus ride up to the mountains was smooth and comfortable, though I picked the front seats in case of nausea.  SW slept soon after the bus moved off while CH enjoyed her chuppa-chup bought from Medan Gopeng Bus Terminal.  

Head support packed in for the coach ride.

Here are some views from the window:

Not long after we got on the Unitity coach 8811 from Medan Gopeng Bus Terminal, the bus driver asked around for "Mr. Tan".  There were only about 13 of us taking the 40 seater (about) and no one acknowledged.

I raised my hand and the bus driver told me someone was looking for me.  "Who is it?"  I was surprised and curious.  He smiled,"Maybe it's the president."

"Is that SY Tan?" The man on the line asked.  "Yes", I replied. "3 adults and 2 children?" he continued excitedly.  "Nobody told us you have left Ipoh! I was so worried!"  

Aha!  "Are you Mr. Chai?" I never thought I would hear from him again after mt last email to him a week ago.

"Yes, yes!  I am Mr. Chai!  The weather at Cameron is not very good today.  Are you still interested in the Agro Tour?"

It was indeed raining.  But we were still an hour away from Cameron Highlands, and I was positive everything would turn out fine when we get there.  I considered for a moment before Mr. Chai continued,

"Which hotel are you staying at?"

"Century Pines", I replied.

"Ok, then you get off at Tanah Rata, which is the last station, and I will meet you there," said Mr. Chai.

"Was that Mr. Chai?" I asked the Indian driver as I handed him back his mobile.  "Yes, that's my boss." he replied.

Cool. Everything was as planned.   Our luck did not end there.  We passed by Equatorial Hotel up in the mountain (which was how I knew we reached Kea), then the driver stopped at a Shell station at Brinchang.  I thought some fellow tourist was going to alight there, but a middle-aged Chinese man with glasses came on board, looking for "Mr. Tan".

"I am Mr. Chai.  There is a big jam here, and you are just in time to join our tour.  But we must quickly get to Tanah Rata to check you into the hotel first.  You need to get off here where you take our van.  It would be faster!"

Before we hopped on to a new white mini-van also numbered 8811, HM couldn't help giving feedback about our ride to Mr. Chai, "There were screeching sounds coming from the brakes..."

"Yes! The bus is new.  The screeching sound will wear out after some time!" Mr. Chai was in an operations frenzy rushing on tight schedules, but he was courteous and jolly.  I wished I had more time to tell him what happened at the Bus Terminal.

Off we went on the mini-van.  Everyone were excited and relieved.  "You guys brought us luck!  See, the rain has stopped!" A high-spirited, young Indian driver yelled at us, beaming through the rear mirror.

Related articles:

Getting to Cameron Highlands - Part 1

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