on the road / first day in cameron
To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. -- The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
we left home at 6am and it took almost 5 hours for us to finally reach the mountains. we took the long way up, the road less traveled. an hour before arriving, Ken drove in mist and low clouds and for once, the car's air-conditioning was turned off. the cool mountain air was a sign we were finally far up & away from the city, i couldn't remember the last time a road trip felt this exciting. it felt like being in a different country, driving past noisy little pick-up trucks and farms on both sides of the road satisfied my curiosity. the last time i made it to the highlands was when i was still in college, the time i fell asleep in a car full of my friend's friends chatting in Cantonese along the way - though eventually everyone fell asleep except the one driving. i remember the misty, winding roads, but this time it felt different - it's always effortless to travel with Ken, being present and travelling as a whole.
^ a section of growing mushrooms in a little strawberry farm we found along the way.
we arrived at the hotel earlier than the supposed check-in time and our room wasn't ready. we had an hour to kill so we walked around the huge compound. there were chalets for families, fountains and sitting areas in between every blocks. further down the road, we found a farmers market selling fresh produce and another strawberry farm. renting a chalet or a little villa would be the perfect choice if we were travelling in a larger group - having a kitchen is perfect to whip up a steamboat dinner every night, with fresh and ridiculously cheap vegetables within reach.
^ the average temperature around here is below 18 degrees, such a delight to compare to the constant 30+ degrees in other parts of the country. i had the urge to pack my bags and move permanently to Cameron for this very reason. a ceiling fan is available with every accommodation but there was no reason to even turn it on in the afternoons, no matter how sunny it gets.
we checked in, left our luggage in the room, and set out to explore. we walked to the strawberry farm on a little hill, just across the road. it looked like a new farm and there was nothing much to see except growing little strawberries. we got hungry and Ken drove down to the little Brinchang town, just minutes away. we bought 2 bottles of wine and some snacks from a local sundry shop.
^ we found a charcoal steamboat restaurant, and sat to enjoy the evening away. everything was fresh, and tasted so good. we were served with lots of mushrooms, pork slices, seafood and vegetables. the menu was simple, but it was the best steamboat we've had in a long time. even more perfect when it started raining.
slow living in the highlands felt surreal, people are polite and the food is good. the fresh air, fresh greens, beautiful farms. we took tons of photos on this trip and i've still got more to share in the upcoming weeks. i fear i sound like a broken record but looking back, i wouldn't mind going up again, in a heartbeat. maybe this time, we'll really pack all our bags.