One should always abide firmly to the laws of the land (says the ESTJ in me). On the road, stay explicitly within your lane. Adhere strictly to speed limits, and under no circumstance should one race pass a gridlock of snail-paced cars in the opposite lane, accelerator fully engaged… unless you are chasing after scones.

The Lord’s Cafe

Like, say, the glowing figures on the Waze app indicate an ETA of 1755, and the rumoured closing time of The Lord’s Cafe at Tanah Rata is 1800 (different sources state different timings)- desperate times call for desperate measures; although we can neither confirm nor deny any assumption you may have chalk up.

Maybe it was the cool breeze wafting through the open windows, perhaps the adrenaline of the drive, or the crushing hunger, but the cream (RM2.80) and strawberry (RM3) scones were scrumptious. The slightly lengthy wait wasn’t pleasant, but the workers were friendly (entertained my request for extra butter). The negative Facebook reviews seem unwarranted.

Cream scones, strawberry scones, and chocolate cakes.

On its own, the scones were ordinary, but when paired with cream, strawberry jam and butter? Heaven-licious. The chocolate cake is the foolproof consolidation and application of the cocoa plant- moist and generously chocolate. I thank God for friends with small stomachs, because save a couple of tiny bites, the cake was all mine *evil laugh*.

Cream+strawberry jam+butter+scone=perfection

Strawberry milkshake.

Chasing Waterfalls At Parit Falls

We wanna visit a waterfall! Feel the spray on our faces, hear the splashing aqua, smell the inodorous scent of Adam’s ale. So we hustle to Parit Falls and even manage a couple of shots at the wooden sign board before the entrance.

And then we advance towards the entrance gate like a couple of school girls for the canteen during recess period…

… only to find it securely shut.

A rectangular board denotes: closing time- 6pm. I glance at my Fenix watch: 705pm.

The entrance to the waterfall is closed.

A wave of disappointment billows over.

Disclaimer: Everything that happens next is hypothetical.

We survey the guard house, locked shut and starved of human life. A beat up van sit idly beyond the gate, equally desolate. The gate is only slightly higher than my height. Its design is plain with regularly spaced grills on both planes- conducive for climbing. Excluding the unsuspecting cars cruising by a few hundred meters away, our surroundings are uninhabited.

The gate looks closed but not locked. I wrap my hands around a grill and yank. No joy. I reposition my legs wider apart, and tighten my grip around the gate. With one mighty burst of strength, I engage every pull muscle (predominantly biceps) and tugged.

A slight creak escapes the metal structure. I smile at the encouragement, then draw another deep breath and pull. The heavy gate slides grudgingly about a feet and a half. I grin at my handiwork.

But good girls don’t trespass.

So of course we don’t scurry through the ajar gate. We don’t scamper downhill, glancing guiltily over our shoulders, giggling giddily.

We don’t have this conversation either:

Unknown character 1: “What about the gate?”

Unknown character 2: “Just leave it open. If anybody ask, we saw the gate open and decided to explore, which is technically correct.”

In a parallel universe, where we ventured in, this scene would meet our eyes (except darker, since it would’ve been after sunset):

Photo credit: www.ujieothman.blogspot.com

Followed by this bridge (darker too), not that I know, having never been there before:

Photo credit: www.mrkumair.blogspot.com

On Earth 2, we trek the short distance along the slightly muddy trail. This journey us to the rest area circled in red in the photo below.

Photo credit: www.cameronhighland.net

That’s us, at an undisclosed location.

Also, while vacating the crime scene (if one be so bold as to trespass- not us, certainly), and motorbike noises happen (hypothetical), here’s your best option: pretend to be ghosts (not a real scenario given none of these actually happened).

And run.

“If we get lost, just count 24 trees and we’re out,” says Gloria. Not that getting lost was a concern, since we were not there.

JOurney To The Mossy Forest

The next morning, we load our bags and hop into Gloria’s trusty Alza. The drive from our Airbnb residence in Ringlet to Brinchang where the Mossy Forest is took 45 minutes.

In an ideal universe, we’ll drive all the way up to the forest entrance, where we park literally steps from the green paradise.

But life isn’t perfect, rather, there’s an occasional avalanche of lemons raining down like burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah. The road is brimming with  potholes, our tyres scream with protest with each indented experience. This is a job for 4 wheel drives only. A passing lorry driver lends advice. “Parking sini,” he says. “Jangan bawa kereta naik. Nanti rosak.” (Park here. Don’t drive up or risk damaging the car)

We concur.

And discovered his lie.

The potholes last a short distance only, easily managed with slow driving. Beyond that short stretch lay roads as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

But it was too late, for we have already park our vehicle on a patch of balding land and began our uphill climb for the mossy forest.

When life showers you with lemons, make lemonade with a shot of vodka.

So we take weird detours into vegetable patches, pose with suspicious looking houses, and chat up hardworking farmers (who probably wish we’ll just get lost, but is too nice to verbalise so).

What should we do with these insanely steep slopes? I know! Let’s plant tea leaves!

So this is where my ready washed and packed salad was born.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? (For disturbing story behind this song, click here)

City kids never see cabbage outside their plates before.

Oh, let’s check out that secluded and suspicious looking house situated in the middle of nowhere.

Disclaimer: The following events happened in a dream and not in real life. Ahem.

What does one do if physiological needs strike in the form of a bladder emergency? Well, pick a bush, of course; and employ a lookout. So that’s what I do. I choose a luxuriant plant, yank down my track bottom and panties in one swift motion, and unleash a shower of liquid gold.

Here I am, fertilising plants, minding my own business, when a distant sound propagate into my ears. Its volume is increasing.

I freeze.

My brain waves interpret the approaching thrum as a nearing motorbike.

I unfreeze. Basic instincts kick in. Do I fight or flight?

Neither. I hold my pee and jerk my pants up, panties still dangling below my butt cheeks.

Just as the elastic band contact my waist, a motorbike rolls into sight. An ang mo couple rides past with flushed cheeks and cheerful beams. I even reciprocate a smile, short of a hearty “welcome to Malaysia!”

Cartoon credit: www.freepik.com

As soon as they disappear from sight, I turned to my supposing lookout and shoot them a “do your job” look. Then I resume my plant-watering duties without further interruption.

Finally, We Arrive At The Mossy Forest

After a staggering 1 hour and 10 mins, we finally arrived at the Mossy Forest.

First item on the agenda is paramount- a wefie.

From left: Annora, Zel, yours truly, Yin and Gloria at the Tserof Yssom!

The entrance

Then, we step into the mossy utopia. Wooden planks pave our trail, flanked by a disarray of contorted oak trees with gnarled branches and messy leaves. The flora is enwrapped by a layer of mist. Moss drape the trees with impressive fervour, like string lights adorning a Christmas tree. The picture before us is not unlike the Black Forest from Hansel and Gretel. Minus the bread crumbs.

The mossy forest

I see Perak, I see Pahang.

Hansel and Gretel in the black forest. Picture credit: www.storymuncher.com

The plan was to hike Gunung Brinchang. And find Jim Thompson. We stroll towards the trail’s starting point, located within the Mossy Forest…

… where we’re stopped by a decent looking guard with I-just-work-here written across his face.

Now, it would be fitting to share that we contacted the relevant authorities about permit requirements. Some misunderstanding obviously occurred, since we were led to understand that one isn’t needed.

So here we are, posed for entry, and our friendly neighbourhood guard just stands there like Gandalf– “You shall not pass!”

Meme credit: www.legomessageboards.com

No permit, no entry, he says.

How do we apply for one? We ask. Can we pay and enter now?

“To obtain a permit,” he replies, “one must visit the dark forest on the 3rd moon after winter’s end, clothed in a robe of a thousand threads. Carry in your right hand a vial of virgin’s blood, mix with 2 drops of unicorn sperm and a pinch of fairy dust.”

No, not really. This is how you apply. The application must be completed beforehand. It may be done online, but payment has to be via post or stork delivery system.

Picture credit: www.forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com

I asked the guard if he’ll leave for lunch or a drink soon. Or toilet, or to feed his cat. He wasn’t. (Not that we would trespass in his absence. Brr. Because, good girls don’t trespass. Also, google “Cameron Highlands”, “hiker” and “missing”)

Remember the lemons and lemonade? Screw that, I’m having a beer to drown the disappointment.

No, I’m serious. We lugged beer cans uphill to sip amongst the sea of moss-laden vegetation.

And it was good.

Other Tourist-y Activities: Boh Tea Plantation, Cactus Farm, Strawberries and Others

It’s Cameron Highlands, so obviously one must indulge every tourist-y activity.

We visit the Boh Tea Plantation. Greeting us is a terrain full of tea leaves, dotted by moving dots (people).

Photo credit: www.prunenurture.com

If you care about origin stories, this is for you.

We buy tea, take pictures of greenery, and fawn over this giant tea pot:

But the fun was in the tea factory tour.

The tour present to us various stages of ex-boyfriend tea leaves processing: withering, rolling, fermentation, drying, sorting, tea tasting and storage.

Check out relevant boards below for the 2nd and 4th stage (rolling and drying):

Don’t look at me. All I did was take pictures of the board. It does make complete sense.

And then we grace the cactus farm to purchase a security system. Fun fact, cactus make excellent security systems.

Gloria holding her brand new security system.

Just kidding, they are actually for terrariums. Speaking of terrariums, here’s a bundle of material she compiled en-route from the Mossy Forest:

Last but not least, here’s a cute picture of a strawberry pussy cat:

Meow!