last night i had the delight to try out the famous Chinese “steamboat”, a specialty around here. basically it’s the typical, “here’s a pot of soup, cook your own food!” type deal. you see, fellow Canadians, Chinese fondue around here is nothing like what it is back home. actually, i think Chinese fondue is as Chinese as pâté chinois. anyhow, i sat down by myself at the busy Chinese restaurant on the main road here and i was invited to join a table of Americans, German and Swiss for some steamboat. we had way too much food, it turned out, just like at every other meals in this country. i think we might have looked like we were starving. we had: two types of noodles, eggs, fish, calamari, shark fin (yes, and i didn’t have any. shame on them for killing sharks.), beef, chicken, numerous types of fish balls and fish raviolis, meat balls and 4 different types of greens (lettuce types, not vegetable types). it was all pretty good but i still like our Canadian version better!
and today i went for my solo hike #2. i chose jungle trail 9A, which starts in the village and goes past vegetable farms and ends on the road that leads to the Boh tea plantation (past more vegetable farms). the hike was a good one, although in the end there wasn’t much of a trail left. i could hear monkeys but i couldn’t see them, which i blame the two screaming families behind me for. the hike was again pretty uneventful for wildlife spotting but i did find this incredible species of begonias with leaves that shimmered bright blue to bright green, like those fancy paint jobs some people put on their cars.
after the hike i was set on going to the tea plantation for great pictures and great tea. after all, 60% of the tea consumed in Malaysia come from that producer. my guidebook mentioned curry scones (how oriental of the colonizers!) and i was sold. so i started the 4km walk uphill to the tea room. by the end (it had been 3 hours and at that point i had walked 7.5 km) i was just begging for someone to stop on the side of the road and offer me a lift to the factory. thankfully, a lovely couple asked if i wanted to jump in.
turns out they were part of a group of 3 couples traveling on a short vacation from Singapore. i met all of them, who have been friends for over 20 years and have met – and still belong to – the same Chinese christian group. this explained the “are you christian” question. they were all lovely though, and all have children my age. they were impressed that my parents “let” me go on this crazy adventure… we got to discuss all of this over butter-lemon cake and cinnamon tea (for me) while the sky decided to give us a mighty shower. no picture possible. they were kind enough to offer me a lift back in town (13km away on the main road), with some nice conversations. i also now have been asked to call them when i reach Singapore… which is a little weird but very kind of them. now, if i will, that’s another question. i guess I’ll see when i get there!