Day 3 Kuantan to the Cameron Highlands

The Rally and the Car:

Car is running very well. Temperatures are low; no noises; and good acceleration on the mountain roads. This morning we had our first Regularity Stage; relatively straightforward. It was on a paved road (that is not always the case) and our only problem was a truck in front of us (Regularity Stages are done on open roads, whereas the Speed Stages are run on closed roads) and he would not give way easily. We needed to maintain 70 kph over the course and we fell behind until we managed to get by him. In the end, we made up the time and finished 3 seconds early so there will be a small penalty assessed to us.

After lunch, we were scheduled to do a Speed Stage over a dirt track, but it was cancelled. The reason for the cancellation was very unique. A mother tiger and her young cubs had made a home very near the track and discretion became the better part of valor. I'm not sure whether the Organizers were worried about the competitors (especially those in an open car) or whether they were worried about injuring the young tiger cubs. In any event, we skipped the Stage and moved on to the Cameron Highlands.


Our scenery changed dramatically after lunch today. We left the palm plantations and the banana orchards of the lowlands and climbed in our little cars to about 5000 ft. At 5,000 ft. the weather is cool (even misty) and the vegetation changes. We are now among the tea plantations and huge strawberry farms covered with polyurethane.

The area first became popular with the British colonials. They came to the Highlands to avoid the sweltering heat of summer in Malaysia. They found a respite from the heat and the area quickly developed spas and recreational facilities. A bit later, the English discovered the soil and climate were ideal for growing tea. Today, it is a very large industry exporting tea to every corner of the world. Much later, they developed the strawberry growing, as well.

Our day's drive ended at the Cameron Highlands Tea House where we were served Afternoon Tea and Scones, with clotted cream and strawberry jam.......very British and very good.

More Tea Plantations
Tomorrow we're off to Georgetown on the Island of Penang, connected to the Malaysian mainland by a series of bridges. I first came to Penang about 30 years ago to spend time with my daughter, Jennifer, who had put into port at Penang during a college semester at sea when she circumnavigated the globe. It is a very historical city from where the British Navy once controlled the northern end of the Malaccan Straits.

Before we get there, we will have two Speed Stages tomorrow.