my journey started at fraser’s hill, or rather, the ride to. having crashed a car backwards down a hill, i have this understandable phobia for driving up hill. the crew i went with did not particularly have a passion for driving uphill either. after many days of pushing transportation issues around, we decided to charter a cab.
now, fraser’s hill is not exactly one of the easiest places to go, despite its proximity to kl, for two reasons. firstly, the place desperately lacks directional signage and secondly, the road just winds in all the wrong places.
we thought that by hiring a cab, the cabbie should know the way, right? or at least the agency would send us a cabbie who would know the way, right? duh, we were half way to tanjung malim when we realised that our cab did not know the way. we had to trace our routes back to kuala kubu bharu and then follow the scarce boards to fraser’s hill.
which obviously wasted a good amount of time.
the thing about fraser’s is that it has only one route to drive up, called the gap. the alternative route has been closed for about a year now because of landslides. although the landslide has been cleared and no other slides have been reported since, the route remains closed for heaven knows what reasons.
this single route up the hill also happens to be a one laned, one way street. every odd hour, the traffic flows up the hill. every even hour, the traffic flows down.
so you can imagine our frustration when we arrived at the gap just two minutes after the change of traffic flows. we has to wait a whole hour at the foot of the hill. there were no stalls to go to, no sight to see, no washrooms to ease yourselves at either. just an abandoned bus stop and nothing else.
and the flies! one thing that disappointed me about the whole hill is the flies and mosquitoes problem. speaking to some of the hotel managers and innkeepers, i learnt that there has recently been a huge increase in these insects to the hill because of a new landfill created just at the foot of the hill.
the flies are everywhere! the pinnacle of the whole encounter was that night itself when the flies made a splendid buffet out of all of us.
we had a three room apartment. after much contemplation, we realised that if we were to take a room each, we would be plunging headlong into a mosquito party. so we dragged mattresses, comforters and pillows into the apartment hall and slept all together there. logically, the chances of us being eaten alive would reduce with the increased in odds, right?
wrong again. it was a slap and scratch party all the way to 5am. waking up again at 8am was tiring. there was a consolation, though. it was a beautiful morning. the sun rose wonderfully over the cool mist and yes, the flies where still there, but so were a collection of birds and butterflies.
i like the highlands. truly, i enjoy the cool mountainous air almost just as much as i enjoy the beach. i confess my distance-by-choice, not hatred, for animals, but nature appeals to me very much. fraser’s still has that. for those who has not been there for some time, fraser’s is still very much green and for most of the day, still has that lazy breeze and mellowed weather.
it was two days of appointments after another, through sunshine, mist and rain, continuously in no particular order. i personally feel that the true commercial potential of the hill is sadly shadowed by the lack of maintenance of much of the buildings. or maybe that is what they want: a laid back sorta look, a place which is quaintly run down to reflect its use. moss and vines crawling up the walls and everything. yea. maybe.
i have never been car sick since i was a kid. the trip reintroduced me to the experience. the cabbie who drove us up the kill was clueless. the cabbie who drown us down was insane. halfway down the hill, me and my collegue made him stop the car so that we could jump out and throw up. and when you see passengers get out to puke, you’d actually consider driving slower, right? this dude did just the opposite. he drove even faster, in case we decided to barf in his car, i suppose.
i reached kl late in the evening. the next morning, wynn sent me to the airport as early as 7am. my flight to johor was at 9am.