Tanah Rata, Monday, 5th January 2004
The Cameron highlands are cool. The tropical sun shines, but it feels like spring, a nice fresh start of the new year.

It is a good place to acclimatise, adjust to the tropics. The Cameron Highlands are new for me. The town centre of Tanah Rata is a bit too touristic for me. But there is plenty of jungle around, a good place to be.

Jungle sounds quite challenging, but it's not a stress at all. Most jungle tracks here are more like lanes, with a tiled path. So it feels more like a park, although only the path is man made. The path is like a red carpet, rolled out for tourists. Yet there are very few tourists that venture into the jungle.

How do tourists pass their days? I really wonder. Are they stuck in the restaurants of the town centre, moving to the next destination only to do the same? I am afraid that is just what they do. Walk 500 metres outside of any tourist town and you won't see any of them. It is bizarre for me. The Robinson falls are worth a visit, pay off for just a few minutes walking.

Just a bit further down, passed the falls, the tiled highway ends. This is probably the point of return for the sole tourist that ventured this far.

A track starts, well accessible, at least in the beginning. Further down it gets a bit more tricky, even a bit overgrown. A jungle path is like a funnel, starts wide and narrows on the way, till a minimal track remains. It is like the path width counts the number of visitors.

You don't need a guide on this path. There is only one possible route to follow, going down, down, down. Just follow it till the end. Here, at this small track I really get the feeling of being back in the jungle. There is nobody here, just me. Every now and then I find a footprint.

My nose opens up. My lungs enjoy the clean air, fill with oxygen. I love it!

Just when the track starts to get tough, the end is near. This track is obviously a one way road. Suddenly the jungle is behind me, while farms grow vegetables all round me.

It takes another hour to walk to the main road. I like this new environment. The funnel was a good start of the new year.

Till next nut,