Friday, December 28, 2007

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Let's go to Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (named after a British Surveyor of the 1880s). First, let's visit the tea plantation. A British man started the tea plantation in Cameron Highlands in 1929. He named it the Boh Plantations totaling an area of 1200 hectares which accounted for 70% of the total tea production in Malaysia. The plantations produce about 4 million kg or 8.8 million pounds of tea annually which can make approximately 5.5 million cups of tea a day!

Here is the picture of a woman prunning the tender tea leaves with a pair of shearers that has an orange funnel like gadget attached to it. The leaves that she prunned will be trapped into the funnel and she then threw them over her head into the huge basket hanging on her back. The tea leaves are ready for picking 2 years after planting and the same bush is picked once every 3 weeks. I asked how many years of good tea leaves can a tea bush produce and if my memory doesn't fail me, it's either 16 or 26 years.
For those who are interested to know the tea processing details, click here. Other attractions in Camerion Highlands include the Strawberry Farms, Flower Nurseries, Markets, Vegetable Farms, Butterfly Farms, etc. which I do not have all the pictures, but you can find them here.

I would like to share with you the cacti farm. I had never seen so many cacti in my life. The center of attraction was a cactus which was 25 years old. Compare its size to my hand and arms.

You will not be left out on your food. Steam boat (hot pot) is very popular. I like my hot pot with lots of vegetables. This is a modern hot pot using gas with the soup in the pot and the raw meat, seafood, etc. on the table Picture from Wikipedia.

The steamboat below is outdated. It uses charcoal so you see the fire coming from the center. The outer ring is filled with soup which you cook your food when it boils.
Picture Source.

If you have a group, you may want to book for chalets or a bungalow depending on the size you need. There are some hotels there too. I went there a few times and we organized a church retreat there once where the guys planned on playing golf. Unfortunately, the king booked the whole golf course and the guys were disappointed. So we had time to go to places like the waterfalls and walked around the market.

On one occasion, I went on a small jeep and was driven from the bottom to the hill top terrain. I closed my eyes and prayed for our safety so I did not take any pictures to show you. We were cornering or going in circles as we went higher and higher up. I was afraid we would slide downhill. I wonder how the farmers did that for a living traveling up and down constantly on the hills with steep gradients. I wasn't sure whether I would survive on one ride up and down.

Other activities you can do in Cameron Highlands are camping, jungle treking, and mountain hiking besides golfing. My husband simply likes the cool highlands.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Virginia Beach, USA

Last week I worked at Virginia Beach. If you love the ocean, here are some pictures which you may like. Below is a picture which I took from my room balcony overlooking the ocean. The whole stretch of beach is occupied by hotels. During the day, you find people walking along the narrow alley.

Below is a statue and I have no idea whether it is a sand or solid statue. It was too windy to walk close to it. I don't understand why we have machines working at the beach. I had to rush for work and did not stay long enough to watch.

If you want to see the scene in summer, navigate the side bar for more pictures on this site. You will see how crowded the beach is. It is very clean and sandy. There is plenty of room to get your tan. Summer is a hot season and certainly the hotel rooms would cost more. If you like the beach, it's the experience that counts.

I went in search of seafood along Atlantic Avenue. Most of them close early in winter. My choice of restaurants was more limited as compared to summer. I ordered a seafood platter and paid about $33 for one dinner and $13 for another from two different restaurants. Of course the $33 was much better and more appetizing. I'm not sure whether it would cost more in summer.

Not many people go there for winter. I find the night view more exciting as cars drove slowly to watch the lights. Here are some pictures of the lights.

I like the lights in the form of Cane Sticks surrounded by Pointsettia. I think they are very pretty.

Hope you enjoy the lights from Virginia Beach. Merry Christmas to all of you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tumbulgum Farm, Australia

Welcome to Tumbulgum Farm in Western Australia! It has an area of about 80 hectares and is an award winning tourist attraction. See the cultural experience including Farm and Aboriginal shows, BBQ lunches, Aboriginal gallery and displays. There are interactive shows that give tourists hands-on experience as well. The history of the farm is interesting.

The farm shows include Australian sheep dogs at work where they respond to different sounds as intructions to do different tasks. Also watch sheep mustering with the stockman on horseback. I took two pictures at the show which I would like to share with you as below.

See the picture of sheep shearing. The suspension loop around the shearer's body serves specific functions such as control and protect his back (if I remember correctly). The sheep is meek and not difficult to handle. Probably the shearer's experience makes him efficient. He did not take long to do a good job. I would make a mess shearing my husband's hair let alone so much work on a sheep.

Here I am trying to milk "Bernie" the cow in an old-fashioned way. Hey, I need a bucket to collect the milk!

If you want to see more pictures and activities on the farm, here is the photo gallery. Enjoy the fun from the pictures. Then go for a traditional billy tea and Australian damper.

How do you like the Australian Farm experience!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

Let’s guess what you can find other than butterflies on the Butterfly Farm in Penang, Malaysia.

As the name implies, it's not surprising that the Butterfly Farm has possibly close to 4,000 butterflies from over 120 species flying along the footpath around the enclosed landscaped garden. They like to rest on colorful flowers, plants and even rock surfaces. The lifespan of each butterfly is approximately 2 weeks! You may have a chance to see a female butterfly trying to lay eggs.

Besides the butterflies, you will be able to see white tree squirrels, scorpions, millipedes, snakes, iguana, lizards, oriental water dragon, ducks, tortoise, finches, insect museum, etc. There is a little insect zoo where you will see different kinds of bugs.

The most unique bug which I am introducing to you today is the human face bug. I saw a face bug crawling on a branch. See picture below.

Here is the picture of a female face bug guarding its eggs.

Now you should be able to differentiate between the male and female face bug from the picture below.

The moving leaf bug is also something unique which I had never seen elsewhere in my entire life. Take a look at it below:

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