Another day, another garage. 11-17/12/10

Posted: December 19, 2010 in 8.Malaysia

I’ve finally worked out how to make money out of this trip: I’m going to write a book at the end of it all entitled ‘Garages of the World’. Yes you’ve guessed it, more problems with our (slightly less, it has to be said) beloved Land Rover. We last left you in the jungle with the leeches and the sweat, well, we escaped the blood sucking monsters and made our way to the Cameron Highlands to flee the heat and stickiness of the tropics. The journey there was fairly uneventful- now that we have Karen the GPS she has taken all the fun out of navigation, and the imaginative name calling my navigator and I had going on has come to an abrupt end. When we arrived at our lodgings, a delightful old church retreat named ‘Father’s Guest House’ it was obvious that the right hand rear half shaft seal was leaking a lot of oil. I shall answer the two obvious questions that you are all now thinking: yes, I know what a half shaft is and no, I didn’t bring a spare as they were new when we left and I naively thought they would last! After my now mandatory pout, cry and shouting fit we took the car to be fixed. Lady luck however was finally on our side, as it turns out that, next to the Falklands bizarrely enough, in this part of the world there is the highest Land Rover to person ratio. (I was told this by a Land Rover lover so don’t quote me). Finding a garage to fix the problem was easy enough and a price of £6 was agreed, including an extra spare gasket for when the next one goes, which it will! However, the problem came when we (ummm, I’ll be honest, I say we, I had more of an observational / managerial / motivational role in the repair), when ‘we’ tried to replace the half shaft. Five bolts hold it in place and four of them do the job very well, excellently in fact, these are bolts performing at their best under trying circumstances and no one can and should ask more of these bolts. There was one, as there always is, that just didn’t want to be a team player, a rogue, a loner if you will that refused to go in, and to this day it still won’t stay in place. Let’s hope the Fab Four that are in can pick up the extra strain…

So many Land Rovers in these parts and so little time. It truly is the Mecca of Landys.

Enough car stuff, let us now turn to the enjoyable three days we spent in the Cameron Highlands. On the first day we went to visit a tea plantation that was set high in the hills. Although the sun was not shinning it was an amazing place for the scenery alone. The plantation was owned by a company called Boh, which make a lot of the tea out here, and was set up by a British chap at the height of the British Empire. Most of the machinery in the factory was still of the era and one could almost picture the scene 100 years ago. It made me feel very colonial and all I would have needed to complete the scene was a pith helmet, high boots and a stick under my arm as I wandered the estate shouting mildly racist statements at the local work force.

You will be glad to hear that I didn’t do this, but simply had tea and scones in the plantations café. A scone with butter mind you, not cream… who has scones with butter and jam and not cream and jam?? When will these foreigners learn?!? See there I go, getting all colonial again, sorry people, it was actually very nice, not cream and jam nice, but nice all the same.

Day two started with a gentle walk along a river and ended with us hacking and abseiling our way out of the jungle. Needless to stay we got lost. The blame is still to be apportioned as to who got us lost and due to legal constraints I can’t say anymore until the outcome of the arbitration has been settled. Day three also started well as we embarked on a gentle, downhill stroll. However after a couple of kilometers the rest of the path had been washed away and our walk ended with us traversing a cliff edge, getting soaked in the rain and getting a lift back home from a friendly local, who saw the state of Megan’s wet, untamed hair and thought she should not be seen in public. Bless him.

From the Highlands we set off to the Island on Penang on the east coast and our last stop before the Kingdom of Thailand. The book didn’t sing the praises of this Island but we found it to be a surprise highlight of Malaysia. We enjoyed wondering the streets and looking at the old colonial houses, some of which are crumbling and being reclaimed by the local plant life. It was fascinating imagining what these houses would have looked like in their hey day. On the second day we went for a drive around the island, stopping at a fort used by the British and then by the Japanese as a prison/detention centre during the Second World War. It was a sober, eerie place, slightly ruined by the fact that half of it has been turned over to a paintball park. Can’t decide if this is in bad taste or not…

We even found a Tesco! So excited were we about this find and the cheerio’s within that we had a bowl in the car park.

Malaysia was a nice, civilized introduction to this leg of our trip and we have very much enjoyed the month we have spent traveling here. Once again, as seems to be the case everywhere outside of Europe, the locals have on the whole been very friendly, the food has been sublime and it’s a very safe place to travel around.  Budget wise I think we ended up spending around £57 a day, which considering we stayed in hotels and had flights and bought a GPS was not too bad and was still actually under our £60 day limit. We are both looking forward to coming back to Malaysia on our return journey to ship the car from Port Klang to Perth.



  1. nicholas says:

    return journey?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s