Walking by the night market in Brinchang, we were amazed by the products we saw for sale: Strawberry-shaped keychains, magnets, pencils. Real strawberries turned into dried fruit, preserves, jams, syrups, tea. Strawberries coated with chocolate, yogurt, and powdered sugar. Strawberry picture frames, strawberry t-shirts.
Coming back to our base of Tanah Rata from one of our 16 km walks we stopped in at the Big Red Strawberry Farm in Brinchang. At the cafe in the visitor center we weren't surprised to find strawberry milkshakes, cakes and treats. But the adjoining gift shop? Someone had scoured the globe for every kind of strawberry product available—from Hershey's syrup to Japanese candy to soaps and plush toys.
Walking to a village where the local Aboriginal people were resettled when the British decided they wanted to hack down the jungle for tea plantations (and strawberry farms) Dan got homemade strawberry-durian flavored ice-cream and we watched girls wearing strawberry-print dresses. Passing us were cars kitted out with strawberry-shaped pillows, strawberry-print seat and steering wheel covers and little plush strawberries dangling from the rear-view mirror.
On our first jungle walk to a short waterfall near the golf course, we found a welcoming gate—festooned with giant, fiberglass strawberries. Finally, inundated by the fruit, we sat down in a homestead strawberry farm and sucked on homemade strawberry Popsicles. An hour later, near our hotel, we found ourselves drinking local tea (thankfully, not the strawberry blend) and smothering fresh-baked scones with strawberry preserves and whipped cream.
So much for our New Year's resolution to cut back on sugar.
* * *
The Highlands, about 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) above sea level, offer clean mountain air and a break from the humidity and heat of Kuala Lumpur.
We were in the Cameron Highlands waiting for our Indian visas to be processed back in Kuala Lumpur. We had thought about another beach vacation or a trip to Malacca, but decided that we'd been inactive enough for the last three weeks in Australia and what we really needed was a few days walking, to get our strength up for whatever will face us next week in India.
Next stop: Kuala Lumpur
**Click here to see our photos from the Cameron Highlands, in our Gallery**
**Click here to see our travel advice for the Cameron Highlands, in our Forum**