Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ok, back from Sabah! YEEAAAHHHHHHHH!!

It was fantastic! Firstly, the little stuff. It was cheap shoes galore over there with promotions that say "Buy 1, Free 1"! Bought postcards that said, "I Climbed Mt. Kinabalu" instead of "I Came, I Saw, I Conquered"! How can one say 'I Conquered' to a majestic wonder of Earth like that?!

My momentous climb up Mount Kinabalu - the highest mountain in South East Asia.

I think everyone should go at least once in the life! Got the pictures and certificate to prove it too before you ask if I reached the summit.

It is truly awesome and beyond description. The stars were out, the trees/shrubs/flowers were different from anything I had ever seen, the freshness and crispness of the air, the coolness of the rock (testified by the countless times I sat down to catch my breath and give my legs a breather), it was wonderful! Makes you really think about the vastness of the Earth and how small and insignificant other things really are. You know, sometimes you get so caught up with little everyday events, things, sadness, disappointments and then you get up there on the Big Rock and you realise, time is eternal and nothing is so big and important that it can take over your life forever.....well, I guess except for death but even then, there's reincarnation.....

So there was the climb up to the 'mid-way' point of the mountain which is the rest stop for the first day at 3293m. Took us about 5 hours to reach that height from the base and it's rest/sleep time until 2.30am the next morning to attempt the next big bit. That's the hard part done! It takes another 3-4 hours to reach Low's Peak at 4095.2m to catch the sunrise. I didn't catch it though cos along the glacier superhighway (what the locals lovingly call it!), I was stopping every 5 steps just so I don't overdo it! The air was so cool, you don't really feel cold with all the exercise but my toes and fingers were numb - and I had on two pairs of gloves!

So many times I just stopped and gazed around at the beauty around me. The stars were so bright and I can tell you, it's not a sight you see often in the city! The night was so quiet and the moon just patiently shining down to light our way along the rocky moutain face. I just sat on the rock, lifted my face to the night air and enjoyed the stillness of the night.

When we first started going, it was like 'Go! Go! Go! There's a mountain to climb!' I couldn't believe that I was so happy and up to it. I was absolutely astounded that I reached Panar Laban. I keep telling people, the chronology of the climb is obvious from the photos we took along the way! At first it was I can reach up and touch the sky grins but then it got just a wee bit different! The Panar Laban picture of me had my face like I had just sucked on a sour lemon!

Then the big one up there. Oh! I could have just sat up there for ages and ages just enjoying the view and the air.

Thennnnnn there as the big walk down! The rocky face was fine but when we got down to about 5km until the front Timpohon Gate, god, if there was a hell, that must have been it! It was HORRIBLE! I so nearly wanted to cry and just sit down . My toes were hurting, my knee was was hard trying to get down all those steps and we kept wondering if we really did climb UP all of them! I just wanted the Park to end already! Forget it with all the pondok rest stops! That was seriously the worst part of the entire climb for me!

And then we were supposed to go River Rafting but the legs (thighs) hurt too much so we got lazy and just ambled around town buying souvenirs.....then we went to Manukan Island which is one of the five islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Went snorkelling, got stung by jelly fish and got some tan lines! Heeheheheheeee....

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