Tuesday, May 30, 2006

up the mountain



ooof. i've been away from here for too long, haven't i? but if you've been checking my office blog, you'd know that i was away in kk last week. yes i was...

moo, kavi and shan together with lourdes and kalai decided to climb mt. kinabalu - gitanjali and i went along for a holiday... and holiday we did. the poor dears went off trudging up the mountain (and apparently there were moments when they were holding on to the trees b'cos they were too tired to go on) on their quest to conquer the mountain, whilst G and i had oodles and poodles of fun, fun, fun...

Day 1

we were in mount kinabalu for 6 days, and my dears - it was lover-ly.... (can't you just hear me singing it?) the first 2 days we stayed in mesilau nature resort, which iw about 2500 metres above sea level ( the key word here being 'about') - this resort is located slightly more than half way on the mountain, and its is amazing. its nestled in the jungle, and the temp. when we were there ranged from 8 degrees to 12 degrees, which for us was pretty cold (brrr)!

however the europeans were happily sauntering around in tanks tops and shorts, while we burrowed deeper into our jackets... the air was so fresh - you almost feel that this is it - the place where they (the fresh air producers) actually manufacture and produce the fresh air, before they ship it down to us folks in kl, packaged in smog and carbon monoxide...

it made my skin tingle, and my soul burst into song to be there - just gorgeous - i could live there forever, except i would miss all the business of my daily life, i guess, and all the nice yummy people i love...

dawn is about 5.30 there, as opposed to whatever time dawn breaks over here - must be at least some 5 years since i last woke up for dawn in kl - am not a morning person at all - but i was waking up latest by 6 every day in the mountain - now i know, its not that i'm not a morning person - i'm just not a kl morning person - now i know how heidi felt when they tried to take her away from the mountain...



anyway, am obviously blathering... wait, wait - am going to tell you about rest of holiday... so anyway, gitanjali and i spent 3 days there - the rest of them lot having gone off to climb the peak on day 2... there was nothing at all to do... we would get up early, go have breakfast at the restaurant (which was up some hill), then i would read a book, while G (honestly when i named her, i didn't have a blog, and never knew it would be such a hassle to type her name every 2 sentences, otherwise might have contempleted naming her with a shorter name...), would sit with me and blow bubbles (being a genius, i had brought her soap bubbles along).. or play... or colour, or read a book of her own (she knows all her books by heart, and so can do a very good imitation of reading one on her own)... so nice..

kinabalu park

on day 2, we went to kinabalu park which is further down the mountain from mesilau nature resort - it isn't as cold, and has a lot more activities - we went for a jungle walk (which in itself deserves a post - it was so good - gitanjali won praises from our guide who was extremely impressed that a not-yet-3 year old could trek for half an hour through jungle terrain without complaining) and a tour of their conservatories (where we saw stuffed animals including an orangutan, a crocodile, some snakes, some squirrels, a mousedeer, some birds, an anteater, a jungle cat - all of whom had died for a good cause obviously - i.e to enable G to look at them)- we also did a spot of souvenir shopping - i must say, we were treated like distant relatives of royalty throughout our visit, which was very nice - we had our own personal guide to walk with us and show us around - she even shopped with us, don't play play...

we also went to a strawberry farm where we saw one elderly strawberry... felt slightly cheated about that, but what to do? apparently the rest had been plucked for jam (which is also a good cause if you like jam)... obviously the people at the strawberry farm had not heard about us being almost royalty, otherwise they would have spared us a few strawberries on the plants...

Poring Hot Springs

day 3 - we transferred to poring hot springs, which is further down the mountain - back to warm weather during the day, although the nights were still a little nippy. unfortunately the chalet we got was "not renovated" hence no air-con and no hot water. also it had too many insects... which can be great if you are a bit of an insectologists, but otherwise translates to cockroaches trying to land in your hair...uggghh! apart from the invasion from the insect world, which generally took place at night, our great holiday became greater... we actually had to walk into the forest, across a gushing stream via lovely suspended bridge to get to the restaurant where we had our daily meals. this restaurant was everything that you could want it to be, underpopulated, and overstaffed with nice people and all rustic with greenery all around. this restaurant also had as one of its charms, a giant black stag beetle (it just sits in the fern all day, and didn't move except when it rained - hence i found it charming) - we actually went and stroked it, which if you know me at all - is a v. big deal, ok...

anyway, we spent the time just lazing around, making friends and swimming, waiting for the mountaineers to turn up... which they did late evening on day 4.

Return of the Mountaineers

they came back, weary and smelly (apparently the taps in laban rata, the place they stayed on the mountain before they ascended the peak, had been running ice water), with certificates ...moo, kavitha, kalai and lourdes had reached the peak (which is 4095.2 metres), whilst shan had to stay back in laban rata due to an old knee injury which acted up... they all had stories to tell, which i have decided not to repeat based on the hearsay rule. they shall have to post it if they want it told... dinner was good, and we all had tapai to celebrate -even G had banana milk shake that aspired to be tapai

the mountain man

lourdes is the mountain man, - i've been told that there has been an official movement to rename Low's peak (which is the highest summit in mt kinabalu), Lourdes' peak...

the day after the return

we had a really eventful day. we got up by 7, had breakfast (pancakes, eggs, sausages, noodles), then went off to find the canopy bridge - it was a walk uphill through the jungle (amid a chorus of groans from the mountaineers) - we walked up 485 metres, to find the first of 3 suspended canopy bridges all suspended from the tallest trees i have ever seen - the view from the top - outstanding... i don't have anymore superlatives to describe the beauty from up there... we forgot to take the camera, so don't have any pictures to show you - guess you'll have to go see for yourself...

we walked back from the bridges and went to enjoy the hot springs.. and just sat around in tubs of hot water for an hour, after which, kavi, shan, gitanjali and i went off to the pool - it was a sliding pool, and we had so much fun... fantabulous

after the pool, we had lunch, and then we were off to the nabalu flea market to shop... we finished that, took some photos of the mountain, and came back in time for dinner and tapai for dessert.

we shall be back

we woke up the next morning, had breakfast, and said our goodbyes to the mountain and the lovely people we had met, with promises to return... the mountain taught us so many things about ourselves and the people we went with... did i tell you that i had a wonderful time already? i did... fuiiyyoohh! (credit has to be given to this fab website that had the best photos of mt. kinabalu)