"The happiest place on earth"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mount Kinabalu Trip
Day 3 (14/8) - Summit attempt, Descent, Park HQ, Kota Kinabalu

At 2am, I awoke with the rest to attempt the summit.

Although I'd packed my bag lightly, the trail was very steep, and with my winterwear and raincoat it was all too much for me to take. Each step was sheer agony, as I was dizzy, out of breath (both due to being unfit and the mountain air), I felt like puking (despite having only 2 packets of biskut - I wonder how those who had the 'light' breakfast buffet survived) and my heart was racing. Maybe the mountain spirit had cursed me for wearing my doubly (triply) haram T-shirt.

Eventually I made the wise decision to fall out. I could've persisted for just a little bit more, but there was no point holding back both my group and the other climbers attempting the summit (or from hitting it at dawn, in time to catch the sunrise).

At least as important, as a new (and more compact) version of my favourite adaptation of a Slavery motto goes: "Male ego is temporary, injury (or death) are forever" (alternatively, my favourite safety slogan goes: "Know your limits. Fall out"). There is no shame in falling out under such conditions. Actually, hell, there's no shame in falling out, period (of course, it doesn't hurt that I get only epsilon utility from such feats, not being stricken by that one of the two great Male Gender Defects (TM)).

(Aside: One of the last, other times I was pushed beyond my physical limit was when Krusty the Klown was my CSM and he was trying to get everyone to hit the IPPT Gold Standard to improve the unit [and his] rankings. During one 2.4km segment of an IPPT the route involved a downhill segment, we had pacers and Krusty was barking at everyone. Due to the 'encouragement' I hit my fastest ever 2.4km time - 15:16 (or thereabouts). Unfortunately, I also injured my left ankle ligament, and to this day I am occasionally reminded of this injury and doubtless will be reminded even more in 3 decades time. So you can see the fat lot of good that did me.)

Actually I think I might have been able to hit the summit if I had not been sick (I had a fever the night before), had gotten enough sleep (I couldn't sleep for almost half the night and so got maybe 3 hrs of sleep), hadn't worn so much (I overheated and not only was my T-shirt drenched, my sweater was wet and my jacket damp), it'd been light and it hadn't been wet (there was torrential rain the night before). Though it would have taken me maybe 6 hours, 2-3x the 2-3 hours most people took for their summit attempts.

So in conclusion, Lim Bo Seng and Yue Fei were losers since they failed in their missions and, as the great Yoda taught, "Do or do not, there is no try".

I tried to go back to sleep at 3:30am but couldn't. At about 5 plus I went down to catch the sunrise from Laban Rata while the others were on the summit.

This being Malaysia, while crossing the restaurant floor I saw a creature the size of a rat running across it and scurrying into a hole. Maybe it got portered up in a packet of Maggi Mee. Or maybe it was an indigenous animal (a picture of which will appear later).

Before we started our descent, we had some hot drinks at the restaurant. While 2 of the others had Milo (with all the palm oil goodness), I decided to try their Sabah Tea. Like other Malaysian products, it sucked, being weak and flavourless. It didn't help, of course, that besides sugar, Krimer was the only thing I had to add to it. As we all know, whereas milk goes well with many types of tea, Krimer is horrible and obliterates whatever subtleties might lie in your cup (I would've been better off not adding any Krimer). Actually I suspect Creamer might taste less bad than Krimer, but you never know. The best thing to add to your tea, though, is Mövenpick vanilla ice cream (with real vanilla beans).

Singapore's mark - ITE College East's thermometer, and the wiring seems to be from Senoko.

Moss and lichens

The guide was very smart. Just after we commenced our descent, he offered to help me bring my bag down for 30 ringgit. He hadn't offered on the way up. Being cheapskate, I refused. Just after the halfway point a porter coming up advised me to get him to porter my bag down. He offered 20, and I pointed out that we were more than halfway down so we settled on 15. It was good for him as well, since it saved him some time
(later, a woman said the going rate for portering was RM7 a kg but I think this was for going up).

On the way, I'd seen a Hong Kong girl who was bundled up in a scarf, gloves, jacket and sweater. This when I was in a T-shirt and jeans, and many of the ang moh women in tank tops and shorts. I asked if she was hot, and she said "No no I don't like cold. I like hot."

This was probably the most impressive feat of portering I saw. Weight is one thing, but this one also has bulk to contend with.

The fast animal I finally managed to capture. This might've been the 'rat' I saw in the restaurant.

It was cool and misty, like it had been in the Black Forest, but I preferred the latter. The trees were nicer, it was drier and cooler and there were fewer insects (the insects here might've been because of the humidity or migration from the rainforest below).

Unfortunately I ran out of water on the way down since the additional water supplies (and everyone else) had run ahead. Due to this, my having been exhausted by the uphill climb the day before and the summit attempt that morning and the lack of a porter for half the way, I took just over 5 hrs 15 mins to hit the bottom (ascending 1400m in the other direction had taken 5 hrs).

I was really glad to once again see Carson Fall (sic).

Warning sign at Timpohon Gate.
"Attention all mountain climbers
All mountain climbers are kindly reminded that if they have a history of suffering from the following ailments it is highly recommended that they should refrain from climbing the mountain:
9. Obesity (Overweight)
12. Muscular Cramps
13. All other sicknesses that all climbers should have them selves medically checked before attempting any climb. [Ed: ???]"
Moral of the story: heed warning signs

At the end, I was coughing and sneezing so much, my diaphragm hurt whenever I did so. Gah.

In conclusion, I must say that I was misled about this expedition.

I was told that we'd go "very slow", but the pace was very fast to me.
I was told that the climb would not be that hard, but it was.
I was told that Geriatric Taiwanese Ladies also climb Mount Kinabalu. We didn't see any and maybe they only climb to Laban Rata and now Low's Peak (though we saw a middle-aged English lady who said she'd hit the summit but her knees were killing her).
I was told that we'd train, but our training was woefully inadequate.

This was definitely not a walk in the park (maybe it is if you regularly run marathons, but then again Hum Sup Guy said it was harder than a marathon). Attempting the climb was one of the worst decisions of my life. Attempting the climb when sick was THE worst decision of my life. Kids might have reached the summit, but I'm only going to try again after I pass my 2.4 (ie never).

That said, I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did without the encouragement (and more importantly, the portering services) of the others in my party. Though it did mean that my water supply was usually out of reach.

On the upside, I am a step closer to fulfilling my dream of visiting 10% of the UNESCO World Heritage sites before I die (about 51 down, 32 to go assuming they don't expand the list, which they will). It was also quite cool (even if it wasn't the proper temperate climate cool) and I got to to skip some days of school (though that meant I missed some quotes).

Utter Exhaustion

While waiting for our transport down to Kota Kinabalu, Hum Sup Guy once again expounded on the joys of "Swedish Bitter". Hum Sup Guy swore by it and claimed that it was good for everything. It could be applied topically, consumed as a health supplement, used to treat various ailments, applied as a dressing on wounds, be diluted with water and applied to soothe inflamed skin (eg eczema) and more. Hearing its wondrous properties, I dubbed it "Swedish Snake Oil".

Alternate warning sign at Park HQ. Notice that the ailments are in a different order. This is Malaysian Quality Control for you.

The waitress at the cafe was honest. Someone asked if their squid was fresh, and she said it wasn't and was 3 days old, though they put it in the freezer.

2 days ago, I had ordered spring rolls at the cafe. They turned out to be Chinese-style vegetable-filled spring rolls, served with Thai chili sauce. This day, someone else ordered spring rolls at the cafe. They turned out to be Malay-style curry-vegetable filled spring rolls, served with coleslaw. The joys of Malaysian quality assurance!

We then went to Kota Kinabalu to have seafood.

This is a Malaysian ATM. Notice that it closes from Midnight to 6am. Maybe this is so the guy hiding inside dispensing the money can go home.

1kg of raw oysters

Both this and the restaurant we went to the next day were stingy with rice. Might be a Malaysian thing.

I observed a minute of silence for this live garouper which had the misfortune to be steamed in 'Superior Soya Sauce'. Probably had something to do with the fact that this was a no-pork restaurant. It was 72 ringgit for 600g: extremely expensive for bolehland. In fact you can get cheaper in Singapore. The rest gushed about it a lot, though.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
This 24 hour outlet in the Korean district of Kota Kinabalu was closed.


We should've gone to Bali... Charcoal-roasted pig. [Me: Pick up Ang Moh girls... Go to Laban Rata and pick up Ang Moh girls.] 15 year old Ang Moh girls. [Me: 16 lah. What's the age of consent in Malaysia?] [Someone: 12]

Gabriel, I find it very interesting that when you are talking about your Unmitigated Disasters of whatever you are stroking the end of your stick.

Am I very talkative? [Me: Am I fat?]

[Me on Hum Sup Guy ordering 1kg of raw oysters for himself for dinner on top of having 4 dishes for 4 people: So much for 'I don't eat a lot'] I don't!... After this: supper... I don't mind having the coconut crab. Let me go and do another walkabout... Let's get the eel also... Small one not so nice, get a medium one.

[To me] You eat very little. I eat about thrice as much as you, on average.

[On Promenade Hotel Apartments] So they actually have posh living here. Of course, every 2, 3 days the power's gonna get cut and the toilet's gonna fail, but that's another story.

Something I found on Promenade Hotel Apartments:

Kota Kinabalu Hotel/Accommodation Tips by biztripper - VirtualTourist.com

"I definately WOULD NOT RECOMMEND staying at the PROMENADE HOTEL APARTMENTS (note: this is not the higher star and more expensive Promenade Hotel next door) at Api Api Centre in Kota Kinabalu. I was staying there last week, and guess what? Had some uninvited guests over.. RATS! Just look at the surrounding area, its filthy, and its rat haven. There were rats outside, and they came into my apartment. I stayed at block 1 (nearest to Centrepoint). This is definately a building maintenance problem."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes