Borneo- A Surprise Visit Home
Borneo Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
January 22nd, 2008 – by: kc_chan17
Having lived abroad for nearly 6 years, in a land quite different to Malaysia, I think I have been become quite comfortable with the way of life here in Sydney. My perspective in life has definitely changed over the years. I begin to forget a lot of details of home, and expect things to be the all the same, at home and here.
Planning this trip back home has already created a feeling of home-sickness, remembering sights, senses, tastes, feelings of the place and people I grew up with.
I come home now as an outsider, respecting the fact that I was born and raised in the town of Kota Kinabalu. I am drawn to the beauty of the land and am truly am excited to seen things through the eyes of a local "alien".
My plan didn't quite pan out as I thought it would. Initial flight delays from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur formed part of the reason I missed my connecting flight back home to Kota Kinabalu. I did not realise that the Low Cost Terminal, for my Air Asia Flight was ages away from the international airport. After rushing through customs, and missing my flight, I was praying that there was a later flight which I could take, so at least the chaos of the situation would come to an end.
From the taxi heading to the Low Cost Terminal, I called my dad, who was in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), taking another flight back to Kota Kinabalu. I could not get myself to break the news to him, that I was in the country. So I hung up. I called my mom straight after, and thought I'd tell her that I have arrived home and to pick me up at midnight from the Air Asia Terminal. It sort of worked out, I didn't achieve the full effect of the surprise, but I was glad that I was finally home.
I plan my trips to the extent that I detail what I'd like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, places to go, things to get, pictures to take. Not that I am anal at following them through, but more as a guide on how I could make full use of my time there. I planned a visit to the Markets, Mt Kinabalu, Island, and the newly open Zoo.
This climb was not my first, but it has been a while since I climbed up that mountain. I was prepared. Got my chocolate, my macadamia nuts, honey pork (thinly sliced pork, seasoned and barbecued), 4 ltrs of water, fruit, sweets, gloves, changes of clothes my whole camera kit (weighing about 3kgs). I arrived, got myself a guide (mandatory) and a porter (optional). My package included meals, and so when I commenced my hike up the mountain, I was given packed lunch. My adventure begins. With my guide, my porter and myself. The first day (25th January 2008).
Along the way, I met 3 Australians and a German. We continued up the mountain as a group. Kinda had an instant bond, as I flew in from Sydney, and they from Melbourne, and the German, well, he was on a trip round Malaysia finishing his year of internship in a Malaysian Engineering company.
We reached Laban Rata, our shelter for the night. Washed up, had dinner, and off we were to bed for an early rise (2am), for our ascent to the peak to experience sunrise on top of the world.
2.00 am, 26th January 2008, I woke up to find that I didn't want to put myself through the pain of another four hours of torture. Reluctantly, I forced myself to refocus on my goal to reach the peak, and to complete what I set out to achieve. So, one step at a time, I thread up the dark, cold, wet mountain, psyching myself up with only positive thought.
I've been to cities that never close down,
from New York to Rio and old London town,
but no matter how far or how wide I roam,
I still call Australia home.
Anyway, after all the excitement, and thrill going up the mountain and breaking into song, like what Newton would say, what goes up, must come down.
The pain didn't go away for about 3 days, to which on the 4th, I think I still feel pain, but was probably so used to the pain that it felt good. It was then that I managed to get myself out and about, doing fun stuff. Wanted to dive, but it was not a good season to dive, so I decided to do some snorkeling in the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks, 20 minutes off the city, to check out the visibility to perhaps dive the next day. I chose 2 islands for the day, rented some snorkels and fins and off I went.
Spent about 4 hours in Mamutik Island, and another 3 in Sapi. Or was it the other way round. I was so busy looking at the fishes that I didn't realise that I was starting to cook. After 7 hours out in the sun (please do not try this at home), I was ready to be eaten! And oh, I forgot to mention, I decided the day before I went to the island to shave my head.
That night, I had difficulty sleeping, as I was in pain again. This time, from the sun burn. My whole back and head started to bubble. This lasted another few days. And obviously the diving did not materialise.
My trip, though painful was generally fun! I got to see the places I wanted to see, and do the things I wanted to do, eat the food I had been dying to eat. All the fun stuff and a bit of extras.
Till next time, take care of yourself, and say hi to your mom for me!
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