Tuesday, February 23, 2016

SuperrChloeeh vs. the World - Back to the Motherland: Mt. Kinabalu National Park


6:30AM. Wake up, brush teeth, get changed, pack bag, pack snacks, then proceed downstairs to meet everyone by 7AM. Last minute checks, making sure no one was left behind. Car started, engine warmed up, seatbelt fastened, then slowly backing out of the driveway.

Where are you going? Mt. Kinabalu National Park.

48 minutes into the drive, you stop by Tamparuli (pronounced TAAM-PAR-RULEE), a small quaint little town on the way to the National Park for a spot of breakfast. Most Kopitiams (coffee shops) are closed due to Chinese New Year but you find one that sells steamed buns, dim sum, and “famous” Tamparuli fried noodles. You enter, uncle, grandma, aunts, and grandaunt following.

“Minum?” a waitress asks in Malay, meaning “drink”.

You order a Milo Swam (warm Milo), whilst everyone else orders a selection of Kopi O, Milo, and Lemon Teh Bing (Iced Lemon Tea). For your makanan (food in Malay), your table orders a selection of fried noodles and dim sum, shared around by everyone. After breakfast, everyone hops back into the car, beginning the remaining 1 hour and 30 minute drive up to the National Park.

Up until now, the road has been relatively straight and flat. But now begins to ascent up to the mountains. No more straight roads. It bends and curves, like a snake wrapping its body around its prey.

Then, as you come around a bend, a tall, dark silhouette comes into view. Mt. Kinabalu, you gasp as your car slowly inches towards it. Next thing you know, the mountain is now on your left side, standing taller, prouder, bolder than it was before. You stare at it, in awe of its magnificence.

Lush greenery covers the base of the mountain, leaving it exposed at the top. You can see the creases and rocks and maybe a small waterfall gushing from the mountain. Majestic.

Luckily along the drive, there were spots allowing for cars to stop and take pictures. And that’s exactly what you did; whipping out your camera and snapping away. But you are only halfway to the National Park, so onwards you go.

As the drive continues, you notice clouds beginning to sweep in, threatening to cover the top of the mountain. Oh no, you think to yourself. But luckily, you were not far from the National Park now.

Pulling into the entrance, your uncle pays the entry fee and you make your way along the path, before stopping by the side of the road.

You see the mountain rising up above the sea of forest green, standing out with its sooty-grey rock complexion. Wisps of clouds begin to roll in from the right side, giving the mountain a mystical and mysterious feel to it.