Friday, February 19, 2016

TheMissMcG's Blog - Borneo, Borneo, wherefore art thou Borneo

Kinabalu Park, Sabah, Borneo.

When I first started planning my trip to Malaysia, I had vaguely decided to spend a couple of weeks on the main peninsula and a couple of weeks in Borneo. But when I arrived and realised most the islands were closed because of monsoons, and the weather forecasts predicted thunderstorms all over Malaysia – especially Borneo – so I decided that maybe I should leave Malaysia and come back to Borneo another time.

The plan was to go to Burma instead – I managed to get my malaria tablets but things started to go wrong when trying to get a visa. And then, I was thinking about only having a few days left in Malaysia and I felt really funny; I can’t quite describe it but it was as if I was losing or missing something special.

And as the thunderstorms here aren’t quite as constant as the forecasts predict (so far it’s been gorgeous by day with an hour or so rain early evening) I decided to stay in Malaysia afterall. So Borneo here I come!

Nothing particularly remarkable happened on my 18th day in Malaysia as I flew from Penang to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah in the eastern part of Malaysian Borneo. I then headed straight by bus to my next destination although I was a tad indecisive about where that would be.

I finally settled on Kinabalu National Park and slept most of the way, only to wake up to torrential downpour. Uh oh, let’s hope I’ve made the right decision.

On arriving at the park and being astounded at the prices of the dorm rooms, I walked in the rain down the road and found a private hostel with a much more reasonable price. That evening was pretty chilled as it was too late to go to the park but I enjoyed the wonderful location of our cafe; birds and squirrels galore.

And I met a Finnish girl, Anne who gave me some good tips (and I may meet up with her again further into Borneo). The only downside was that the dormitory was freezing (partly because not all the windows would close).

In the morning and after breakfast, I headed out on my first solo trek. Whilst this park is home to Mount Kinabalu (the highest mountain in SE Asia), I decided not to climb it as it was super expensive and tough and as I don’t have a huge amount of time, I decided I’d prefer to stick to the base camp trails. The longest trail was closed because of landslides (although Anne had walked it yesterday) so I chose the next longest, which would link round with some others too.

I set off in high spirits and thoroughly enjoyed amusing myself with my own thoughts as I walked. The path, in the main, wasn’t too tough but it had its moments. Then, a mere 30 minutes in, disaster happened.

It wasn’t even on a steep or particularly slippery part of the track but I slipped and instinctively put my knee down – right onto a sharp rock. I cursed very loudly and hopped around like an idiot waiting for the pain to stop and when it didn’t, I looked down. Uh oh, my leg was covered in blood. And I didn’t have my first aid kit with me.

Time to improvise. I remembered I had my bandana with me (to mop the sweat from my brow) so managed to tie it into a knot with a fair amount of pressure to stop the bleeding. Good work, I say.