Saturday, May 28, 2016

Not a Gypsy Honest: Are we there yet? Mount Kinabalu

A bug the size of my arm has just landed on my arm: Gargantuan and imposing, completely unconcerned by my shrieking, it basks in my noise.

“It won’t harm you,” sighs our guide, Fabian, weary of insectophobics and their endless rain-forest miseries.

How can the cardiac arrest I’m suffering not be classed as harm?!

Then it’s gone, into the verdant abyss of Ranau.

The air, however, is still alive with the calls of these elephantine beasts:  cicadas, katydids, beetles which hiss with the ferocity of wronged Spartans.

None of them perturbed by the chatting, laughing children who snake up the slope in our wake: International School kids, a cacophony of different accents and a chaos of eager limbs, all enthusiastic to reach the summit and feast on the fabled view of Mount Kinabalu.

“Are we there yet?” They chant, “I think I just saw a tarantula! How much further…? Can we stop for lunch now?”

No. I hope not. Not far. Shh – it’s only 9am!

It’s early morning, but already 30 degrees, and we’ve been walking for almost an hour, up Bongkud Hill – through the turbulent greens and miasmas of yellows; colours that could make your eyes melt.

Up, up, up. Each resting place offers a new and pristine vista – clouds which crawl across the landscape below, new shadows of the ascending sun, hushed purples of far-off Tibouchinas.
Scarce, burnished rooftops far below are the only suggestion that civilisation has ever happened.

Is there anywhere more enchanting than Borneo in Spring?

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