Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sabah, Part I: Mountains

After my two months of teaching it was finally time for a family holiday! This time we were off to Sabah, Malaysia. If that doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s basically just the other portion of Malaysia that is on the island of Borneo, which on it exists Sarawak and Brunei.

Oh, Brunei. What memories I’ve had forged there in what seemed like a lifetime ago. This trip to the tropical island of Borneo will prove to be a much merrier memory.

Our first meal there upon striking the tarmac was a hearty pork broth in a Chinese coffee-shop. It was quite the special broth, like someone cooked Bak Chor Mee halfway then got lazy and just served the meal in the soup. It was great amidst the stifling heat of the place.

We took a three hour ride on a van to a mountainside resort near Mount Kinabalu. It had slightly cooler weather than at the airport, and the smell of the air was purer. Pure smell? What am I even saying? But if you had to take a breath, the word pure would pop up immediately.

It was certainly a world apart from the polluted roadsides in Singapore.

We realised immediately, that the whole area did not have WiFi. At first we were bummed because, let’s be honest, WiFi was like nectar to us, the bees. We buzzed about looking for it and focused a lot of energy into turning nectar into honey, Internet connection into social interaction.

The unease we felt makes for good social commentary, but we eventually got over it and just talked to each other.

We rested then walked down to the hot springs a few minutes walk away. The entire area is surrounded by flowing hills and they found a source of heat deep in the ground and so we have hot springs in the middle of tropical jungle. It’s not like the Japanese Hot Springs, the entire area is unpretentious and not totally clean.

People wear swimming trunks into individual “bathtubs” and instead of being set in stone, the entire area is tiled. Some pools had trash in them, and the smell of sulfur (similar to rotten eggs) greeted us as we neared the area.

I myself didn’t want to go in, because I never liked strange changes in water temperature. I just watched from the side and read a book as my parents and brother frolicked around and pretended to not feel any pain from the searing hot water. A mediocre dinner at the quaint resort cafe led us back to our rooms.

I taught my parents the game of Bridge during our last trip to Vietnam, and so we spent our WiFi-less night refreshing on our Bridge skills and listening to good ol’ Jack Johnson. It was such a simple holiday, one without any buzz from the outside world.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sabah, Part I: Mountains