Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fast and Furious and Live To Ride at Metrade

Last weekend, we visited a car show exhibition at Matrade Convention Centre, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.  Many cars and motorcycles were displayed in the hall and a few cars were available outside for test drive.  Since we have Maybank ATM and credit cards, we were allowed to enter the hall for free.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baywatch at Legend Hotel, Cherating

Each year, my family and I will spend our break away from the hectic work to Cherating.  Since we got a membership from Legend Hotel, the stay was free and we were given a room that has a nice view of open beach.  At night, some families enjoyed themselves making barbecue outside the room.  The winds blew from shore made us fully enjoyed and excited.  Many walked at the beach especially the couples...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heat in Bandung at Mt Tangkuban Perahu

In 2009, I went to Bandung, Indonesia.  I brought along my wife, kids and parents.  Bandung is a popular city for tourists and the main spot to do shopping and golfing.  One of the places we visited was a volcano mountain called Tangkuban Perahu  It is a dormant volcano located 30 km north of Bandung city.  We went there by a van.  The mountain got its name Tangkuban Perahu because from the view from Bandung city, the volcano has a shape of an upside down boat.  The word “Perahu” in English is a boat.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mt Kinabalu- Part 5 – Low’s Peak “Are we there yet?”

The journey to Low’s Peak was scheduled at 2.30 am.

At 1.30 am, we woke up and cannot dare to take a bath since the water was so cold.  I just quickly clean myself with wet towel and changed to a proper attires and gears to start the journey to Low’s Peak.  We took a quick pre-breakfast first to consume some energy but my advice do not eat a lot because you may carry extra load in your stomach and there would be hard to do a ‘nature call’ in the dark.  

 An hour later the Chief Potter told us that the trip to Low’s Peak may be cancelled because outside, the morning was still raining.  Some of us were very upset especially for those who eager to climb. I saw international tourist hikers were unhappy with the call.  I sat closely to the window and can hear the sound of winds smashing the wooden wall and windows. 
Luckily, the day was in our side, our pray and hope were heard.  40 minutes later, the rain stopped and we were told that we can climb to the peak.  The watch showed the time was 3.20 am.  The Potter briefed us that all hikers must take extra pre-caution because of wet surface and slippery.   Especially after 1KM up after you reach the end of wooden ladder, the terrain would be rock surface.   The visibility was poor and deteriorated by the thick mist.   It is important to bring along headlamp instead of torch light because you need to use both of your hands to grab the rope.  

We switched on our headlamp and slowly climbed up the wooden ladder like a moving train.  The climbing with each step up the ladders was very tiring, after took a few steps, I felt so tired and I had to sit down for a while to catch my breath.  The heart was pumping heavily and it was so difficult to breath.  Now I remembered that when I did medical check-up, the Doctor has warned me the highest you climb, you will be very easy to get tired because the oxygen in the air gets thinner and thinner.

I sat next to my colleague, Zain and both of us felt so regret to volunteer ourselves to join the journey to Mt Kinabalu.  Then, we saw our most senior friend and few female hikers slowly overtook us.  I told Zain that it would be ashamed if we cannot reach to the peak and were beaten by them.

After we had reached to the end of the wooden ladders, there were a rope attached to the ground and the Potter advised us to hold tight the rope while climbing and never let it go.  At this point, the climbing was on the open rockface.  It was like a movie Mission Impossible 2.

I was hardly to see because it was still dark and mist.    I started to grab and hold the rope and start climbing.  Then a few steps further, it stepping ground became steeper and hardly to stand your feet to the ground, it felt like the stepping edge is only 2-3 inches. 
At 5.45 am, we reached Sayat-Sayat check point after tiredly crawling and many resting for oxygen and water.  We showed our name tag to be checked at the registration counter to allow us to continue climbing to the peak.  The Low’s peak is still 1.2 KM in front us and the ground become even steeper and ascent.  Luckily they provide a rope for the hikers to hold on until reach to the top. 

At another 300 metres more to climb, the wind was so strong and the temperature was so freezing.  Some of us sheltered within the rocks to avoid the chilly wind.  Finally after an hour straight climbing, around 7.00 am, I managed to reach to Low’s Peak.  The feel was so different and greatest ever in my life that I complete the quest finally.  I never thought I can go this far to conquer Mt Kinabalu and to put my feet on the top of Low’s Peak.    

Just to share some unbelievable experience, one of our potters was sitting quietly 10 metres from the peak to note our name if we had reached to the top.  When I stepped next to him, he whispered to me asking my name.  I saw him covering his face and wore a sun glass, saw his body shaking freezing from the cold weather.  I smiled to him and told my name and asked him what time he had waited for us there.  He told me since 4 am.  It means that the potter only took 1 hour to climb from Laban Rata to the Low’s Peak.  I took 2.5 hours to reach the top.…wow.

The sad thing was we were unable to experience to watch the glimpse of sunrise because of thick mist and dark cloud.  I told that the view of sunrise on the top of Mt Kinabalu was beautiful.

After taking some photos, I climbed down before the whole mountain covered by mist.  The climbing down was so easy but so difficult because I has slipped a few times because of ground was wet and slippery.  The time was 8.30 am and the visibility became clearer.  Now, I realised why I had a hard time to climb noticing how steep the rock surface is.  I also cannot believe that I managed to overcome my fear of height.  I can see the whole Sabah from the top.  The spectacular view from the top was so amazing and it felt like you are in heaven.

At 9.30 am, I reached back at the guest house and packed my things.  I have a second breakfast at 10.30 am.  This round I requested and paid the potter to carry my hiking bag because my body begging me not to carry the bag.  I paid him MYR50.  I also bought a wooden pole because my hiking pole was damaged to due overused to balance my weigh during descending from Low’s Peak.  

I trekked down back to Timpohon Gate alone.  I walked very fast until all my group left far behind me.  At the junction between routes from Mesilau and Timpohon Gate, I did not take any rest until I stepped my feet at Timpohon Gate.  My advice is do not trek down alone and get a few buddy to descending together.    While I descending alone, there were many occasions I got the feeling of a presence of someone or a thing watching me.  It felt very scary and I hope no bad thing would emerge before my eyes.  Looking back when I was descending from Mt Angsi, I was caught in shook when a big black snake suddenly showed up in front of me and creeping toward me.  I screamed and turned my back and run as quickly I can until bumped with my other friend. 

Finally at 3 pm, I managed to reach Timpohon Gate alone.  I was the second person of my group to reach there. Some of my friends were still climbing down.  It was drizzling and I just sat tiredly there and later we were taken by a shutter van to the Mt. Kinabalu Resort Restaurant.  We took our lunch there and waited for the whole team to regroup.

At 7 pm, all team members have regrouped at the restaurant.  One of our team had to be carried down by 4 potters because she had a knee injury.  The cost of carrying her from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate cost her MYR1000.  It took 4 potters to carry her down.   Another team member was also injured half way and she did not want the potters to carry her and his boyfriend had to shoulder her all the way to Timpohon Gate.  I saw her cried face and it was so painful for her to climb down by one foot.

Finally we went to Poring Hot Water Resort for a night and have our dinner there.  There was a small ceremony to award our success in climbing up to Mt. Kinabalu.  We were given a Certificate, the best part is that if you success to climb to the Low’s Peak, your certificate would be in colour and if you climb half way to Laban Rata or to Sayat-Sayat, your certificate would be in black and white.

Last and not least, I enjoyed myself even it was very painful experience.  It was an unbelievable and wonderful experience.  But I will admit now that I will not do it again.  Once is enough.  Your all should try if you feel that your stamina is still strong.

Thank you for reading my journey to Mt. Kinabalu.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mt Kinabalu - Part 4-Laban Rata “Coolest Night Stop”

Finally after 10 hours stretching my steps for nearly 7.5 KM ascending to Laban Rata, at 6.30 pm, I managed to reach the rest house at Laban Rata.   Laban Rata will be our quick night stop to rest and sleep before summit to Low’s Peak.  There will be another 2.5KM to Low’s Peak from Laban Rata.

First thing was to eat, the cold temperature made me very hungry.  The foods provided by the rest house were so good.  There was variety of foods to choose.  Once the stomach full, I collect the room key and headed to my hostel room. They provided double decker beds.

I was so tired and my legs and body was too exhausted.  I rested and slept from 7 pm to 1.30 am. I can feel my legs hurting like mad.  It felt like a thousand needles stitching violently on your knees and ankles.  The body was torn up to pieces.  I cannot sleep well since the weather was so cool even there was a hitter in the room.  
It was raining and drizzling the whole night.  I did not take a shower since there was not hot water.  The water was so cool.  I just wash my face and brushed my teeth.  Even I took my ‘wuduk’ to pray also was very painful, the water was so cool and I felt that like being electrocuted.

While resting, suddenly I woke up hearing a commotion outside.  It was learned that two of our team group were still at KM6 and one of them cannot walk anymore because it was raining heavily.  The time showed at 7.20 pm and it started to get dark.  I heard that Aw our team leader rushed to help our poor friend.  Three of them managed to reach the guest house at Laban Rata at 9 pm. 

One of our friends also cannot climb to the top because he received a call from his wife that his father passed away.  He needed to fly back to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

My 2 cents opinion, if you can, try to stay overnight at rest house at Laban Rata after you climbed from Timpohon Gate or Mesilau Gate.  Once you get a full rest and relief your pain muscle, than you can continue on the next morning to climb to the peak.  3 out 30 hikers from our team did not manage to reach Low’s Peak because cannot stand the very cool temperature, got cramped legs due to long day trekking from Mesilau Gate and the third which is the most critical is that the hiker must reach Sayat-Sayat check point before 7 am because the rule states if you reach Sayat-Sayat check point after 7 am, the gate keeper would not allow you to continue your climbing to Low’s Peak.

Coming soon....Finale Episode .... Part 5 - Low's Peak  "Are we there yet"