Jesselton City: Temporary Refuge

We started off the third day in KK early. The plan is to empty out our service apartment because we will be spending the night in Mesilau Rest House - where the initial hike up to the summit shall commerce. We start hiking tomorrow! FOL.

All these talks about beautiful villages and beaches kinda made you forget the real reason we are here for.... The dreaded hike T__T

Once we have got all our stuff packed, we were split into 2 groups. First group of 5 (including Wilson) will follow Wilson's 4WD whereas the rest is dumped unceremoniously into a minivan with Naem as our driver. I suppose it's going to be a long and bumpy ride so the bus isn't going to be convenient. The ride to our first stop, Tamparuli will take about an hour plus from Kota Kinabalu.

Tamparuli is a small town situated somewhere off the KK-Sandakan road, thus making it a convenient place to stop by for meals for travelers making their way to KK. The name Tamparuli, sounds almost like 'temporary' is because a long hanging bridge which the angmohs refer to it as being a 'temporary' bridge but somehow the locals translate it to the name of the small town.

On the road, TY interrogated Wilson on this building called the Tun Mustapha Tower (formerly known as Sabah Foundation Building). I'm not sure why it's famous and all but apparently it's the tallest building on the Borneo island. That's not all, the 30-storey glass building is built on cores of high-tensile steel rods. This method is only used by four buildings in the world and the Tun Mustapha Tower is one of them. Hmm.. learn something new everyday, don't we?

Photo stolen from TY. Again.

We reached Tamparuli some time close to 10 I think. Wilson brought us to this little shop owned by Sabahan Chinese which is known for their handmade egg noodles.

Quiet small town.

All of us were starving by then with only some snacks to coax the stomachs during the long drive. I ordered a dry (or fried) version of the egg noodles. With an extra egg.

Verdict? As plain and normal as any fried noodles can get lol. Over hyped me thinks but I suppose it wouldn't be fair to put this innocent handmade egg noodles to be judged alongside other Penang mouth-watering street food as benchmarks.

So the fried egg noodles is very de yum!

Wilson also convinced us to try another one of their specialties... steamed pumpkin buns. Again, I don't find the attraction of this yellow bread although it is pretty soft la.

After paying for our meals, we walked along the row of shops, buying and adding last minute stuff for our hike like plastic ponchos, Adidas kampung shoes and more snacks. Then we are on our way again, this time to another small town called Nabalu.

The darn mountain looming in a treacherous manner, giving us a stern reminder of the hike that we will soon undertake T__T

Drive from Tamparuli to Nabalu took us an additional half hour to an hour I think. There is a look out point where we were dropped off to take pictures of the majestic mountain and camwhore.

Magnificent. Its peak rising tall above the fluffy white clouds.

Another self-capture. Sorry la but seriously you see very little photos of me (if taken from my camera. You see loads more than normal of me in the Kinabalu posts coz I curi loads of photos from TY). I think it is ridiculous to stand and pose with every single landmark as the background. I just don't find it right to flip through pictures and see my face in every single shot with only the background shifting and changing.
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Group picture with our drivers hehe. They were heavily influenced by our abrupt and sudden cheers of so-called motivation, "Yeay!" ROFL. When we took this photo also Wilson and Naem yeay-ed.

Seriously, can you imagine climbing up something that high up?? Getting the jitters d.

After a couple of shots I gave up because my stomach wasn't feeling too good and I ran off to find the public restroom hehe. Paid 30 cents to enter and dump a load there before coming out again to explore the stalls that are set up nearby selling souvenirs and whatever junk you can imagine.

Bought some beaded bracelets for colleagues and also a hiking stick! Hiking stick costs RM4. Sturdy and 'adjustable' hand grip lol. You adjust your own hands to grip the stick la. Anyway all of the stuff here are tagged with exorbitant prices. Don't be dumb and pay them in full! Prices are totally negotiable, up to 75% off -___-

Hopped into the minivan again and we proceed to the next touristy destination, the Poring Hot Springs. Before that, feed the tourists first.

Random tortoise.

Not in the mood for any more noodles/ rice, I ordered a grilled chicken meal.

Our meals took so long to arrive with long intervals between individual orders. Some finish eating oredy then only another started eating. Even our table's order for Coke also take super long to arrive. Maybe they need to hike, get on a boat and wade through hot springs to get their hands on the damned cans lol. Anyway the gravy on my grilled chicken a tad salty but fills me up anyway.

Since all of us were well-fed, we think it's not wise to celup and rendam ourselves in the hot springs. So we decided to walk around first and get on the suspended bridge.

A quick stop by the hot springs for whoever feeling tired and not interested in the canopy walk. This top picture is not really the place where the public can use and soak themselves. The actual 'hot springs' are more like little tubs meant for 3-4 people to squeeze in.

The rest of us got into the jungle and Evan started herping immediately lol.

Doing the Zi Xiang large fake grin pose.


Everywhere also must pose! The canopy walk took us 15 minutes to complete, not exactly a very long one but sufficient to snap some pictures overlooking the forest. It was a bit hard for me to appreciate the beauty of the forest because the day was getting increasingly warm and I must have been tired from the day at the beach before.

Hahahahah. Cannot tahan this picture. Die Die must pose.

Even when we were done with the canopy walk, Evan requested to explore another section of the forest. Wilson brought us into another trail, saying that this road is only going straight ahead. Lying! lol. Later on we started hiking up and down (there goes my plan to save energy for the hike FML) when we saw this beautiful waterfall.

Water is very clear and cooling. Splash some on my face and soak my feet to refresh.

Mau balik baru nak tangkap gambar dengan welcoming sign tu. It was already close to 5 when and Wilson gathered all of us so we can quickly head over the Mesilau Nature Park. Just as we were about to get into our 4WD/minivan, Evan tiba-tiba hopped and snatched at an overhanging branch. Endemic snake discovered! Lol.

Proud Daddy.

Little snake is soooo cute! See how its tongue seems to be resisting some kind of invisible strong wind.

When Evan caught it and the group made a scene taking photographs of it, the locals are mostly concerned with what we were going to do with the snake. They left us alone only when we convinced them that we only want to photograph them. The locals totally respect the nature.

We made a quick stop at a local supermarket for a real last-minute shopping. I got myself some AA batteries for my camera (the damn rechargeable ones lose power darn quick in the cold!) and 100 Plus isotonic drink. Evan failed in persuading me to buy this hideous looking checkered shirt dress with gruesome frills for sleeves and a butterfly necklace. For our steamboat dinner that night lol.

Then we were cracking infinite lame jokes in the van lol. It started with *ahem* someone passing gas when a food trolley is just being pushed behind him rofl. The lame jokes evolved to making the steamboat stove fire ablaze by passing gas on it lol. Then Wei Inn will 'lor and lor' and everyone will think the special fume emitted by the fire to be entirely mountain-related.

More shots on the mountains T____T

Uphill we go on and on. The Mesilau Rest House is at 2000m above sea level so it gets pretty cold on the way up! Temperatures reach 18 degrees Celcius I think. Rough estimation.

And Mesilau we reach!

Soon after checking in, (so c-o--oooo-ld!) got hold of our luggages, we lugged them uphill cos our rest house is higher up T_T. Took a shower (the rest house, thank goodness has a heater) and put on an extra layer of jacket. The cold left us all feeling hungry! We need food to fuel our bodies for the hike tomorrow!

Steamboat! I think every place high above the sea level sure must have steamboat... Cameron Highlands, Maxwell... lol. But I suppose it's one of the most convenient way to have a meal. Self service, and minimal preparations required.

We panicked slightly at the mediocre amount of food laid out on our table. Cannot be enough, some more those lifeguards are heavy eaters. A quick message to Wilson solved matters lol. Bless the fella. Another plate of fried rice came bobbing towards our table and I just carbo load. Debbie, a friend from gym advised that I take in as much carbohydrates as possible on the night before the hike. This apparently is followed by triathletes to stock up their bodies with energy.

Steamboat friends, meat slices, shrimps, noodles, eggs to be cooked in optional clear soup or tomyum.

I know I had tonnes of veggie hehe. Fibre fibre! My best friend.

Service is a bit slow because the cafe is understaffed. I think I only see 2-3 waiters serving 30 people or so?

After dinner, Wilson passed around a piece of photocopied paper on the Mount Kinabalu trail. He then briefed us on what to expect on the hike, advises us to take our time, porter charges and finally told us to get up early the next day for breakfast and we shall start hiking around 8:30 in the morning.

Our group trudged back into our rest house, all hugging their jackets tightly heheheh. Once we got back to our dorm, major consolidation (favorite word on the trip) takes place with all our things over the whole dorm. On the beds, hanging by bedstand, on the floor... you get the picture. I kept on checking and double checking my check list on things I want to bring on the first day of hike and also stuff I need for the night hike (to summit). After about an hour or two (can't tell the difference any more) of packing and repacking, we have 3 large rucksacks worth of consolidated items fit for 11 persons use on Laban Rata.

Feeling extremely tired, right after a hot cup of Milo all of us dozed off... oblivious to the grueling hike that awaits...

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