Bonjour, I am finally back to the long abandoned Kota Kinabalu Travelogue.
The white water rafting adventure at Padas river was indeed an eye opener. Deep inside me, I was half hoping it to be slightly wilder and rougher. Nonetheless, I had my own "wild" experience with the charred epidermis at the back of shoulder. Sun burn, it was. It was not getting any better despite the pats of soothing aloe vera gel and having to put on my bra and top was yet another great challenge.
On the way to Mesilau Nature Resort
Being an early waker, my tanner half woke me up from my deep sleep at 9.34am for a quick pork noodle breakie at Kedai Kopi Melanian 3, Jalan Gaya before we resumed to our packing routine. Around 12pm, ten of us gathered at the common area at City Park Lodge, busy checking out, depositing our luggages, and recounting the things to be brought up to Mount Kinabalu. After 15 minutes, all of us were on our way to our lunch destination, Tamparuli.
Originated from this humble restoran named Restoran Wun Chiap, the one thing we must try at the town of Tamparuli was none other than the Tamparuli noodle. There was no black soy sauce but sesame oil and perhaps, pork lard. Impressed by the fragrant aroma, the good prospect was then screwed up by the texture and side dishes. Clumpy and slightly dry, it was an indication of lack of oil on the noodle (for healthy eating perhaps?); the egg was overcooked and scrambled (not presentable); the char siew was dry and so bright the red that it was horrifying. All in all, likey? Not really.
Lunch left me in slightly depressed mode, not forgetting the casual brush of the seat against my charred epidermis *winced*. Half way to Mesilau Nature Resort, it started to get drizzly and I could feel the temperature changed as we drove higher and higher. On and off I had to equalize my ears and ease myself to the changing altitude.
Construction workers paving their way through the rain
Looking outside the window, I saw construction workers walking in the drizzle and gave us a look as they moved on. I guessed they must be working on the roads and pavement. I simply couldn't imagine being out there in the coldness with the seemingly thin layer of clothes they donned on. I think they just got used to it. Slight drizzle wouldn't stop them from seeking their sole (perhaps) source of income.
The trail map of Mount Kinabalu at Kinabalu Park Headquarters
The whole journey from Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park Headquarters took us an hour and a half, excluding our pit stop at Tamparuli. When we arrived at Kinabalu Park Headquarters, it was still drizzling and we had no choice but to run inside the Headquarters for shelter. While we were waiting for another van to pick us up to Mesilau Nature Resort, my tanner half managed to buy two headlights for our climbing use at the shop nearby. Invest in a good one and you would never regret buying!
Reception at Mesilau Nature Resort
After another 20-30 minutes drive from Kinabalu Park Headquarter, we had finally arrived at Mesilau Nature Resort, with overdosage of sleepiness after intermittent short napping. We picked up the room keys and boarded the shuttle van which was then shuffled us to the next stopping area before we were left to climb.
Common area at Mesilau Nature Resort's reception
Cold, gloomy and damp, it was much attributable to the high altitude we were at and the fact that electricity will be supplied from 6pm till the next morning. Moreover, it smelled of mould and less inviting than it was initially intended to be, notwithstanding the casual welcome by the nature habitants which I am generally afraid of.
The directory of Mesilau Nature Resort
Can you spot the "Reception and Restaurant" and "Bishop's Head 1 and 2"? It was quite a distance considering the scaled down version on the board. Now, spot the "Car Park" area. It was where the shuttle van dropped us with our luggages and we had to take a short walk before we saw our rooms.
Bishop's Head 1 and 2
The walk itself was not too tasking, even though with the extra luggages my tanner half and I were dragging along in the slight drizzle. Soon, our rooms came into view. Seemingly polished, this was where we spent one night resting and chilling before the hardship entailed.
Bishop's Head 1 and 2 signboard and the hill
Well you heard me right, it was a climb but on a hill. Some whined but moved on. Nevertheless, we had to stay here for a night. I took it as an early exercise for what may awaited the next day. Six guys shared a dorm, while four girls shared another. Bunk beds, built in wardrobe, and a small table was all we had in the room. Towels, slippers and toiletries were provided. It was a humble accommodation with a price tag of RM600ish.
Ten of us at Bishop's Head 1 (Picture courtesy of Sue Lynn)
After we laid down our luggages and grunted our dismay on the availability of electricity, we decided to seek alternative entertainment, not to mention some crazy self shoot shots and music blasting from the tiny speakers from one of the guys. Eventually our boredom started to creep in and we decided to unstuck ourselves from the Bishop's Head 1 despite the drizzle.
Dewali Pinnacles of Mount Kinabalu (I guess?)
Walking down the tiny hill brought us down to the Car Park area, where we could see peaks of Mount Kinabalu. Amazed I was that I was here, so close to conquering Mount Kinabalu. The more I looked at it, the more motivated I've got. I could literally feel the adrenaline pumping in me.
Exploring Mesilau Nature Resort
Mesilau Renanthera Restaurant
We explored for what seemed to be near an hour to the different rooms and restaurants, only to find that a bar of Oreo here costed us 3-4 times more in the town. Some of them bought chips but I shall conserve my cash for more important thing tomorrow. About 6pm, we retreated to our rooms and started to warm up the heater for 10-15 minutes before it was fully functional.
Apart from the random surge of heat, heater was quite noisy. Nevertheless, it was a blessing, especially in the cold weather at 1900 metres above sea level. I had to wrap myself in two layers of clothes for fear that I would fall sick before the climb. That aside, the sink pipe did not link to the heater, hence either you brushed your teeth and washed your face with icy cold water or not at all.
Mixed broth steamboat for dinner
Thoughtful enough, our dinner was piping hot steamboat, albeit the dishes and soup weren't as spectacular back in Kuala Lumpur. It was heat that we all needed. I still remembered how yummy the garlic rice was, together with the tongue scorching hot soup. We spent few hours enjoying our hot dinner until we were all bloated.
Back in the Bishop's Head 1, my tanner half wasn't feeling well, hence he slept earlier while the rest of us were busy packing for tomorrow and charging our gadgets, cameras etc. I must say the plug points were pretty handful but just that they were all placed at the common area. Mineral water was provided but it did not last me long enough. Luckily electric kettle and glasses were provided.
While waiting for my handphone to be fully charged, I studied my CFA Level II. Soon, the rest joined me, so was my boyfriend who was awaken by our laughter. It was a good night of sharing and we all had fun knowing some little things about one another before we mutually agreed to hit the sack for the day ahead.
Back in my bunk bed, I could still feel the icy coldness surrounding me despite wrapping myself in two layers, and another layer of blanket. I found myself hard to fall asleep due to the temperature and uneasiness in sleeping in a new place. Somehow I dozed off.