“Good luck.” – “why?” – “You will see…”Singapore, Nov 7th, 2011

I arrived late Friday night in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia but the first words at the hostel got my attention. “Take your shoes off!” Lucy said. Lucy is running Lucy’s Homestay hostel and “running it” is the right word. It’s a bit like going back in time when parents told us what to do and what not to do – “4 pieces of bread for breakfast, not more!!!”. On the other side Lucy takes care, provides information and is worried about its guest, like Eva, who suffered since several days. When she was better on Sunday she joined me on the trip to the mountain lodge near the national park entrance. The constant weather change clearly proved that this is not at sea level anymore but 1500m up. The dogs and locals also were much different than the KFC customers in Kota Kinabalu.

Early next morning I started for my 2 day climb up the highest mountain of South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu at 4095m. It’s obligatory to have a guide but it’s free to join up with others. Celine and Didier, a French couple, were happy to take me along and share the costs. Honestly, I was surprised about their openness, usually the French like to stay among themselves, mostly because of the missing English. It might sound hard but it’s a perception of one year world travelling and confirmed by many other travellers.

Anyway, at the main gate I doubted the timing, 4 to 7 hours for 6km to the lodge. Never ever. Celine took the lead and did everything to prove me right. 3km after 1,5 hours, easy we thought. However, we were sweating hard and the other 3km did not get easier. Always steps, some by nature, some man made, different in height and without any brake in between. It got hard, it got harder and the people coming down smiled at us. “Good luck.” they said and when asking why they responded “you will see.” We did see. It took 5 hours to reach the lodge, meaning another 3,5 hours for the second 3km and tired is the minimum we were upon arrival. I can not imagine how the porters can carry all the gear up this step but even harder to imagine how tourists can give them actually suitcases to put on their wooden boards……

But hey, only 300m of altitude more to walk at night and we will see a great sunrise. That in mind we had good food, enjoyed conversations about travels and adventures and went to bed early, without a shower as water is limited up here.

2:30 am a line of flashlights began to crawl up the mountain. Again hard steps and steep elevations, it was hard and cold on top of it. Just before sunrise the 3 of us made it to the peak and enjoyed a fantastic sunrise and view over Borneo.

Ok, great, hard work up and now the reward. Fine with me. But now we had to go all that down again. The first hour back to the lodge was still ok and followed by a nice breakfast. But the 6km back to the park head quarters were killing. The only enjoyment was our “good luck” to the tourists going up. At half time I said good bye to my French partners , got really angry at this mountain and proved wrong all the smart advise on trekking. Instead of slowly and steady I put in “Frank’s angry gear” and started running. 36 minutes for 3km, another 2km to my lodge in the rain and it was done. Wow. I have to say that as a pure tourist thing I find the effort too hard for the reward but as I practiced for my upcoming Nepal trekking with Gabor it was alright. Back in Kinabalu town I treated myself like a champ, smile. Despite the pain I noticed a couple of interesting developments in this part of the world, man urinating against glass walls with gardens behind, hotels that advertise NON smoking rooms available and the popularity of restaurants offering internet at the table. Great, it would be terrible if you had to miss out on Facebook while having dinner.

As my legs still felt sore the next day I decided to take another stay at Hotel David in Singapore before going to Nepal. That he makes me go running I did not expect but it actually helped my recovery. So did the good food we had, the movies we went to and the cute cat they got in the meantime. Monday, November 7th I was ready again, this time for Nepal and Gabor. Thanks David and Deborah.

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  • Hendrik says:

    Hallo Frank, schön mal wieder einen Bericht von Dir zu lesen. Na dann hoffe ich mal, das Training war OK für Nepal – ich bin schon jetzt auf Deinen Bericht darüber gespannt.
    Beste Grüße & halt die Ohren steif.

    • frank4444 says:

      ja und jetzt sind es schon wieder 3 Wochen seit dem letzten post aber ich sitze am neuesten. dachte oft an dich in den Bergen. Tschau FRANK

  • Stephen says:

    Nice pics, especially of sunrise from the top. I’ve really gotta get back to Sabah and have a go at that mountain!

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