Monday, June 1, 2015

Mt Kota Kinabalu, Fairies and Taylor Swift.

I'd never imagine myself climbing a mountain ever...EVER. I'm completely not sporty at all, I'm adventurous at times but not to the level of wanting or desiring to fly out of singapore to climb a freakin mountain. But thats what I did... and I have LOTS  to say about this like many weeks before this I was trying to train for this trip but I ended up falling sick and how I was completely freaking out about what shoes to wear because what if I wore the wrong pair and I ended up breaking my ankles or slipping off the mountain completely. And really, WHAT do people wear to climb a mountain? These questions NEVER crossed my mind before. I was completely anxious the night before. It was so intense I felt like I was going for an exam that I didn't prepare for. 

But before that, lets take a deep breath and look at some cloud photos. 

Beautiful isn't it. 

I was completely at peace with everything and everyone at that point of time because when you're faced with such a beautiful sight, nothing really matters. Not even the China lady that shoved her elbow into your face on the plane, not even the due date for the project that I haven't even started, NOTHING mattered. Not even the fact that I was wearing Crocs and my socks were soggy and my hair was in a mess and I have a huge pimple on my lip, nothing mattered.  

This was my spot, at 6am in the morning, just shivering and breathing in all this high mountain air and embroidering this sight, being fully present (and with no wifi) But first, I think I should explain the Crocs: I absolutely had no choice. These were house slippers provided by the lodge, and can I add that they're SO comfortable and the grip is SO good, I was like a ninja in crocs, leaping off rocks and tree roots, jumping across puddles of water just to get from the lodge to this serene spot to watch the sunrise. 

2 hours later, I'm done with Cloud piece. I was freezing. and for some scientific nature reason, the clouds were loosing its fluffiness bit by bit (see right side of photo), so I had to quickly stitch as fast as I could so I could snap a photo with the fluffiness. I was so happy being alone, sitting at the edge listening to Taylor Swift because it was the only thing on my iTunes on my phone because I bought the album when she took it off Spotify, but anyway... happiest moment of my life. 

But how did I get up here? 

Its one journey that I'll NEVER forget. As much as I was dreading the climb, the night before I was quite excited because I mean, how difficult can it get? Children and old ladies have climbed this. It might be a stroll in a park, a LONG stroll with friends with happy camping food right? NO. Hell no. It was mental training, it needs physical strength and also lots and lots of determination. 10mins after we started, I was like "hmm yeah this feels nice, using leg muscles whoohoo, no sweat" 20mins later I was like "OMG CAN I PLEASE CLIMB DOWN NOW, I CANT DO THIS". Honestly, I really wanted to give up...I saw an old man climbing down and I was like "hey where are you going? Are you giving up? its too crazy right!?!? Can I join you, I'll go down with you!" And he's like "oh no, I climbed up all the way yesterday so now i'm just making my way back down" and my heart just sunk to a whole new level.

I realised that theres no other way, I JUST have to do it. Step by step. Groan by groan. I was complaining the WHOLE way, muttering under my breath like "argh omg, i can't do this, my soul is leaving my body, i'll die here, thats it, i can feel my life slipping away, friends....goodbye." but my friends were so supportive they fed me granola bars and apples and they kept cheering me on. 

Anyway heres a list of things I noticed and thought about on my hike up and down:

1) Before the trip, as I was fussing about what shoes to wear...whilst climbing I realised that it really doesn't matter. You can even climb this mountain in Converse or even crocs for that matter. Theres no need to get really good mountain boots or shoes. I hiked up with my friend's army military boots which helped A LOT, but there were lots of people in normal sneakers and they were much faster and agile than I was .

2) "Winners never quit and Quitters never win". Keep chanting this and you'll reach the peak in no time.

3) There was a point of time when I was SO tired and I thought it was impossible to complete the rest of the hike up, but after that plunge of energy...there was this sudden renewed adrenaline that surged through me and allowed me to zoom up the rest of the mountain. I didnt even know where this extra strength came from. I was talking to the trees and the rocks on the way up, maybe they realised that I was their ally. 

4) Be one with Nature. 

5) Crazy things happen when you're on Survivor Mode.  Never underestimate yourself. 

6) I swear theres an elevator somewhere in the mountain that takes you all the way up. I kept tapping on rocks and odd looking stones, maybe if I had the right sequence like *tap tap tap...tap tap* the magical rock will open up and two fairies will fly next to me and say "welcome chosen one" and take me into the rocks and lead me all the way up to the summit where I'll be sipping tea and having cookies whilst I wait for my friends to make their way up. 

But of course that didn't happen. But it didn't stop me from talking and tapping the rocks and making friends with strange leaves because what if they're fairies. 

7) Imagine this: you're tired, its raining, your socks are soaked, your thighs are aching, you just want to make your way down back to civilisation and wifi, but you seem to be going round and round in circles, seeing the same tree, the same curve, the same plant the same route again and again. You're stuck in Mystical Forest. That was what happened exactly, except that I am exaggerating a little. 

The climb down was SO monotonous, everything was the same, the scenery was the same, the trees were the same. We felt like we were going round and round and round in circles with the same taylor swift song going on and on. It was raining so hard that the rain drops actually hurt my skin. But just imagine that you're really stuck in the forest, what would you do? That really scared me. 

8) But before I forget, there were old men and young boys as young as 16 carrying 30kg of load up the mountain at TOP SPEED. I found it extremely amazing. Where do they get so much strength from!? And wow, that determination. Its a completely good way. 

(just btw, bragging rights, my friend Pea and I were the first to make it to the lodge) 

feel like I've reached a new level, I mean...I've never experienced whats it like to be drenched in sweat AND rain water and the kind of smell it produces as it dries on your skin and the kind of sticky and grimy feeling it leaves. To have a group of friends whom you can be completely comfortable being smelly and natural with, to snore and look completely unglamorous and know its ok. 

This piece is for you guys : Pea, Sherry, Nick, Mabel, Tim, Amanda and Giff.

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