Monday, February 12, 2007

Kandusang, KK, Manukan Island Resort, Feb 26, 2005

I walked up to the higher ground of the Pines Resort at 0600 hours to find the best spot to view the Mount Kinabalu. Firstly, I stopped at their viewing platform and it was strategically placed. I waited for a while hoping for a clear sky but the cloud persisted and I decided to move higher. The view was magnificent at the highest that I could go. Even thought the Kinabalu was still hidden by the cloud the whole Kundasang valley was something that I would recommend everyone to witness. It was so beautiful and I stood without moving admiring and envying the people who live nicely within the vast valley below me. The vastness of the place was so apparent in front of me. Not only that the height of Kandusang is so obvious where we stood was already high enough by Malaysia standard. Looking down on the valley was so breath taking so much so I did not want to go home. I waited for while before I did my serious photography. The limitation of cameras, especially the one that I have, is that I could not have a panoramic view captured. As always I innovated and we will find out the outcome in a day or two. I started to send a message to my family to joint me at the top. About half an hour or so they came up to join me, as usual Baqir was committed to continue sleeping. We stayed up on the hill, more like a baby mountain, for a while waiting patiently for the cloud to break, at least, long enough for us to have a complete view. Our patient was only rewarded with a brief glimpse of the tip. When we saw the tip then only we realized the size of the mountain that was hidden by the cloud. Had we any luck we would be looking at one big magnificent mountain in front of us. We Just not our day the clouds got thicker and I predicted it would be worse and few hours later I was proven right when the dense mist began to descent onto us lower then we had expected. Finally I abandoned my vigil and started to walk down. Not trying to be too disappointed I thought enough photos to finish almost a roll. I have a very good reason to come again then.
We did not know where to go for breakfast and just simply got ready for it. Our room did not come with a breakfast and we have no choice but to go out. So I brought out the Pregio into action to turn right towards Ranau. My argument since we there already in Kandusang might as well took the 20 minutes right to check out Ranau. Again Ranau is a small town snuck in a nice valley. Driving down into it already told us how wonderfully placed Ranau is. We chose Tanjung Putri restaurant for breakfast. Well actually ever since we arrived we did not actually had dinner lunch or breakfast but more of a food tasting session. We took the usual nasi lemak as well as other things that were on sale. After our morning food tasting session we drove around Ranau for a while. I continued downward just a bit more and crossed a bridge over; by any Malaysian standard qualify as one of the best picnic/family outing river location. The rock formation created a friendly rapid. The water was so clean and it was just, if you like, at the end of the town. It could not be any better than this and something that you have to travel far into the Malaysian jungle to get in the peninsular. Once again I am envious of the people of Ranau. I did not want to spend too much time there as we have and island to go to.

We checked out of the Kinabalu Pines Resorts, took a few memento sake photos and hit the road for KK. Our plan was to stop at relevant places along the way and the first one was few hundred meters away, the Kundasang vegetable stall. My wife bought some bananas while I took several shots of the place. I also stopped at one stall to buy a selection of Kundasang’s delicacies.

We were only just climbing a few hundred meters out of Kundasang when we stopped again and this time it was the Strawberry Hotel/Farm that sells among others strawberry’s ice cream and, what else, strawberry. I just stayed on the road side admiring the view. Just beside the road a mother and her son were diligently tendering their, what I think, leek garden. That was the first time I saw leek being planted. The strawberry lovers came down eventually and we pushed on towards KK. I tried to push a bit as I had time to make up. My wife asked whether we could make it to the Gaya Street Sunday market and I replied only if the van had wings. When we came to the entrance of Kinabalu Park I decided to check it out and turned right into it. At the gate we were told that we had to pay entrance fee to go in and on hearing that my entourage agreed that we skip it. So we continued our journey with the possibility only making another stop for a last call shopping at Nabalu before we reach Tamparuli.

Tamparuli is just a small town no bigger than Karak but the attraction to me was the suspension bridge, quite old but something that I wanted my children to experience, So, I purposely passed through the small town and stopped at the end of the bridge. The bridge is a walking bridge while other transportation would use the lower wooden bridge. The bridge was built so high I guess because of the elevation of the banks rather than due to flood. The other attraction to me also was the river itself. Again the river was so clear and clean. I am a liar if I did not admit that I was tempted to park the van near the river to take a dip. It was just because of time if not I would have done it. So far on this trip my associations with the places in Sabah were resorts, mountains, wildlife sanctuaries and other places of interest. To my family it was the AF participants especially AF3. So Tamparuli to them was Masha, Ranau was Felix and others that I do not know or care to remember.

We reached KK around 1300 hours and I drove around to find a good place to eat. Parking space was a commodity at that hour in KK in the end I got a bay near the wet market and took my family up to eat at the Medan Selera above it. After a quick lunch we crossed over to KK Plaza to replenish our supply of Maggi mee and I saw and bought my first whole meal bread in Sabah. That would be the only one for the whole trip. I was rushing as I wanted to catch the earliest speedboat to the Manukan Island but the others were taking their own sweet time. It was almost 1500 hours when we were at the Ferry Station the negotiation took a bit more time and in the end we have to pay around RM 250 for the 14 of us. One speedboat for 12 while Fatah and Along went with another group in a different speedboat. Manukan Island was a pleasant surprise, quite, clean and private in a way. The beach is suitable for children to play, swim and snorkel as hardly any wave came ashore. My wife and I love the chalet very much and we foresaw that won’t be the only time we would be in Manukan Island. At the ferry terminal the boat driver, Mohammad, was already selling us his snorkeling equipment and told us it would be RM 15 a set. We ignored him as we did not know the actual rental fee for such a thing there. Although he told us it would be RM 25 a piece on the island we were skeptical. When we arrived at the island he asked again and suddenly the price came down to RM 8 for the snorkel and RM5 for the life jacket. We figured what the heck we rented from him 5 sets. My son and his cousins were anxious to ask whether the island had a ASTRO receiver at the front desk and when they were told that there was in very chalet the yelled excitedly. MU was playing Wigan in the League Cup final that night. After we have checked in and prayed we immediately hit the water with the equipment and enjoyed ourselves to the maximum. I just could not believe that I was really enjoying the snorkeling. Time passed very quickly when you were enjoying yourself. We reluctantly came out of the water close to darkness and prepared ourselves for dinner and a night on the island.

Dinner was not so great but where as could we go? The next time we are going to make sure we bring enough packed or canned food along and have a cook out on the beach. The night was too slow for me while the rest of my family were enjoying themselves watching the live telecast of the Anugerah Popular Berita Harian and waiting for the final live telecast of the League Cup final I went to sleep. Sleep came very easy primarily because I was really tired because of the driving and snorkeling

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