• Painting Memories • Past & Present • For the Future •
A Decade of Mount Kinabalu: Going Places (Part 4 of 4)
This is the last part to this four parts article. Part 3 of this article can be found here.
With a heavy heart, we left the Little Hut. The rain clouds were beginning to set in, so we made haste and proceeded to our next destination hoping that the weather will maintain.
We made our way to Desa Cattle, which was conveniently situated along our journey. I have been a constant visitor to this farm since I started my love affair with Mount Kinabalu.
Desa Cattle has seen a lot of changes throughout the year. Years ago, from a simple farm that produces milk until today, a fully commercialized area that even has souvenir stalls, food products made with Desa Milk and even a calf and goat feeding and petting area.
Once everyone was satisfied molesting the cows and the goats, we started making our way to our next destination for some souvenirs: The souvenir market of Nabalu.
The souvenir market at Nabalu offers plenty of souvenirs to choose from. If the stalls were arranged into one single file, I would bet it would stress more than a mile long. Here, it is a normal practice to get into bargaining for the best price with the stall keepers.
After quickly getting our souvenirs (it was already beginning to drizzle at that point), our stomach started crying for attention. Unfortunately, the one and only non-halal coffee shop in that area was not opened. Without wasting time, we got into our van and continued our journey, keeping our eyes peeled for any interesting looking place to eat.
There were many stalls that we drove past, most looked as if they have already closed since it was already way past lunch time. Our hopes of finding a place to eat while driving along this mountain stretch was slowly diminishing. Then out of the sudden, as if through some divine intervention, a big green structure that screamed “MAKAN HERE!” (makan means eating in Malay) appeared in front of us with its big bright yellow sign which was quite impossible to miss. (It is located some 15-minutes driving pass junction to Ranau by-pass road, going towards Tambunan.
The owner of the place who also happens to be the chef gave us a very dazzling show of cookery. This is a trait that skillful chinese cooks have in common; their ‘kungfu’ with the wok. The picture of him above, gloriously handling the wok with such intense yet beautiful flame just to prepare a simple baby kailan dish!
Some of the delicious food that we ordered (clockwise from top-left): Herbal Chicken Soup, Soy Vinegar Pork Leg, Fried Chicken Wings, Baby Kailan in Garlic sauce. Guess which one of his dishes was our favourite? The Baby Kailan in garlic sauce! It was so good that we ordered it a second time!
Needless to say, all of us were stuffed till our throats. Never did we imagine we would have such a fulfilling lunch in such a predicament. After our late lunch, we continued our journey back to Kota Kinabalu City. Borneo Backpackers has always been my choice of affordable accommodation in KK. After tidying ourselves up, we wasted no time and walked (still with our legs screaming in pain) to the nearest shopping mall The Suria Sabah, followed by dinner at Welcome Seafood Restaurant.
Wendy was crowned the Queen of Crap Crab!
After a good night’s rest, we were ready to continue our journey. Getting up in the wee hours of the morning around 4 am so that we can make it to Beaufort (2 hours drive) in time for breakfast and most importantly, to catch the train to Tenom.
The train ride itself is one of the highlights of the journey as it is the oldest serving and last good-old-fashion steam-powered train in South East Asia. Sadly, the weather has again ruined our plans. The heavy rain last night has flooded many parts of the track and has rendered the tracks impassable. This was really disappointing especially to me. I have been on this train once before, and the old-fashioness of the train was really amazing; sitting on the steps of the train with the doors wide open watching everything go by, villages by villages, waving to half-naked little children playing watching the passing train, making conversation with the old lady selling food and other tidbits in the train are among many other interesting things that one can never experience on a modern train.
Determined not to let our plans be ruined, we decided to drive to Tenom ourselves. Why not, since we have a van! The drive to Tenom took 2 grueling hours going through any oil-palm plantations and many hilly areas, not exactly a scenic drive. Finally we arrived at Tenom and I immediately went to have another love affair. The love of coffee!
As the water boils and evaporates, the steam makes its way to the upper compartment, mixing with the coffee grounds. Upon mixing, the steam is converted back into liquid form, and from its weight, makes its way back to the lower compartment as coffee. How does it taste? Gin tastes like dry water. Syphon coffee tastes like dry coffee, the water is there but it leaves a dry after flavour in the mouth. Very interesting.
Foo Lim cafe is always my go to place for breakfast. Their kueh tiaw is always served with generous amount of roasted pork that is three-times thicker sliced that those in cities and a charcoaled aroma that beats any other.
It was back to reality, after a 6 days of love affair. A 10th anniversary love affair. Will I be back to have another affair with Mount Kinabalu? I think the right question to ask is, “Why not?”. I hope that one day I would be able to bring my son (currently 11 years old) to climb the mountain with me. I pray that my knees has not failed me by then.
Apart from Mount Kinabalu, I have a keen interest in climbing Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia next. Although not as high as Mount Kinabalu, the fact that Rinjani has a lake crater from an active volcano is enough to excite the soul!