Monday, June 13, 2011

Leeches and Whatnot

Before leaving Singapore, I decided to squeeze in one last trip with some friends. Our amazing friend Pam planned the whole trip (she also planned Cambodia), for which we were very grateful! My last round trip flight from Singapore was to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia. The purpose for this trip was to climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia. We were all prepared for leeches and cold weather and were ready to summit this peak in one day, but as I've found out during all my travels, not everything goes according to plan. There were eight of us going on the trip and in order to climb to the summit you need a guide, but a guide could only take a maximum of four people. While the obvious answer is to get two guides, that didn't work since I guess they didn't have extras to spare for us. So two of our group went to the summit on an overnight trip while the rest of us settled to just do some hiking in the rainforest.

Our main concern on our hike was leeches. We had heard so many horror stories about people hiking in the rainforest and finding these bloodsucking creatures on their feet or in other places on their bodies, and Pam's Lonely Planet guide did nothing but heighten these fears. Apparently these things can slip through the mesh on your shoes and can squish themselves flat so you don't even know they're there. They suck for a couple hours then detach if you don't find them, but you know they were there because they inject something that keeps your blood from clotting so you just keep bleeding for about an hour after they fall off. So we were NOT taking any chances when it came to leaches. We coated our socks in Tiger Balm AND sprayed them with bug spray before putting our shoes on, and made sure to stay away from any wet or muddy spots on the trail. 

After being stuck in the city of Singapore for so long, the greenness of the rainforest was a very welcome change.

It did happen to start raining and getting dark which made us worry towards the end of our trip, but it ended up just adding to our adventure. We could now say that we had been stuck in a rainstorm in the rainforest. In the end we managed to survive with only a couple scrapes, albeit a little soggy.

We rewarded ourselves with some nice, unhealthy KFC for dinner and followed it with a movie. We were really looking forward to buttery popcorn and were quite disappointed when we found out that all they had was caramel popcorn, but getting lost in Thor's blue eyes made up for it.

The next morning we checked out the market before leaving town and then it was off to the airport for my last return flight to Singapore. And even though this marked my fourth trip to Malaysia, I would not hesitate to go back!


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