Weekend getaway

The thing about traveling is to open up a new horizon.

I’ve traveled to few countries, be it for work requirement or leisure. Both has its own satisfaction and limitation – time. When it comes to work, you spent more than half of your time there for the work and focus to get it done in a shorter period as to adhere to stay period. So it might be you have all the time on Saturday or Sunday if you’re there for more than a week, or night time, if you go there for a shorter span of time.

When my wife asked if we can go with her family for a two day trip to Kota Kinabalu, I didn’t take time to plan and all. I’ve been longing for a vacation, or at least running away from the duress of my day job. It’s gonna be a no-brainier trip and all I have to do is just drive. I do enjoy a long drive, especially at night.

So the trip started Friday night, by boarding the ferry Wawasan Perdana first, which took at least 2-hours (including waiting for the vessel to depart), then proceed with driving for 2 hours more before we reach Kota Kinabalu. The experience this time doesn’t fit with my expectation. I guess we now have more morons with driving license (tailing very close to my rear is not cool, asshole) and some wannabe whom fitted high capacity HID light to their stock up shitty car. By the time I reached Kota Kinabalu, my eyes soar and a light headache.

Traders pushing cart-Tuaran, Sabah

The next morning, we gathered and headed to Tuaran for breakfast. It was early in the morning, probably at 7 am. The road still clear, the cold breeze and the smell of the highway. Some shops already operating, some just arrived to pack things up, some just hang around because they forget to fix the time zone when they bought a watch from eBay. I inspected the car before we go for another hours of driving. I sense there’s a problem with the transmission.

View of Mount Kinabalu. Sabah, Malaysia

Driving up the mountain was a grueling experience. The power loss the car’s having resulted from what I can assume as a crack on the piping system – only I wasn’t sure where. The pressure didn’t ‘kick back’ perfectly, thus the extra work on the engine. Imagine climbing a steep hill behind an 18-wheels fully loaded and shifting option limited to first and second gear. Move to the third, and the car lost it.

Kg Luanti Baru, Ranau specialty is the fish massage. The exact location need you to be aware of the small signboard and an extra guts to hit the brake and disappoint the driver behind you. After 3 hours of driving, a U-turn shall be dismissed from your dictionary of driving. Or maybe there are more but we just went to the popular spot. Time was not on my favor.

The price for 15 minutes session is MYR5 for foot massage only and add another MYR5.00 if you’re going for total body ‘massage’. There are different types of fishes that will be your masseuse. The experience? It’s like a cat rubbing its head on your leg, and some fishes will bite your skin (or dead skin?) with its small sharp tooth. If you’re going to capture the memory with your camera, pay another MYR 3 fee. You will get a small pack of fish food to lure the fish to you, but if you just stay long enough at one spot, the fishes will come and swarm your feet (or body if you pay for full ‘massage’). After the 15 minutes time, you can go to the other end of the river (yes, it’s a river, not a pond. The fishes tend to stay at their original habitat and will return home even if there’s a flood and spill ’em out of their ‘home’) and enjoy your time there free of charge. There’s also a karaoke set and visitors can sing their heart out with a minimal fee of MYR 1 and the money will be donated to the local student fund. Snacks also available on the spot and there’s a hanging bridge for posterity purpose. It doesn’t connect places, it’s just there so you can go up, take pictures and post it on Facebook with corny captions. Really, it’s just there for you to take picture.

Traders packing souvenirs. Kundasang, Sabah

Spent a few hours there and called it a day around 12 noon. We headed to Ranau town for lunch. The town grown bigger in the number of shops and businesses, and parking space is limited, although it’s everywhere. It’s a good sign of growing economy although the scarcity of parking space is in fact a bitter reality. I’ve been driving since early in the morning. Period.

There’s a new route that bypass the mountain heading straight to Kota Belud. After you drive passed Sabah Park, there’s a junction with big signboard with “Kota Belud-Ranau” on it. (Duh) Take the route and it will take you an hour and a brake pad on both tires. Again, it’s another steep hill where at some point it’s like you’re driving 70 degrees downward. It’s so tempting, with the absence of traffic and a clear view of the scenic mountain view, I forgot that we were heading down at 90km/h. The car in front exhale smokes from its brake-that caught me guarded. After an hour, you will reach the Kota Belud town, which is less busier than Ranau. We drive past the town because of time factor but manage to stop and rest at the infamous roasted clams stalls. Location? After Polytechnic KK, you will find a roundabout, and took first left turn. Simple instruction : u will c it on yr way to KB. We headed back to the hotel and rest.

There you go, 10 hours of driving for the highlights of 15 minutes session of the infamous fish massage. The beauty of travel.

View of the majestic Mount Kinabalu from my family apartment. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

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