It is shortly before noon, and as I write this I am sitting at a small wooden table under a palm tree in the shade with the beach and adjacent ocean only few meters away from me. Every few seconds, the sounds of the very small waves crashing against the beach disturbs the otherwise tranquil beach scene here. And thankfully, there is also a slight breeze off of the water which tempers the heat and humidity where I am sitting.
Of all the locations we have been since we left the Indian subcontinent a few weeks ago, this is definitely the most idyllic setting of them all. We enjoyed immensely our time and experiences in India
, but i’ve definitely enjoyed the change of pace and scenery here since our arrival in tropical Southeast Asia. The sweltering heat and draining humidity we’ve experienced since our arrival in Southeast Asia from India
is the only thing I could do without, but it is hard to avoid it when traveling in this part of the world.
This afternoon we are leaving Survivor Island; not voted off the island, but rather, of our own accord. Not that i'm happy about that necessarily...
The Pulau Tiga Resort
is a relaxing place. Given the numerous hiking trails throughout the island, we could easily spend a few more days here and keep fully occupied. However, we have booked a permit and a mandatory guide to hopefully go - weather conditions permitting - up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu
in Kinabalu National Park
in a 2 day climb beginning late tomorrow morning. At 4095 meters (13,435 feet), Mount Kinabalu
is the highest peak between the Himalayas
and Papua New Guinea
. For avid trekkers such as ourselves, climbing Mount Kinabalu
falls on the “must do” bucket list for Borneo
Unfortunate as it is to leave this idyllic place, this morning we thankfully experienced one of Survivor Island’s specialties, the so-called “mud volcano.” We walked along one of the trails to an area with pools of mud. Bathers immerse themselves in the mud, which is alleged to have therapeutic qualities. I had expected the mud to be bubbling hot, given the name “mud volcano.” Given its temperature, I suspect this name may be only a misnomer. After submerging myself in the mud save for my neck and head - and unfortunately, after forgetting to remove my watch until it was too late and my watch had become a muddy brown - , with my body covered entirely in mud I only then began to question what purpose a mud bath actually served. Honestly speaking, I suspect my first mud bath will also be my last. It did little for me. As Vikki and I walked back along the trail, the monitor lizards we saw along the trail must have looked at us - humans wearing only their bathing suits and caked entirely in mud, save for their clean heads - with a mix of amusement and bewilderment. It felt great to jump into the ocean upon our return to the resort, although traces of mud still remain in the cracks and crevices of my Ironman watch.
Anyway, that breeze I wrote about a little while ago has vanished completely. It is really hot and humid! As we gain elevation during the first day of our trek up Mount Kinabalu
tomorrow, it will be really nice to get a respite from the heat and humidity of tropical Borneo
. This I am sure of…