Today is the 4th day I’m in Miri after returning from my weekend escapade holiday at Keningau, Sabah. I felt so lucky to be alive and thank you God for giving me this opportunity to scribble my crazy and dangerous adventure of my lifetime in my blog.
I am still traumatized and in the progress of recovering from it (I wonder how long it will take me to be fully emotionally stable). Each time when it rains (it rains a lot lately in Miri, especially in the evening and night), I get nervous. Each time I drive on a speed bump, I get panic easily. I get goosebumps.
In short, I have cold sweats, cold hands and feet each time I drive under the rain especially during night time. 🙁
It all started when my family and I decided to go to Sabah by land to attend my youngest brother wedding held at Keningau, Sabah during the last weekend. I was really excited as I thought I will get to enjoy the panoramic view along the coastal area of Brunei, padi fields’ view along Limbang & Lawas highway, breathtaking view of hill and mountain along the Sabah highway and not to mention to experience the warm and ‘cold’ hospitality by respective Immigration checkpoints along the way.
I heard others experiences (including my brother) driving along the Sabah highway and I can’t wait to experience it myself. 😉
We departed Miri approximately at 9:30am and I get to drive one of the cars (there are 3 cars altogether). My brother used to be a long vehicle driver before and travel quite often along the Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei highway so he acted as our convoy leader. My cousin drove another car.
The day was bright, sunny and I thought it was such a perfect day to drive. It was a smooth ‘stop’ at respective immigration checkpoints; Sungai Tujuh, Kuala Lurah, Temburong, Trusan and Merapok-Sindumin (we spend approximately less than 20min at each checkpoint as some of us were travelling under Group Passport). To travel to Sabah via land, one will get to use ferry services to go across 2 rivers (Sungai Pandanunan-RM8, Sungai Trusan-RM10). Here, I realized that you’re getting out from Malaysia border entering Brunei territory then one minute you’ll back entering Malaysia border again. 😉
We reached Lawas town around 4pm and fetch one of my uncle who took a flight from Miri to Lawas joined the convoy to Sabah. He can’t joined us from Miri simply because he doesn’t had an I.C therefore he can’t enter Brunei, however he can purchase his air ticket to Lawas using his birth certificate. ;p We had our late lunch at one of the coffee shop in Lawas before continuing the journey to Keningau, Sabah. To me, Lawas town is slightly bigger than my hometown, Marudi. 🙂
The bright sunny day earlier on had turned into a gloomy day and eventually it’s pouring heavily. This is where my ‘nightmare’ began. It was getting dark yet I have to drive fast as I have to catch up with my brother speed (I was driving between 100-120km/h). As it was pouring heavily, I barely can see the white lines on the tar road as when the rain drop hits on the ground, it produces thick mist. There were no street lights along the highway and I was driving solely depending on my cousin rear brake light as I was driving behind him. My heart was pumping really hard (as fast as the car engine) each time I go down and going up steep hills in the dark. Along the way, I was swearing and cursing my brother for driving that fast (his 9 month old daughter is one of his passenger) but at the same time, I prayed hard to God for our safety.
The ‘fast and furious’ driving journey from Lawas to Tenom town took us approximately 2 hours. We were been advised by my youngest brother via phone to take Tenom-Keningau route as it was shorter than taking the Kimanis route. We stopped at Tenom town for fuel re-fill and at this point, the rain has stopped too. I felt so relief and at the same time was shocked to find a 7-Eleven outlet in a small town. Miri doesn’t even have 7-Eleven outlets for god sake!! ;p
After resting for half an hour, as soon as we continue the journey to our final destination-Keningau, it rain heavily again. I started to worry and feeling very stressful for driving fast under the heavy rain in the dark. There were no street lights along the way!! This time, the route is more challenging. The hills are getting steeper, higher and the bends are really sharp. I have to swallow my saliva each time I drive up and going down the hill as due to the air pressure blocking my ears. The moment you drive up a hill, it will go up on and on; like there’s no end to it. The moment you drive down the hill, it will go down and down along with the sharp bends. I put my 110% concentration on my driving (I think if I do that in my studies, I’ll score Higher Distinction mark, really) for the first time in my entire life.
With God’s blessing, we finally reached Keningau town approximately at 8pm. It was still pouring heavily. We waited for my youngest brother in front of Juta Hotel as he needs to lead us to his wife’s village – Kota Ayangan for dinner. The village was about 2km from town. By then, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I don’t even have the appetite to have dinner. I end up chatting and drinking coffee with my brother father in law instead. 😉
After mingling with ‘new’ family members for nearly an hour, making jokes with Sabah slang, we drove to our ‘hotel’; a cozy homestay house located about 1.5km from Kota Ayangan. It’s a double storey wooden house, equipped with Astro and satellite tv program. Bath room, toilet and kitchen are made available at each floor. Very spacious, cozy and we get to have the whole house for the family (there were about 15 of us and this is the 1st batch of family). The homestay owner even operates a cyber café and provides free wifi services at its canteen. Cool hahh.. 😉
After the rain stops, we unload our stuff from the cars. As I walked toward my room, I felt like walking on mattresses. Each step I made, it felt so soft and springy. I felt my right foot was numb. My hands were shaking as if I was hungry. I guess my body system has traumatized throughout the journey. ;p I quickly freshen myself up and managed to stabilize my stress level back to zero after puffing 4 sticks of ciggies in a row. ;p
To be able to sit down and rant about the driving adventures that I just went through with my aunties and uncles was unbelievable. Everybody never thought that I can pull it through (including my experience long distance driver brother) and I myself couldn’t believe it either. The whole family end up chatting till midnight before I decided to call if off for the day.
Next post is about my adventure to Kota Kinabalu via Ranau and Kundasang route from Keningau.
ps-no pictures are available as everybody was tensed to the max. 🙂