The 1st batch of family arrived Keningau safely and the following day, we have to drive to Kota Kinabalu to fetch another batch of family member. As this was my uncles and aunties (orang kampung bah) 1st time visit to Sabah, mom suggested them to go for sight seeing as we will be driving via Tambunan-Ranau-Kundasang-Kota Kinabalu route. Mom wanted them to see a glimpse of Mount Kinabalu and also stop over at Kundasang for the fruits, flowers and vegetables on sale at the roadside. Once reach Kota Kinabalu, we will arrange for the ‘uncle and auntie’ group to board a bus from the city back to Keningau. My parent can’t join us as they have to attend a wedding rehearsal at the church later in the afternoon.
It was indeed a good idea as I myself was looking forward to enjoy the sceneries during the day time despite of not fully recovered from my tiring driving journey (alang-alang menyeluk pekasam biar sampai ke pangkal lengan lah kan). I told myself that I’ve come this far and I have the faith in myself that I can make it to Kota Kinabalu safely (at the same time, I want to experience KK traffic ;p ).
After breakfast, we departed the homestay approximately at 8:30am. This is where my 2nd ‘nightmare’ begins. I thought I can enjoy the sceneries while driving but apparently I was wrong (I did manage to catch a glimpse of the view but most of the time sitting straight with wide eye open). For a 1st timer like me driving at an ‘alien’ place, one has to be really careful especially when driving on hilly road conditions.
The car steering starts to shake badly when I hit 120km/h so I had to slow down at times. I have no choice but to drive fast behind my brother car as I will lose my way. Using the hand phone to call him to slow down was not a good idea especially when one gets to drive and maneuvering the steering frequently upon going up and down the hills. My heart beats really fast, both hands were holding tight on the car steering and my feet getting numb for constantly changing the gear. I started to feel numb on my waist and my back hurts really badly. It felt like someone poking needles on my backbone. In such situation, I have no choice but to bear with the pains and move on with the journey.
We reached Tambunan after approximately 1 hour of driving and when I saw Tambunan Village Resort Center front entrance, memories of me participating in the World Scout Jamboree (in the early 90s) here kept on flashing in my head. I saw familiar houses, padi fields and small streams where we used to conduct our scout activities. Back then I was leading the Baram Scout contingent which later combined with the Miri Scout contingent. There were participant from more than 20 countries which include participation from the Sea Scout and the Girls Guide. Oh well, those were the sweet days of my Scout ‘career’. I don’t even know where my formal uniform is, my scarf and my leather goggle went to nowadays. Not to mention my Scout achievement award badges. 🙁
Too bad, we didn’t stop at Tambunan town as we were rushing to reach Kota Kinabalu before 2pm. We do not want the other family to wait long at the airport. However, we did stop for awhile at Ranau town as some of the uncle and auntie need to ease their ‘call of nature’. Half an hour later, we continued the journey. Along the way, I found out that the road condition from Ranau-Kundasang was in the midst of upgrading so instead of driving smoothly on a tar road, we were driving on gravel road. I remembered my car skidded few times while going down the hills on the gravel road. At times, we have to stop at the roadside to give way for incoming vehicles as some of the roads are half closed. I can’t imagine myself driving along this route during night time as one get to see deep ravine next to your car window. Everything seem to be very scary to me but the entire adrenalin pumping worth it after I managed to see partial of the highest mountain in S.E.A-Mount Kinabalu. 🙂
Just as we were about to reach the famous roadside stalls where one can get to buy fruits, vegetables and flowers planted at Kundasang, I noticed along the hills, one get to see pine trees. It was like entering a new territory till I saw a big signage; Kinabalu Pine Resort. It was a privately run resort. I hope to stay here in the near future. 😉
We stopped for nearly an hour to ‘feast’ our eyes on the fruits, vegetables and flowers that are on sale by the roadside. Standing from the stalls, you’ll be surrounded with beautiful mountain views and from a distance; you’ll get to see layers of vegetable plantation on the hills. I have to say all of the stalls are selling the same items and I wonder whether the stall operators do make profit. I guess it’s just a matter of having good PR skills to win the customer heart. Broccolis’, peas, cabbages, carrots, bell peppers and strawberries (betul-betul macam FarmVille bah) are locally planted here and I wish I can bring all of them back. Eventually, I bought 2 packets of strawberries. 😉
We continued the journey to Kota Kinabalu and again it was like driving fast to avoid a ‘twister’ that coming from behind. Along the way, we witness an accident. An Unser (kereta sewa) was found slanting on a road fence; next to the road fence was a deep ravine. The whole incident was really scary and I pray hard that our journey will be a safe one.
We reached Kota Kinabalu around 1pm, stopped at Marina Court Resort Condominium to fetch one of my uncles. His family spent the holiday here and their next holiday destination is to Keningau with us. As there was no parking space available, we end up parked illegally in front of Plaza Wawasan while discussing the sight seeing plan. The plan was to get another uncle who resides at Labuan to lead the ‘uncle and auntie’ group for sight seeing in the city. As my brother is the only one that is familiar with the city route, he was asked to purchase the bus tickets in advance.
I intended to park the car at Plaza Wawasan basement as I would like to join the ‘uncle and auntie’ group to the Philippines’ market. However, one of my uncles disagrees with the idea as he was worried that we would get carried away with the shopping. I end up having roti canai for late lunch while waiting for the group. 🙁
By 4pm, after ensuring the ‘uncle and auntie’ group went into the taxis that will lead them to the bus station, the 3 cars rushed to the airport. There are 4 more family members to fetch who flew from Kuching and Miri. It is from here, my brother lead the way via Papar-Beaufort-Keningau route. It is also here, I get my sister to drive. 😉
I thought I can sit back and relax but I was wrong again. To drive and to sit back as a passenger are 2 different experiences. I found out that the adrenalin rush in my body system as a passenger is quite high as compared to being the driver. I had mild headache, my waist started to feel numb again and the back pain is getting more painful. I was feeling uncomfortable the entire journey. 🙁
Along the journey, as the hilly road condition are quite steep at certain area, we witness a Kancil reversed slowly going down the hill. The hill was approximately about 600-700m high. It was not due to the driver does that on purpose but simply because he didn’t manage to go ‘up’ properly. I took a deep sigh upon seeing this and I cannot imagine myself to be in that kind of situation. It was scary and it somehow had de-motivated me to drive back to Miri.
We finally reached our homestay around 7pm and it was drizzling. I thought I can just take a quick nap to rest but I was wrong. I end up in a family discussion prior to my brother wedding reception the following day. After the discussion ends, the big family (now that the 2nd batch of family are around, there were 29 of us altogether) mingled around and chatted till midnight.
ps-sorry folks, no pictures available. i was too tired to take some shots.