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Mountains and Beaches

Since I last wrote, we've climbed Mt Kinabalu (all 4095.2M - a bit of a bugger really). Since then we've been pretty much sitting on a beach drinking banana milkshakes... strenuous stuff!

The mountain is the highest in Malaysia, and features on their "1 Ringgitt" bank notes (1 Ringitt is about 20p - so they're clearly not too proud of it!).

The whole Mt Kinabalu experience is a bit of a rip off - with the Malaysian Parks Authority finding as many excuses as possible to claim another fee for 'insurance' or 'guide'... so to minimise costs, we joined up with a couple of students from Singapore - Alvin and Vivian. Alvin is a student of botany - and it is also his passion... I think he was therefore a little disappointed when Vivian and Mike between them managed to completely destroy a giant pitcher plant! (Vivian held it out for Mike to photograph... but the stem broke - then Mike placed it down on the ground, and managed to impale it on a stick... We took photos anyway...)

The climb up the mountain took two days - the walk back down took four hours... however, Mike and I both had extremely knackered knees by the bottom. We reached the top of the mountain just after dawn - so on the way down, we repeated the mantra to all the people coming up "it is worth it"... I'm not sure it was!