The journey begins

This will likely be my last post for a while. I’m flying down to Saigon today (New Year’s Day), spending the night there and then flying to Kota Kinabalu via Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. I may be able to post some smaller updates, but I’ll have to use my tablet and that’s a royal pain in the arse for writing on. Anyway, I’m pretty much prepared for the climb. Training this month was interrupted by bad weather last week, a heavy pre-Christmas workload and a scare with my knee.

That last item was the big worry. I injured my right knee in a motorbike accident about fifteen years ago and it’s never been dependable since. I’ve been able to take up running again but every two or three years it goes sproing!!! and that’s the end of running for another year or so. So, there I was a couple of weeks ago on lap six of a planned nine-or-ten-lap session, coming down the hill. I stepped down rather heavily off a tallish step and felt that familiar lancing pain in my dodgy knee. I froze, saying to myself, “Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…”

After a couple of seconds I gingerly took another step, putting the bulk of my weight on my trekking poles. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I continued down, stepping carefully and keeping as much weight as possible off my right leg.

By the time I got to the bottom, my knee felt normal again. I was strongly tempted to continue, but I’ve learned through bitter experience that when my knee says, “Stop!”, it’s best to pay attention. So, I took a week off from training. I did a short two hour hike around the back trails of my training hill on Sunday. I felt no twinges and everything shaped up well.

I did another short hike yesterday and then cleaned my  hiking boots and assorted gear in preparation for packing. My To Do list is assembled (albeit incomplete still – I keep adding to it) and everything is ticked off. Several things have to wait till I get to Saigon, chief among them is changing Vietnamese dong to Malaysian ringitt. I’ll take about 15 million with me (the dong is a peculiar currency with lots of zeroes and a most unfortunate name). This is about USD700 plus another $200 in mixed currencies. Most of my tour is paid for, so I just have to cover beer, hotel, beer, food, beer, shopping, beer and sundry expenses. Hmm, that’s a lot of beer. Better bring extra money. I’ve got my credit card for backup but I’d rather avoid using that.

Today’s plans include:

  • nipping into work early and printing more air tickets – my wife will join me in Saigon when I return from Malaysia
  • travelling to Saigon and checking into a hotel
  • picking up my nephew and niece en route from the airport to my hotel. They’re visiting from Australia so I’ll take them out for lunch and some shopping/sightseeing in Saigon’s central business district
  • meeting some old friends and hoisting a few beers with them this evening

Tomorrow morning I have to brave the Saigon morning rush hour, departing early to make sure I’ll get to the airport in time for my mid-morning flight. It’s a two-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, with a three-hour layover followed by another two hours to Kota Kinabalu. If all goes well, I’ll be in KK by 5:00 PM tomorrow. Most of the rest of the party will arrive tomorrow evening from Australia, with a few stragglers coming in on Sunday and Monday. We’ve got eight of us meeting there, but only three of us (2Stroke, Karaoke and myself) actually doing the mountain. 4Stroke is very disappointed, having to pull out of the climb because of a stress fracture in her ankle.

My plans for Kota Kinabalu mainly involve final shopping, sampling the local cuisine, copious quantities of beer and if possible a Hash run with one of the local Hash chapters.

 

 

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Posted on January 1, 2016, in equipment, Hash House Harriers, Hiking, mountainclimbing, Mt Kinabalu, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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