Climbing Mt Kinabalu: Part 5 – Aftermath
The next morning I woke up feeling slightly seedy, more because of the quantity of celebratory beers I had than from climbing the mountain. That said, I felt stiff enough to make getting out of bed an effort. However, after a few stretches I felt fine. ‘Still life in the old bod yet’, I thought to myself.
We had arrived from Mt Kinabalu late in the afternoon before. Johnsie, another of 2Stroke’s mates who came up for the week (but not the mountain!), was staying in the same holiday apartment complex as 2Stroke and family. He generously offered his spare room to me, and not feeling like hauling my luggage back to my old hotel I gratefully accepted. I moved into the room, had a short nap followed by a gloriously long, hot shower, got dressed and returned to 2Stroke’s apartment. We had planned a few victory drinks to celebrate finishing the climb. I don’t recall going out to dinner that evening. I do recall drinking about five beers before making my way to bed and crashing out.
So, there I was the morning after. I wandered out to the kitchen. A couple of espressos later (thanks to my portable espresso maker, my little travel buddy) I was ready to face the world. 4Stroke texted me, they were waiting for me at the local café and did I feel like a coffee? The answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’
Quickly putting on my boots, I went downstairs and strolled to the cafe. When I was nearly in sight, I broke into a fast run up to the outside table where 2Stroke and family were sitting. All right, I admit I was showing off shamelessly. But after reading so many stories from people half my age who were barely able to move the next day I couldn’t resist. That’s not to say that there wasn’t some residual weariness in my legs, but I felt much better than I had any right to feel.
The plans for the rest of the day were to spend the afternoon and evening on a river trip to see the proboscis-nosed monkeys and the local fireflies. I spent the rest of the morning shopping (in vain, I might add – I couldn’t find anything on my shopping list). We met as arranged at 2:00 PM in front of the apartments, caught a bus for a two-hour trip to the river and hopped on a riverboat. To be honest, the afternoon and evening was a bit of a let down, but only because anything after the mountain was going to pale in comparison. One thing that stood out, however, was that any time that I sat down for an extended period (bus trip, boat trip, sitting at a restaurant) meant some discomfort because my legs didn’t want to stand up again.
So went my last day in Kota Kinabalu. The following morning I made my way to the airport to catch my flight back to Saigon via Kuala Lumpur.
The odd postscript to the trip is that exactly three days after standing on the summit of Mt Kinabalu with 2Stroke, Nutty and Karaoke I was at a family wedding in Long An Province, Vietnam. I felt oddly disconnected – I still had the mountain in my mind.