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Published: March 30th 2013
I got up early to catch the 8am bus up to the park. I have no delusions about myself and I know I'm not a mountain climber. For me, there is no sunset spectacular enough to make me climb half a mountain one day, sleep overnight on the mountain, and then arise at 230am to finish the climb in time for sunrise. I saw my friend's photos; while they were beautiful, they didn't inspire me that much.
We had clear weather all the way up the mountain. That is, until we reached the park. Suddenly, we were in a cloud. A wet, cold cloud. Mind you, my friend had told me that the park would be plenty warm, so I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I was freezing. I put on the extra shirt I'd brought with me (I planned to stay overnight) and set out in search of some additional, overpriced gift shop clothes to wear. Sadly, the only thing I found was a nice jacket for 330 RM ($100 USD) which was not even close to being within my budget. Luckily for me, a nice, older Aussie woman took pity on me. "Here," she said with a
whisper in the gift shop. "My tour guide gave me this plastic poncho and I know I'll never use it." She pointed out it would keep me dry and also warm since plastic obviously doesn't breathe. I was so grateful.
I took a guided tour on some trails in the park. It worked out to be an excellentplan because I saw things that I otherwise would have missed, including the world's smallest orchid. After that tour, we took another of the botanical gardens and saw a Sexy Lady orchid, which neither resembles a sexy lady or an orchid.
I got lunch and watched a film at 2pm since it was raining out. I was the only person in the theater so the woman running the film told me to sit in the red VIP chairs. The video talked all about the different flora and fauna on the mountain and in Sabah. The variety was mind blowing--so much in such a small area!
I went for a walk in the rain afterwards, determined to make the most of my time in the park. I explored trails, slipping and sliding into big puddles, enjoying the tranquility of
it all. I saw some flowers that had fallen onto the muddy path. As I knelt to examine them I was startled by a two-inch beetle I'd seen in the video! It's not like a regular beetle; this one has no wings. Since it was featured in the video I thought perhaps it was a rare find.
Tired of the rain and having natural debris in my shoes, I found a bench, cleaned my feet with tissues, and walked back to HQ. I asked them about the beetle and the sent me to the visitors' center who sent me uphill to the research facility. The man working there got so excited when I showed him the photos. "It's a trilobite beetle!" he said. "Where did you find it? It's so unusual to see one!"
At my hostel I wrapped myself in a large blanket and shuffled around, wishing the cloud would lift so I could at least enjoy the view. One of the staff was celebrating her birthday and they had cake! They shared it with me (but none of the other guests) and we took photos together. Then we all watched really bad soap operas together into
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