Exactly what rock climbing are you talking about, Wanderess? Well. I should have known it would be next level when the hostel advertised it as a “Scrambling” tour instead of “hiking”. I can barely hike, y’all. To be real it was not scrambling so much as FREE CLIMBING UP FRICKING ROCK FACES WITH QUESTIONABLE TREE ROOTS FOR FOOT HOLDS AND THROWBACK ROPES.
We started out before sunset with those little lights strapped to our heads like we were miner precious ore or some sh#*. I knew right the I was in trouble. Immediately the trail was a 110 degree climb in which my incredibly nimble guide instructed me to grab tree roots and pull myself up. Them was some thug a*# tree roots, because they bore everyone’s weight with no problem. Also, there wasn’t really a clear trail like I was used to. This was more like a slight break in complete wilderness. My heart was beating out of my chest and I was falling behind after only thirty minutes. That was the easy part!
There were three peaks, from high to highest. Once we reached the top of one, we had to climb down before ascending the next. Phew!
On the last one, the very highest, I was facing a nearly vertical rock wall. They did not notify me that this was a part of it, I thought. I felt somewhat bolstered by the presence of ropes until our guide said. “You don’t want to rely on the ropes because we don’t know who put them there or how long they’ve been there.” I wanted nothing more in life than to rely on those fricking ropes. They were clearly sketchy as hell, so no struggle ropes for ya girl, just straight fingers and toes in footholds.
Thankfully our lovely guide went before me going both up and down and literally showed me exactly where to put my hands and feet for every move I made.
Why did I do this. Why. Black folks don’t be climbing rocks and shit, y’all.
I got some decent pictures, but none from the best angle of the tallest peak because it required climbing down to a precarious spot. I was too terrified and too exhausted to take another step, especially towards the edge of a cliff. Besides, I had to get my behind back down off the mountain! I didn’t trust my legs to hold me, so I found a nice, safe rock that I could straddle and lean back like I was in a LayZ Boy with no danger of falling several hundred feet.
As you can see, I pretty much survived. I had mud on my a*# from sliding down the mountain on it, plus a host of scrapes, bruises. The good news is, we went for delicious breakfast after!
I think, had I known what I was in for, I would have enjoyed it more. Now that I know what to expect, would I do it again? I’m not sure. There were too many times when grievous injury was imminent. Plus, could my ego and my butt sustain another bruising like that? I’m not sure!
Do I regret it? Heck naw. Not only did I get to see breathtaking sights and get great pics, but it made me a stronger person. I did more to face my fear of heights. I learned to trust my body more. I got better at ignoring being dirty, scraped, bruised, and covered in ants and a few bees. I got a hell of a workout. I met a husband and two wives, because what else could they be after the way they held my hand through the whole ordeal? Literally, there was hand-holding. I am not proud but I am hella grateful.
I think next time, unless the intensity gets dialed down by about ten, I’ll stay on the ground with the goat tongue soup.
In the meantime, I found a new favorite place at the mall:
Y’all just don’t know. I go to used bookstores and ball ’til I fall. Three books for $5.85 US! Aaahhhh! They’d make a small fortune off me if I lived in KL. After limiting myself to a meager three novels, it was time for Laksa and chicken feet. To. Die. For. I wish I had room in my stomach for more.
Malaysia is a majority Muslim culture and the influence is clear from the gorgeous mosques and Middle Eastern architecture. Most ladies are hijabi, which was fascinating to me because I’ve personally seen very few hijabi Asian ladies. Ladies only train cars exist here. Cousin. Some people might not like that, but I found it gave me a lot of peace of mind to be in an area where I didn’t need to be near men, if only for a short period of time. It felt like a safe space with a bit of privacy. But when men sat there, f*ckin’ A. Malaysian women weren’t goin’ tho, and they were quick to shoo them out.
For my shoppers, there were a ton of huge shopping malls all concentrated in one area in KL. I rejoiced over their H&M, but then I was sad again because I remember there are no pants that fit me on the entire continent of Asia. I weep.
Above is KL’s eat street, Jalan Alor. Very tourist friendly. Street food is a way of life here. Get into it!
I tacked on this Singapore stuff cause I honestly didn’t do squat while I was there.
Singapore is just as spotlessly clean as you’ve heard. I had a stick of gum in my backpack; y’all have no idea how fast I scrambled to get them sh*ts in a garbage and walk off like it wasn’t mine. I was in constant fear of violating the law. Singapore ain’t bout no games, people.
Their metro system is flawless. The entire place, even the poorer areas, appeared classy and immaculate while still retaining the uniqueness of Singaporean culture. Also, it’s quite western there because of the strong business industry. It’s a cultural melting pot of Chinese, Malay and Indian (great news for foodies!).
Unfortunately for me, I was so sick and exhausted I literally couldn’t get out of bed for the first four days. I guess all the plane travel, rock climbing, and diarrhea finally did me in! I slept fifteen hours my first day there. I’m an insomniac so I never sleep that much, ever. It was pure exhaustion. This is why I travel slowly, peeps!
It was exacerbated by heat and humidity that was even more intense than it had been in KL. You should know that air conditioning is not really a thing in SE Asia. You’ll find it in some places, but you gotta earn it! My hostel room was lovely and cool, but soon as I stepped out that door it was madness.
I walked four blocks and was pouring sweat down my back. In public eateries all you could find were some scattered struggle fans and all food came out scalding hot, literally. I tip my hat to everyone who cooks that hot food. You’re the real MVPs.
The famous Millennium Pool is there but it’s like $300 USD a night and your girl don’t even be swimmin’ like that. None of the attractions looked interesting mainly because they were all things you can do in any country, such as go to the zoo or botanical gardens. Also, Singapore is more expensive than other SE Asian countries.
Still, Singapore was gorgeous and lovely to visit and I hope to go back some day so I can fully enjoy it. Put it and Kuala Lumpur on your list immediately!