|Putting our fate in dumb animals|
The Greek lady selling the cruise package was a bit on the heavy side but looked stout enough. For all we know, she has lineage tracing all the way back to King Leonidas of Sparta. Going up is okay, she advised, but going down can be hairy. But even ascending was a nightmare, as the donkeys, prodded by their master in the rear to speed up, veered perilously close to the tiny brick wall on the left preventing us from going over the cliff, or towards the right to smash against the uneven cliff side. And there was this awful account:
"The men organising it were very abrupt and rude, but the danger was when we came to get off at the top and they started turning the donkeys round before we had a chance to get off! I ended up with one leg in the stirrup and one on the ground and then fell into someone else and we both dived into the side as the donkeys came running back down! The men just told us to hurry up and get out of the way!!"
By now we know that the Mount Kinabalu trek is not without its dangers, earthquakes notwithstanding. The Ministry of Education (MOE) must have swallowed their travel advisor's pitch, hook, line and sinker, when they claimed that it is not a challenging climb. Even for 12 year olds, hanging on for hours to a rope diameter designed for larger hands. The positive experience, to borrow the insensitive phrase of some horrible person, is that parents are now more aware of what risks they are signing off on the indemnity form. No parent should have to see their offspring crushed by falling rocks (Warning: Do not click on the link if you are faint hearted).