Today, We took an hour long bus ride to the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu city, where we were guided to a famous river which we white water rafted in. Rafting through the jungle of Borneo was an exhilarating yet relaxing adventure where we saw a range of things, such as beautiful mountainous landscapes, villages that get smothered by the river for months at a time, and even thousand year old trees and mangroves which each have eloquent stories behind them. It was remarkable to see these beautiful sights and how momentous this lake was to the people who surrounded it. Aside from the immense visual that came along with rafting, the actual activity was very strenuous, yet very stirring. it was a a huge rush of energy every time we moved swiftly through the rapids and paddled to make it through with all of our strength. After getting through a big rapid, we would let the current take us by itself and lay back and enjoy what was around us. After the rafting, we arrived at the end of the river, where we enjoyed a barbecue and made up for all of the burned calories.
Today, Our group of students and teachers when to Kota Kinabalu to go white water rafting. We met with some of the experienced locals who gave us lessons on the do’s and dont’s of rafting. We split into groups of four to six and got started. While we were floating through the river we were surrounded by breathtaking sights such as the thousand year old trees and the massive mountains in the distance. The river was generally calm but every now and then we would hit a patch of rapids and get a rush of adrenaline while having to paddle as hard as we could to make sure we didn’t crash into any rocks. While we were gently floating among the still areas, we would learn stories about the history of the trees and people. There was one tree which hung over the lake which had somewhat of a disturbing story behind it. It was believed that an old woman who used to live in a house not far was killed by a man and buried in the tree. Her spirit lives in the tree and comes out at night. Our guide called it the “Dracula Tree”. It was amazing to learn about the old folk tales of the Kota Kinabalu people.
~ George Cortes