The weather in Kota Kinabalu was queer. Each day brought about a tremendous 37 degree scorch, offering the best tan to the most avid beach-comber. But on the same day, the same weather can be drastically toppled into a ghastly thunderstorm with rain pelting ruthlessly and thunder roaring in sonorously in full tenor.
I planned a nice day out to one of the Pulaus (“Islands” in its native language), having known of their excellent offshore reefs and coral gardens go enough to uphold some decent snorkeling. The morning weather was clement – in fact, beautiful so to speak. Nice clear blue skies, no clouds and the sun was brilliant. It shone illustriously over the whole city and the waves echoed its brilliance series by series. It was a perfect day for beach-combing.
A payment of RM17.00 got me a ticket on board a bumpy speedboat and off I went to Pulau Sapi, one of the smaller islands with crystal clear waters and delimited by a beautiful reef – at least this was what they claimed on the touristy map. Twenty minutes later I landed on the island. It was a weekday so the island was spared of an omnipresent crowd. I pulled the mat up, unzipped my fin bag and took out my mask and snorkel. I was all ready to walk straight right up to the waters before I heard the first crack of thunder.
Almost immediately, the sparkling sunlight dissipated into gushes of wind and one could raise his eyes right up overhead in time to see the mass of grey clouds eating up the sunshine and bring with it, masses of cold air. The whole ordeal took less than five minutes. I did not even finish applying my sunblock when the first drop of rain plunged from heaven.
I made it in time to grab my stuff and headed for shelter at a restaurant infested with monitor lizards. As the rain became heavier, the reptiles too found their way into shelter near the pendant roofs at the side of the restaurant. A topless me sat by the table, with all hope that it would just be a passing rain cloud.
Apparently, I was wrong.
Two hours later, I was still stranded inside the restaurant. I began to feel the cold brought about by the ghastly winds and soon it was windbreak over sunblock. As the cold chilled down my spine, my blood boiled in an avalanche. I spent half a day, not to mention all the effort in getting to the island, plus a small mint of money only to find a mulish cloudburst to welcome me at the island. The sun was a fib. Soon, I became restless and began to express my displeasure to neighbouring tourists.
Well, that’s nothing we can do about it”, an elderly Caucasian replied. I wanted to retort but kept the cool and sat aside. It was fortunate I chose to keep to myself for come to think of it, I really do not have anything to refute the elderly gentleman. Moments later, the Caucasian came over and offered me a can of Mocha.
“We can either rush to the jetty, get all wet but able to pick up a ride back to Jesselton, or to sit here and wait for the rain to stop.” He suggested to a lady, whom I presumed to be his wife.
“Ain’t we unfortunate?” I growled.
“We are!” Mr Caucasian chortled as he spoke. “But there is nothing really we can do about it.” He stressed again. And this time, I actually thought he made sense.
The day was ruined by the rain but not its entirety. It was ruined all the way when anger took control and when frustration and feeling of shortchanging ran through the mind. It was ruined when I did nothing but to grimace over the inclement weather. But it need not be as such. There could be control over it and have the whole situation changed. But before that, the mindset had to be altered.
I made the decision to make a dash. Mr Caucasian and his supposed wife too concurred and the three of us ran a good fifty metres in the bucketing rain to the jetty. We were sopping wet to the skin by the time we hit the jetty. But we managed to get on to the boat and scurried our way back within an hour.
The rain did not run out of stamina. It continued to pelt the mainland, and even more heavily than the earlier hours. However, I managed to furrow my way to a nearby café to grab a hot Latte while waiting for the downpour to halt. Still it didn’t. So I hopped into a sleazy massage palour and asked for my feet to be scrubbed and pressed. I was offered a bargain and soon found myself enjoying delighting in the comforts of a nice warm armchair and enjoying the rain more than I thought I would.
Two hours later came dusk. The rain subsided into a drizzle and it was comfortable to head back to the hotel. I made a slow walk back, occasional stepping into the murky puddles. It was a botched morning but the afternoon was salvaged by the decision to move on, and not reside further to growl at my own misfortune.
Many things in life can be changed, and as simple as just varying our attitude. I remembered someone ever told me, that when things go wrong in life, just remark – “This is where the adventure began.”
I had my adventure for the day. Not too audacious, but good enough to salvage day. There wasn’t really anything we could do to stop the rain. But it doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the sunshine in us. Just need to beam it with a positive attitude. So Mr Caucasian was wrong. There was something we can do about it.
Change our mindset. All will be nice and fine.