Published: January 27th 2010January 26th 2010
Three days ago I got an email that said "We are currently experiencing a flood at the the Camp and all visit for the near dates have been cancelled (up to 31 Jan presently)" ... that was for our 3D2N trip with Uncle Tan Wildlife Adventures
in Sandakan which was half of our itinerary! Me and my little brother was so looking forward to it and more importantly, we don't have plan B! Oh well, we are still going to hope that evertyhing will turn out okay or maybe we'll just replace it with a series of picnics.
We arrived last night at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and immediately noticed that the lights are dim, everything is smaller (buildings, the road, the cars)
and the place is unexpectedly quiet in general (compared to Manila, that is)
. Our hostel arranged a taxi service for us and true to it, Liew (the taxi driver)
was there with my name on a placard all ready to take us to our place. He was nice enough to point on things and give us tips on where to shop, where to eat, and tell random info about random buildings.
So far, it doesn't
feel like we left the Philippines at all. Comparing to PI provinces, everything looks pretty much the same, the people, the houses, and the other little things. We even got to listen to tagalog songs while we were having dinner on our first night! The Malay origin of us Filipino became quite apparent. Me and my brother would talk in our local dialect Waraynon
but people would still keep on talking to us in Malay. We belong. We did actually notice alot of similarity to the words, expressions, and the accent of the local dialect compared to ours. Everyone had been nice and welcoming.
The hostel doesn't look too busy at the moment. I'm sharing a 6 person Dormitory with Alice, a girl from Germany and for the time being, the room is all ours; while my little brother stayed at the Boys Dorm.
Today we did White Water Rafting with the River Junkie
. Our guide picked us up at around 8:00ish and we drove off for more or less 3 hours through the Crocker Mountain Range to the town of Tenom. From Tenom we got on the "Last Train of Borneo" (I call them TsugTsug Train)
... strolling around
and went on our way through the forest and long stretch of the river where we will be Rafting later on. From there, we had a first glance at what we were getting ourselves into ... and it did look scary! The train was quite interesting, there was alot of involuntary body swaying, rubbish was dumped everywhere, bugs would fly in and out, poor piglets almost got ran over, people crossing the rail track, and the feeling that the train would just bounce off the track anytime ... it was fun (I'm serious)
! After an hour(ish) we finally arrived at the Padas River starting point.
After a short briefing about safety, the right thing to do when you fall off the boat, and all the other does and don'ts, we finally started to raft at around noon. There were six of us on the rubberboat, my brother & me, a couple from Taiwan - Diva & Dan, and our two guides.
Our guides would call each rapids names - the barbecue rapids, the lambada rapids, cobra rapids ... etc. There's this one that I'll never forget - the Washing Machine Rapids, because that's where our rubber boat tipped
one of the poster says "Make way for insanity. Cease to exist."
... the other one goes "Vandalism. Let's start a war and see if we can get away with it"
over with me the luckiest one to go underneath it! It happened fast ... huge wave, strong current, boat over my head. My whole being shouted PANICK!!! (so much about "what to do when you fall off" briefing)
Someone managed to push the boat out of the way and one of our guides pulled me out while shouting to everyone "don't panick!don't panick!". But when they turned the boat over to upright position, it fell straight to my head (again)
. I was also supposed to let go of the paddle but for some reason I was holding onto it the whole time until I was pulled back in! It was AWESOME! I believe it was the part of the river where everyone falls into the water. We were also allowed to jump off the boat from time to time to do body rafting when the current wasn't too strong and the waves aren't too big -- my favorite part. I have inhaled in and swallowed a lot of the river's brownish water. All the same, it was a very cool experience. The whole adventure lasted for about 3 hours and I won't mind doing it again!
There are more photos below