Published: February 12th 2006February 12th 2006
The Light Show
We took 300+ pictures and we liked two of them
(Swena) Hey again. this blog finds me in much better spirits. a week has helped me to forget about seattle's loss. since our last blog we have left the mainland and are now on the island of borneo. borneo is devided into two parts. the southern part belongs to indonsia while the the northern part belongs to maylaysia along with a small section that makes up the sovereign kingdom of Brunei. we are only planning on visiting the northern part of the island since the southern part is unstable.
on of the things that a lot of people at home (myself being one of them) take for granted is our money system. we've so far only visited three countries (singapore, maylaysia, and thailand) but we've crossed back and forth and it's hard to keep the currencies and their exchange rates straight in our heads. Singapore is 1.8-U.S (to the U.S Dollar), maylasia is 3.8-U.S, and thailand is about 39-U.S. the exchange rates aren't hard to remember. what is a little hard at time is figuring out whether the price that someone is telling you is a good deal or not. we've been doing good so far though. we're managing to
stay under budget most of the time.
Oh, real quick, i should mention that as i write, all three of us are writing at the same time on different computers. so, if we repeat each other, that is why. we're trying to hurry up and get this done and published so that we can go see a movie at the theatre. they have a great theatre here that's on the ninth story of a parking garage. it has a great view of the city and we have taken some pictures from it. i've saw the new jet li movie there. it was quite an experience. the movie is in chinese with chinese, maylay, and english subtitles. they have these little tiny elevators that are supposed to hold 20 people but they fit in closer to 30 and the cables squeek and groan like they're going to snap. very exciting....
our journy from Ko Lanta led us to Au Nang. It wasn't very exciting but that's mostly because we didn't stay long enough to visit very many places. also, we all got really good books and actually spent quite a bit of time indoors reading. it was very relaxing.
from there we headed to Hait Yai to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur (K.L as the locals call it). i'll admit, i was a little apprehensive of Hait Yai as there have been some bombings there over the past several years. but we only stayed for one night and flew out the next morning and everything worked out great. we arrived in K.L and dustin managed to talk the flight receptionist into giving us the earlier flight to Kuching. We were all very happy about this as it meant that we didn't have to spend another five hours in the airport. we arrived in borneo to find it rainy. our travel book told us that there was a local bus service that would take us the 10 km into town from the airport. but the book was wrong. there was no bus. so we started walking since we didn't want to pay 50 ringit a person when the bus was supposed to cost two. luckily, a nice cab driver took pity on us and picked us up for only 17 ringit for the three of us. not a great deal but it worked. we got a room at the
orchid inn. it was an ok spot and we ended up staying for four nights. we had our own room with a big bed for two people and another small bed. we also had our own bathroom with a hot shower. but the "best" part was that we had a tv. but it only had three channels and they were usually in Maylay. but every so often they would show english programs. but since it's almost valentines day all they were showing was romance movies... good times. lol.
i think my favorite part of Kuching was the night of the lightning storm. we were heading back to our room when we started noticing the flashes. they seemd so bright that at first we thought they were from car headlights. dustin and kevin ordered some food while i ran back and grabbed the camera. i went up on top of the theatre to the look out and the lightning was amazing. it was one of the best storms i've seen. kevin and dustin showed up after supper and we tried to take some pictures. after hundreds of attempts, we only had a few good ones. but we got to see
a great show.
we've been eating really good since we got here. less than a block away from where we've been staying there is a wonderful vegitarian restaurant. i've tried a new dish every day, sometimes two. and i have liked everything i have ordered. our supper tonight was a little different however. we spent the whole day out at a national park and we didn't make it back in time for our vegi food. so we ate at mcdonalds, than we got waffles, donuts, and jo-jos (potato wedges). but it was good.
the national part wasn't as good as i had hoped but we did get to see some of the animals of borneo. my favorites were the crocidiles and orangatangs. the orangatangs were way bigger than i thought they would be. they stand about 4 feet high when they stand up. the mother let me get right up close to her and her baby but the ranger scared her away before we could get a picture. tomorrow we are going out to stay at another national part that is just north of Kuching. should be interesting.....
all in all, i think that this is the
laziest we've been in a while. at least since Ko Phan Yang. we've been going to bed around 12:00 and waking up around 11:00. but i feel pretty well rested. we're all in good health and not suffering from sunburns, cuts, scrapes, or bug bites. God has kept us safe thus far and we are grateful. thanks for your comments. i can honestly say that i think we look forward to them as much as you guys look forward to our blogs. well, that about sums it up. love you all,
Borneo, well I can’t really say how much I like it here yet just for the sake of being fair and giving everything a little time to even out. We’ve had some interesting situations in regards to transit and guide book information. For instance, when we landed “Lets go” our other travel book sidekick said that there was a bus from the airport into town every hour till about 7-8 pm for about 1 RM. Well apparently according to the information personnel at a desk that was correct, at about one and a half hours later we decided to get a few second opinions and sure
enough….we were wrong and we weren’t really in the mood to pay the 50 RM quoted to us by the regular taxi operators lounging in the area nearby. So with empty bellies (and by now everyone should know just how bad that can be) we started walking the road away from the airport into town. There wasn’t a sidewalk but thankfully it was only about 1 km later that a taxi picked us up for about 17 RM altogether. Thankfully we already knew the name and price of the place we were going to stay at so that didn’t take long at all. Another problem we had was that by spending all the time waiting for the Ghost bus, most of the local restaurants missed the fact that we were coming and closed for the night. That turned out to be bad for them and us because they lost out on the money we’re willing to use for loads of food and we were still hungry with no place to eat.
Well we made it through alright, and we’ve had a couple more run ins with the local transportation and other discrepancies in an unnamed travelbook (not yours Mr.
Finch, its still running strong, then again where was the Malaysia Lonely Planet when we needed it, I mean come on AHAHAH). By now though little things like that aren’t that big of a deal, all you have to do is walk between 1-3 km down a road and something will come to you.
It’s nice to have stayed here for a couple days. We know now where the best doughnut and waffle like things are…..cheapest water and vegetarian food….and a great place to watch the lightning outline the city. We also know where the cat museum is….and well according to the unnamed travel book it was a good idea…..well I guess we just don’t love cats enough.
I also know what some of you are thinking about going to a movie, and NO we didn’t come halfway around the world to watch movies no matter WHAT it may seem….it just so happens that time worked out well for it and we’ve been walking all day. Also, Swena is right….we haven’t been getting out into the town until about 12 pm but we broke that streak yesterday and thankfully today we were back on top of a productive
Indian Mosque Road
A narrow shortcut between two streets...
routine. Anyway, we’ll see what comes our way in the next couple of days, probably not a whole lot of internet in the national parks but hey I’ve been wrong before.
We took our first flight since embarking for Asia over a month ago. Actually we took two flights, the first moved us from Thailand to Kula Lumpur, then from Kl we arrived in Kuching (the Sarawak region of Borneo). Kuching means cat in Malay, and it truly is a cat city. There is statues, restaurants, and bars all of which depict the feline species.
Kuching itself is a beautiful and modern city…but I found it really didn’t have a whole lot to offer, but being that I am easily amused I was contentedly satisfied. The guidebook we have been using for Southeast Asia (Lets Go) suggested going to the Cat Museum…however unless you are a cat lover, the place is a waste of time! We had an interesting trip in getting there though because we missed the stop on the bus…so we just rode it out and tell it looped back.
My favorite part of Kuching was definitely the food. We found an
A way of life
These people line up along the river every day to sell their fruits and vegies.
awesome vegetarian place, (notice the pics) and a bakery that made waffle style doughnuts as well as fluffy bread. The doughnuts were delicious…especially the warm chocolate and peanut butter ones.
As Swena mentioned our room had a T.V., most of the time it was in Malay, but each night at around nine a romantic movie would come on…we only actually watched one, (As Good as it Gets)…and it actually was quite funny. So don’t start thinking we have gone soft...
The most beautiful part of Kuching for me was the thunderstorm. The impressive display lasted for over three hours, and I was able to capture some of it on camera. Swena was the one that suggested it, I was skeptical, but as it turned out Matt was right, and we have some good pictures to show for it.
Today we went to Kubah National park. We knew the price we were supposed to pay to get out there, but the van drivers were trying to make us pay 6 times that much. We walked and walked until we found our price, and then packed ourselves into a van. The van didn’t drop us off at the place
we had intended so we started walking in the direction we needed to be. A long while later a van stopped and offered us a ride, we accepted the price. On the way back we were fortunate to be picked up by some local teens.
Swena all ready talked about the park itself…so I won’t elaborate much on that, beyond just saying it was really neat being shadowed by a mother orangutan and her baby.
Well we are off to Bako National Park tomorrow. I look forward to tracking down some proboscis monkeys, seeing some lush vegetation, and being in one of the oldest national parks in Borneo.
Talk to you later
There are more photos below