Published: May 6th 2006May 6th 2006
After two fantastic days in Bario we were back at the wee airport for our journey to Miri and then Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak. There are only two planes a day here so no need for things like boarding passes or seat allocations. There is however the need to be weighed.... I guess because the planes are soo small they have to know there exact weight.. and maybe cause they they can then caculate how much freight (read bags of rice!) they can also transport... but once your bags have been weighed you too have to hop on to the scales and be weighed!! The first time it happened we wondered if we might regret those extra spring rolls we'd had back in KK......but fortunately there's no charge for you being overweight ;0)
In Kuching we spent a day or so doing the museum and just wondering round the city. If felt a bit strange being somewhere big again after tiny Bario but we were soon back on a bus and boat again to the middle of nowhere... this time Bako National Park, maybe some 2 hours ouside of Kuching. We hooked up with a couple of guys
from Lincoln that had been staying in our hostel and went walking with them. Unlike the other walks we'd done in Borneo which had been in forest, this one was largely out on rocky outcrops. A great place to spy pitcher plants - they were on almost every tree, mostly little ones but huge groups of them - but also meant we fried in the sun... not a good time to have lost my hat and left my suntan cream back at the park HQ! The views from the cliff top at the end of the walk were spectaular, but we opted not to do the rather steep climb down to the beach. Apparently there are some rather nasty jelly fish to be found in the waters around here so swimming isn't an option. Rain in the afternoon put paid to any ideas of doing a second walk... although I'm not sure we would have had the energy. It seemed soooo much hotter here than other places we'd been and whilst it's hard work walking in the heat and humidity of the forest, somehow here the heat got to us more. So instead we spent the afternoon watching the macaques
causing all sorts of havoc. One had a good go at unzipping my ruck sack - these guys will steal anything regardless of whether they can eat it so I soon learnt my lesson from that one!! They'd do this little stealth walk around the handrail that circled the cafe and you could see them working out when to pounce.... next thing they'd have scampered over a couple of tables, grabbed some food of an unsuspecting persons plate and be back in the tree enjoying their meal!! When the rains stopped we wondered down to the mangrove forest - Probiscous Monkeys like the young leaves of the mangrove tres and we spent a good half hour watching them in the trees above through our binoculas... unfortnately a bit too far away for my 3X zoom :0(
On the second day we had grand plans of a 6 hour return to a waterfall where we could swim.... alas the heat got the better of us and we opted for a shorter walk to a lookout point instead. Views were again amazing. We only had a day and a half here but you could spend longer as there are quite a
few trails and they're all nicely colour coded - you just follow the stripes of red, blue etc painted on the trees. So no excuse for getting lost here then!!!
Sam and I parted company in Kuching... she went back to the UK and I flew on to Singapore. We celebrated the end of our trip together with cocktails down by the waterfront....well, they were supposed to be cocktails.... I thought cough medicine was a closer analogy! After that we had dinner and treated ourselves to a glass of Australian Shiraz each... my wine cost more than my meal but was sooooo worth it!
In Singapore I stayed in Little India..... aka vegetarian heaven!!! Well, at least if you like indian food it is! Almost every restaurant was veggie, and those that were mixed put their signs in the order 'Vegetarian and non-vegetarian food served'! ahh that's how it should be! I guess because I know i'll be back here in a few months time on my way back to NZ I didn't do too many sights, but just spent time walking along the water front and far tooo many hours in the Singapore Asia Civilaisations Museum. I
think this would rate as my second favourite ever after the British Museum in London... I do love my museums but even I was a little museumed-out after 5 hours in this one! We also got to experience Little India on a Sunday night. I went out for dinner as usual with some guys from the hostel but unlike the other times the streets were absolutely packed with Indian men (no women). I felt like I stuck out a little, being a) white and b) female, so we asked the guy in the restuarant what was going and apparently its just one big regular social. Every sunday night all the guys come along just to stand around catching up with their mates.
I'm in Hong Kong now... hopefully on my way to china tomorrow from my next adventure. I say hopefully because this was the easiest visa I ever got. There's loads of travel agencies here that can get chinese visa's for you. They charge more than getting it direct from the consulate... but somehow manage to do it faster. I turned up at 1pm, paid some money and handed over my passport and photo, went back at 5.30pm
and hey presto I have a 3 month visa in my passport. The woman at the agency was quite bemused that I only wanted a 3month single entry one... why not 6months, a year or multiple entry?? I just hope that they like it at the boarder tomorrow!!!
There are more photos below