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Published: September 24th 2009
After our freezing cold bus trip to Miri we had a quick look on the air Asia website and got a 45min flight to Kota Kinabalu instead of a 10hr bus journey. It wasn’t worth another bone crunching, artic cold night, travelling through the Borneo jungle. Although a little more expensive it was worth it. It was strange getting a flight for 45mins, if that’s what it even was! We got our taxi outside the airport and like all Asian taxi drivers before him, he hadn’t a clue where we wanted to go. Three or four phone call later (on my phone), and a lot of searching he finally got us there. We were quickly checked in and soon out again in search of food. Fed and watered we returned to the hostel and watch a bit of TV for awhile.
The next day the sun was shining and the skies were clear blue. For the last while it had been overcast and muggy and being Irish we value what ever time we can get in the sun. It doesn’t matter how many consecutive days of sun, you make the most of it while you can. Sun cream slapped on,
shorts and beach towels in our bags and we were on our way to one of the nearby islands for the day. We hired our snorkelling gear at the pier and got on a boat heading to Mamutik island. People be aware, that touts try and sell people boat tickets and then disappear and never return, while you stand waiting for ages where you were told too! Our boat only took 15mins to the island but it was quite choppy on the way. Even though it was sunny it was very windy too. When we got to the Mamutik the waves were high and made snorkelling a challenge and visibility below wasn’t great. I did venture out for an hour or so and saw plenty of fish. The coral wasn’t great and there was lots washed up on the beach. As I don’t have an underwater camera I took some pictures of the fish I saw from a board on the island, so that you can see what’s out there. There were more than what was on the board, such as a Needle fish, that follows around you in big groups, watching with their beady eyes. I also saw a
Clown fish (Nemo) and one that is exactly like Nemo, except the size of my hand. It lives beside the same plant as Nemo, and on the board had similar names, so I can only presume they are related in some way. As I said it was a clear day and no matter how much sun cream you put on, you always miss a spot!! My feet got it this time and Michelle’s face kept our dorm room awake at night!!
Back on the mainland we just lay low for the next two days, doing things like laundry, and eating! We went to an outdoor seafood night stalls in the centre of the town. I was at Michelle to go to it but I had forgot that it was seafood and felt stupid when I got there as I had actually been told it was seafood. (I don’t like seafood). It was huge and could easily cater for a over a thousand. It was busy and had all the usual hustle and bustle you’d associate with Asia. After walking all the way there we weren’t going to just turn around. We went inside(it had an over head roof) and
sat down. All of a sudden we had six or seven surrounding us all flashing different menus. Not so long ago we would have left the place because of all the hassle, but we just took the menus and told them to come back in a few minutes. So far in restaurants, when you sit down they wait beside the table until you order. It feels pressurised and you cant relax and think about what you want. You just feel the longer you take, the longer you are holding the waiter up. Luckily they had a chicken satay stand so we ordered a lot of that and some chicken dumplings. The fish wasn’t cheap and Michelle didn’t feel like any either. What did catch our eye was the deep fried ice cream menu. Michelle didn’t want to go to the counter so I went up. I ordered sweet corn flavour ice cream and Durian flavoured ice cream. For those that don’t know durian fruit, it smells. It smells so bad that hotels and transport systems have banned it from entering their premises. There is even a $3000 fine in Singapore if you bring it on the subway. The flavours on
offer were chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and the ones I named above. I thought to myself….. ‘when in Rome’, and ordered the odd ones. Michelle wasn’t impressed with what I picked and honestly, I didn’t pick them because she wouldn’t go up! We laughed for a while until the arrived. One was deep fried in cornflakes and the other in almond. You could smell the durian straight away. It has the same affect as blue cheese, the way it gets up your nose. It isn’t the sweetest and definitely an acquired taste. It also reminded me of the taste of raw onion as well, so you know kind of what we were dealing with. Michelle enjoyed the sweet corn ice cream and said it was different but nice. I finished the durian and it isn’t as bad as some would make it out.
The girl running our hostel was very friendly and helpful and booked our bus tickets to Sandakan for us. Its only six hours this time, and even though you can fly we are not that affected by the buses. Next up is a visit to Sepilock and the world famous Orang-utan sanctuary. When you hear Borneo, one
of the first things you think of is Orang-utans, from all those documentaries we’ve seen on TV. We also might try and see some Probisocs monkeys, that remind me of Alf the alien from that TV show many moons ago!
In a bit. DH
Song of the blog: The Who - Baba O’Reilly
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