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Published: June 28th 2007
Today (ok so I am still catching up so it was several days ago but lets just pretend for now) we had a tour of Sandakan. We were picked up by John, our local contact for a tour of the main attractions of Sandakan and an orientation to the area where we will be living for the next few months.
We started at the Crocodile Farm - actually it is meant to be the local idea of conservation because as far as I can gather none actually become handbags if the sign about one living there for 43 years to go by. But having said that it was still a difficult visit as the crocodiles were overcrowded and spent much of there time battling each other for water, sun space or dead slops of fish. And some were without water in concrete pens.
Once croc had spent 43 years of its 46 years of life on this planet. I felt sad that it did not know freedom and that a creature that has survived from pre-historic times should be living like this with concrete walls and having it's picture taken.
The farm doesn't only have crocodiles there
are porcupines, sun bears and Macac Monkeys all in similar conditions.
The sober atmosphere was not lifted by out next visit which was to the War Memorial gardens where during the Second World War over 3000 POW's dies in camps in Sandakan. Only 6 survived the camps of Sabah and the atrocities of the Death Marches. Strangely for a place that had seen so much death it had a peacefulness if somewhat sad resignation.
Things lifted with a visit to the Chinese Buddhist Temple with eh beautiful views of Sandakan and the whole structure beautifully decorated with Ornate Chinese Dragons and Buddhas.
We were soon off on a visit to Water Village - stilled house on water and home to Sea Gypsies (now land based rather than there original life on the sea). The houses are surprisingly luxurious inside and have plan gardens. The are obviously used to tourists as you are encourage at many houses to have a look at various items they have for sale - mainly jewellery.
Final stop of the day was to Agnes Keith’s House - an American Author you wrote 'Land beneath the Winds'. A pretty colloquial house with history.
If you are wondering about the book title (she wrote others) Sabah is known as The Land beneath the Winds because if misses out from Typhoons because it is sheltered by the Philippines. Interesting fact - never know when you may get asked in a pub quiz!
But the best part about Agnes Keith's place is the Cream Tea we all enjoyed at the English Cream Tea place that is right next door. Where you sit out on a lawn - with Croquet lawn - under Parasols and enjoy a full English Style Cream Tea. Did feel I should be wearing an Edwardian style outfit though.
They have Extreme Ironing - maybe should introduce Extreme Cream Tea'ing. I wonder where the most remote place is that you can get a Cream Tea - maybe I should check it out on my travels!!!
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I hope they were proper ones with Cornish Clotted Cream, Tiptree Raspberry Jam, sour milk scones and English Breakfast Tea! (I dont like Strawberry Jam.) Take Care