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Published: August 5th 2018
SECOND CLINIC IN TAWAU
Both doctors were very professional and I felt better just checking in with them. I had little hope of getting well in time to dive Sipadan.
I stayed at City Garden Hotel in Tawau. I have been to Borneo three times, once in 2013 and again in 2014, but I never spent any time in Tawau. During the first trip I had some diver’s ear problems that caused me to miss my reservation to climb Mount Kota Kinabalu, but only temporarily. My hiking guide was a fourteen year old boy who could do the climb twice in one day. I am sure he was fed up with this slow old lady. I did a couple of other tours and then went to Semporna to dive at Sipadan, one of the top ten dive sites in the world.
The second time I took a taxi straight to Semporna and dived with several dive shops so I could dive more than once at Sipadan. One of the dive shops was Mabul Back Packers on Mabul Island. On the day I left to do a jungle trip pirates came in at night and killed a policeman and kidnapped another policeman. That was much too close of an encounter with the kidnappers and decided to stay away for awhile. This year, after researching the kidnappings on Google,
SHOPPING AT THE MALL
Who wears these beautiful clothes and when? I am a dancer and I thought these dresses were very interesting.
not a word or a reference to kidnappers, I decided it must not be much of a problem anymore, or at least diving in Sipadan was worth the risk. I have never seen anything in print about the kidnappings and I was beginning to think I dreamed all this up.
But I arrived in Tawau on my way to Semporna on August 3rd
. I decided to stay three days to rest up from Brunei. I was so sick, and after collapsing in the airport I thought I needed some down time.The first morning I got up and went to the local clinic. The hotel sent me to Dr. Wong’s clinic. It was very close to the hotel. After asking at least five different people I found the clinic. In Tawau there is a street and the back of the street, making it hard to find places. He was on the second floor of an old tenement building. The doctor was a very proper, polite Chinese man and he took my blood pressure. He said to lie down for the pressure was quite low. After palpitating my abdomen he said I had a virus and he was sending me to
This is the breakfast that came with the room. I ate the peanut and tasted the fishy rice...it didn't work for me.
his colleague, trained in western medicine, Dr. Kulasingam. Dr. Wong would not take any payment for his services.
I walked up to the next street and went to the Klinik Sabindo. After a brief wait, I was ushered into the Dr.’s office. Dr.Kulasingam was a lively Indian man who’s favorite phrase was, “…not to worry, not to worry.” As he started to take my blood pressure, he said, …pump, pump…”What do you think of president Trump?” Then he said, “Your blood pressure is very high.” I laughed and said he must refrain from questions like that if he wanted accurate readings, and I suggested he take my blood pressure again later, without reference to political topics. He said, “…not to worry.” Then I coughed, and he said, “We call that the “Hundred Day cough.” I said, “I am a diver. Now I am worried.” And we laughed again. He prescribed five medications to be taken for five days…then I would be well enough to dive. When he took my blood pressure again, it was low. Rest. Eat. Sleep. And take the medications.
After receiving the medications the nurse asked me to sit for a minute. Then she ushered
BREAKFAST 101 RESTAURANT
American food. This was delicious almond peanut butter toast, a healthy green smoothie and hot black tea. Just looking at it made me feel better.
me into a private conference room. The Dr. came in and we chatted for a minute. His parting words to me were, “If I was your son I would not let you dive.” I smiled. He would not accept money for the visit or the medications. Everyone has been so nice.
Try as I could, I could not eat. I just wasn’t hungry. Everything turned my stomach. I don’t think I will ever be able to eat another plate of rice or chicken. The desk clerk was very nice and he sent me by Grip (like Uber) to an American food restaurant, Secret Recipe. I managed to eat a few fries and drink a lemon tea. The clerk had a coupon so my ride was free. I gave the driver a dollar, anyway. It wasn’t much of a drive, but I didn’t know the area and it was dark. It cost me three dollars to go back to the hotel.
The first morning they sent my breakfast to my room. It was a large helping of rice festooned with one peanut and some dried salt fish, and other unrecognizable things. I tried. Really, I tried. But my stomach rebelled. The next evening the desk called and asked me about breakfast and I declined. I went down in the morning and the clerk told me there was an American breakfast place right across the street, on the side that isn’t a street. Sure enough, I found it. It was a little like a local Starbucks with the kindest, sweetest young waitress. We started talking and I encouraged her to hang in there with her studies. She was studying chemical management, or some such thing, and she felt she was out of her depth. I told her to just study and trust that she was smart and could do this. And I told her if she failed a class, to take it again with a different teacher. I told her when I was in my last year of study for my teaching certificate, all my colleagues were elated…just one more year to get the teaching degree! I thought, despairing, “I can’t do another year…it is just too hard.” But of course, I did it. I went the final year and I got my teaching certificate. She was grateful for the story and the advice. So here’s to Fatin …you can do it!
I stayed three days in Tawau. It was fun. I walked around. I bought a new blouse. I tried to find a spa to give me a manicure, particularly to remove the old chipped polish; diving really does a number on nail polish. There were no nail places. I began to feel a little better. I bought a ticket for a bus to Semporna. I paid $130 local currency; as usual with first taxi rides in a new country, it was way over priced; the same trip back to Tawau cost me just $25, local currency. It was an hour and a half ride and I dozed most of the way.
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