Page 9 of LivingTheDream Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kota Kinabalu July 28th 2009

(Day 480 on the road)This trip of mine is all about new experiences. And spending nine days in a hospital in Borneo was certainly a new experience. The doctors are not quite what happened to me, but I somehow sustained an injury to my inner ear, causing me to loose my balance (temporary hopefully) and 30% of hearing on my right ear (permanent unfortunately). It could have been due to the pressure changes during diving or a viral infection in the ear. In any case, from one moment to the next I felt dizzy and sick, just before boarding a flight from Sipadan back to Kota Kinabalu. During the short flight my condition deteriorated fast, and I threw up an uncountable number of times. By the end of the flight, I could not walk anymore on ... read more
MRI scan of my brain - looks pretty big, um?
My eyes look HUGE on this MRI scan
Imposing Mount Kinabalu

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sipadan June 25th 2009

(Day 447 on the road)From Brunei, we decided to take the overland (read: hitchhikers) route to Kota Kinabalu, or KK as everyone calls it, in Malaysia's eastern Sabah province. This turned out to be a little more complicated than anticipated and involved a total of seven different cars (and more than six hours on the road), all taking us a little further towards our destination. Still, as always in Malaysia, hitching was easy enough and we never had to wait longer than a few minutes for a car to stop. Plus we were riding with a few real characters again, amongst them an ex Brunei-Army helicopter pilot and a friendly Chinese family with three kids on vacation. Kota Kinabalu (KK) however was nothing more than a stop-over point for us on our way to the world ... read more
Huge turtle swimminmg next to our boat
Me struggling a bit with my fins before the dive

Asia » Brunei » Bandar Seri Begawan June 17th 2009

(Day 439 on the road)Bandar Seri Begawan is a strange place. It is the capital of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, by far smallest country in South-East Asia, which is in turn by far the richest country here due to its abundant oil reserves. In fact, the Sulatn of Brunei is one of the richest men in the world. What Bandar (as the locals call it) lacks completely however, is atmosphere. It is difficult to imagine that a country enveloped by vivid Malaysia can feel so boring. Even sterile and policed Singapore has a much nicer feel to it. We arrived on the day of Karen's birthday, and had a seriously difficult time to find a restaurant that was just a little more upmarket than the typical Chinese or Indian corner-restaurant with their plastic chairs and ... read more
Probiscus monkey flashing his teeth
Splashing out a bit on Karen's birthday

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Gunung Mulu National Park June 13th 2009

(Day 435 on the road)After our wonderful time in the lush jungle of the Kelabit Highlands, it was time for - some more jungle! To that end we made our way to the grand Mulu National Park. As with Bario, the park is only sensibly accessible by plane, so we had to take another two flights across the massive Borneo rainforest (one Twin Otter 21 seater, one Fokker 50) to reach there. Our plan of action was simple: Spend a few days in the park exploring the massive limestone caves, then hike up a steep mountain to see the pinnacles, and then trek and boat across the jungle almost all the way into Brunei on the northeastern border of the park. The first part of this plan was easy enough: A few of the most beautiful ... read more
Meet the Focker
The unreal karst Pinnacles

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Bario June 5th 2009

(Day 427 on the road)I am back from a great week spent in the jungle around the Kelabit Highlands, and it was a very nice week indeed! The Highlands are only reachable by air, and to that end we had to take a small Twin Otter 21-seater plane to reach there from the coastal town of Miri. The flight was great, it went over the greatest expanse of jungle one can imagine (which was albeit crisscrossed by quite a few logging roads). The plane itself was half empty and the feeling on the small craft very intimate. The door to the cockpit was open during the entire flight, so we could also observe the two pilots flying our plane and chat to them during the flight. The main town the Kelabit Highlands is sleepy Bario, a ... read more
Arriving in Bario on the Twin Otter plane
Settlement of the nomadic Penan tribe
Old Keleabit man doing a traditional dance

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak May 29th 2009

(Day 420 on the road)How ironic: On one of my last blog entries I wrote how much I enjoy my absolute freedom on this trip, and how I disliked planning and committing myself. And now I have just booked nine flights over the course of the next two month (total cost: 163 EUR, or 18 EUR per flight), essentially forcing me to plan around these fixed dates. But there seemed really no viable alternative: For one, Borneo is huge and large parts are either inaccessible or prohibitively expensive to get to if you are not flying. And second, getting to where we want to go after Borneo (Philippines and Taiwan) is virtually impossible via ferries. So Karen and I decided on a few flights inside Borneo to get to some of the more remote jungle corners ... read more
Great shot of the long-tailed lizard
Butterfly about to launch

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Bintulu May 26th 2009

(Day 417 on the road)Here it is, my 100th blog entry: After my extended stay in Kuching, I was ready to hit the road. Or rather: The river. Borneo is criss-crossed by rivers, and one of the mightiest ones is the Batang Rajang river, running for 640km in the northwest of the island. For most of the people living along its shores in small settlements or villages, the river is the only way to move around. There are frequent boats plying the Batang Rejang and its adjacent river-system, carrying goods and people to the most remote corners. From Kuching Karen and I caught a speedboat to the town of Sibu (five hours), where we got a connecting boat to spend the night in Kapit (three hours), well in the interior of Northern Borneo. The next morning, ... read more
What the heck is she smoking? And look at the earlobes and the tattoo!
Local boys having a swim in the river
Life by the river

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching May 23rd 2009

(Day 414 on the road)Of all the things at my disposal on my travels, time is one of my greatest asset. Unlike many other travellers I have met so far, I have no real plan for my journey, most of the time not knowing where I will be tomorrow. I feel that this is the best way to travel, as it leaves me very flexible in terms of where I go and at what time, but also for when things go wrong (as they invariably do) or simply don't work out. I frequently meet travellers who plan their trip in great detail and are then frustrated if, say, their chosen bus is fully booked or leaves at a time that they consider inconvenient. But if you have nothing more than a very rough plan of the ... read more
Orang Utan in a bit of trouble, but hanging on
The magnificent Fairy Cave
Mangroves at Bako National Park

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Bogor May 7th 2009

(Day 398 on the road)I am about to leave Indonesia (for now), and one of the things that I surely will not miss is the constant "hello mister" and "my friend, my friend" shouting from everyone on the street, even from two blocks away on the opposite side of the road. If you have not experienced it it may sound funny - but trust me, after four weeks of constant harassment it is no longer fun, just very very tiring. I am not sure why they don't just leave one in peace and mind their own business, because it is not only people that are trying to sell you something, but most of the times they are just random people who are trying to get your attention for whatever reason. I found that the only effective ... read more
Breakfast with an atmosphere
Orchids at the Botanical Garden
Being spoiled with creambath and massage

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Lampung » Krakatau May 3rd 2009

(Day 394 on the road) Wow - my trip to Krakatauwas absolutely and utterly fascinating! Of all the volcanoes in the world, Krakatau is possibly the most famous one. Its last major eruption in 1883 was one of the greatest natural disasters in the world and quite possibly the loudest ever recorded sound on earth. Back in 1883 the eruption killed 36.000 people - if the volcano was to erupt again today, scientists expect the death toll to be over 1 million people. The sound of the 1883 eruption could be heard 3.500 km away in Perth, Australia, and the shock wave went around the globe seven times in total. Ash was propelled 80 km high, and after the eruption average global temperatures fell by 1,2 degrees Celsius. Quite something, um? During the 1883 eruption, Kra ... read more
Boys chasing our boat
Swimming with Krakatau erupting
With Endah and Krakatau

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