I realize that I'm still missing at least four posts from my last holidays. I'm finding it difficult to write them before putting pen to paper (as it were) about the holiday I just had. I am experiencing deja vu. I left Vietnam promises to come back as I didn't see even half of what I wanted to and now I feel the same way about Sabah.
It was a seven day trip in and around the town of Kota Kinabalu in the Sabah region of the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo. Also on Borneo Island is the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Brunei, and an Indonesian section called Kalimantan. Borneo is one of those places that immediately makes one think of sand beaches, tropical vegetation and blue skies. I didn't make it out of Sabah, but I will vouch for all the above.
The government in Sabah is wisely doing what Indonesia isn't. Nearly all the Sabah region is protected wildlife parks and natural reserves. They are well run, well protected and still very wild. The money is put back into care for the parks and for the good of the towns. It's really amazing. In twenty years when 98% of Java is paved over, they'll still be scratching their head wondering what happened. In Sabah, they'll have some of the last great jungles in the world.
I traveled with Jenn, she's the person I've known longest here in Indo. We suffered through EF together, we were groupies together, we've been through a lot together. All that said, we'd never traveled together. We left Saturday and arrived there just after midnight on Sunday. Sunday we awoke to find a very nice Sunday Market just outside our window. Lots of strange options and interesting products.
|Dead frog change purses. These were not the only ones we saw.|
|Tanjung Aru beach #1|
After that was a dip in the volcanically heated sulfur hot springs and a stop to see the rafflesia flower. It's a rare, carnivorous, parasitic flower. We missed out on the botanical garden because it was raining and cold but it was a good, full day.
|The village chief inaugurating our group "chief"|
|The dancing was very intense.|
|Macaques all look like they have mustaches and mohawks.|
|Can you find the five monkeys in this photo? Answer at the bottom.|
There were two trees side by side. One was a group of proboscis and one a pack of silver leaf. Neither group seemed disturbed by the other or by us. As sun set we nearly stumbled on two packs of water buffalo neck deep in the river. I was totally awed by the huge fruit bats swarming across the sky. The wing span must have been a meter or more and there were dozens or more. I have a new appreciation of bats after living in Indo where the little ones eat insects. Dinner was great and then we went back out on the boat to see fireflies. We didn't see many but were lucky to have seen any since there was an impending storm. It was a brilliant day, aside from the random, unidentified bug (possibly ant?) attack on my feet.
|Water buffalo having a bath|
We wasted a night but we didn't know. The next day was a small boat out to Pulau Sapi or Cow Island. There were no cows. We walking fifteen minutes from the crowded beaches to a tiny beach that we had all to ourselves. Snorkeling revealed maybe 30 different kinds of fish, plus starfish, crabs, sea cucumbers and anemones. If we'd known we would have spent more days out on the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park that is made up of five islands.
|Fan-slippin-tastic Sapi Island|
A last note: The locals and night life were very chill but interested. We've concluded that KK is full of men with very bad hair and started to ponder the rationale. The food was cheap and fresh. Vietnamese, Indian, Malay, western and a variety of fresh seafood were all readily available.
|See? Five monkeys.|