Even the little boy in the bra was friendly

Trip Start Sep 18, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Thursday, May 22, 2008

We got out of the taxi at the Scuba Diving center at about 8p.m. to ask about diving and accommodation (even though we had a place for the first 2 nights). Scuba-Junkies has it's own hostel too, and we would have preferred to stay there, knowing that it's clean and well run.
We'd a quick chat with a girl at scuba junkies that went pretty much "No all rooms are booked, no all places for diving at Sipadan Island are booked, yes you can dive at Mabul Island". After that, we set off with all our bags to where we'd booked a room on the net through the dark streets that were still quiet busy. There were loads of kids running around and playing. So lots of them were running up to us saying "hello" or "what's your name?" etc. and running away again or skipping along side us for a while. The funniest was a little boy about 8 or 9 yrs old who jumped out of a rubbish skip, that himself and his friends had been playing in. He ran up and started chattin to us, very serious and interested to know where we were from. He wasn't wearing a t-shirt, just a bra.
Semporna isn't a tourist town. It's got it's big street markets but there's nothing touristy about them. Markets full of fish, fruit and veg. etc.. and I was gutted when I couldn't find an "I love Semporna" t-shirt. No Italian restaurant. I don't even think there's an Irish pub. If it wasn't the closest town on the mainland (i.e. Borneo) to Mabul Island and Sipadan Island (one of the best dive sites in the world), you simply wouldn't go there.
We got to dive at Mabul, which is a great day out, great diving. We're going back because Sipadan was booked out. There's a set no. of dive permits available. The water surrounding Sipadan is a marine park and I presume they want to preserve it by limitings the amount of divers fins and fingers destroying the reef. When they're taken, they're taken. Unfortunately, it was quiet busy and booked out for 2 weeks when we were there. But as the Governor of California once said, "I'll be back".

So, we eventually made it back to Semporna....both wearing leather jackets and one bright red contact lense, holding our shotguns.
The diving out at Sipadan was class. We did 6 dives there and another three at Mabul. Saw tons of sharks, turtles, and shaols of big fish.
A guy from Claremorris in Mayo, Stephen, was on our boat one of the days. So we had a few bottles of Tiger with him and his friend in the hostel bar one night. Stephen had one pair of shoes robbed in India, he was telling us. He has no flip flops or anything like that other than the pair of shoes he'd on. They were in some shape, with bits of sticky tape over the massive holes on the sides of them. We thought it was hilarious though, he needs size 15 shoes. Which basically means you could park a Boeing 747 inside one of them and, of course, he's on the wrong continent for replacing those. I'm still laughin when I think about it.                            
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