Settling back into the swing of things....

Trip Start Apr 12, 2007
Trip End Oct 20, 2007

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Its amazing just how disruptive being plucked from a 'backpacking-through-SE Asia-lifestyle' can be.

Only last week, I was enjoying the comforts of the western world - wine, roast dinners, pasties (hmmm), pubs, tap water, milk, a duvet. The comforts of western sensibilities, at least, were extended with my few days in Singapore, upon return to Asia (no pasties though).
So to arrive at Kota Kinabalu is to return to what I - over the past 5 months, at least - am used to. NO, this is not a declaration that my future home is set to be Malaysian Borneo, but there's an air of normality found in uneven pavements, bottled water, noodle soup, outrageously smelly sewerage systems and never being sure just what bleeding direction you should be looking in, when crossing the road.

KK (as its known) is an inauspicious, port city, but the biggest in Sabah. Sabah, by the way is the eastern province of Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak is the western province and in the middle, you have that shit-hole known as Brunei....). There really int much to do in KK, BUT there is shit-loads to do in the rest Sabah and my first day here was spent planning the whole trip. And all the fun stuff starts tomorrow, so watch up for the updates, when they come.

Staying at the Borneo Backpackers lodge which is lovely and friendly and sociable. Nuff said. During the day, without much to do in the city, its a day trip in a really-quite-quick boat to the nearby islands of Sapi and Gaya. KK doesnt have beaches, but with these chilled little retreats a 20 min boat ride away, no worries. Yesterday we (that is me and 3 smashing law graduates - Matt and Agnes from Canada / Leo from Indonesia) engaged in a little 45 minute trek through the forest on Gaya, before being met at the end of the trail by the boat.

The boat then deliverd us 100m over the sea to Sapi for some sunbathing action. Ahhh beaches - my first for just over two weeks..... my tan was a fadin, you knows......

Infact, it was OK to snorkel round there too - fair few fish right off the beach, including the worlds most rubbish sea-slug. It made no effort at all, the lazy Opisthobranchia.

God bless wikipedia.

Anyway, more impressive was the 18 inch long lizard we saw just before setting our towels down. Or so we thought.... A tissue-seller (there seems to be loads round - do malaysians have synus problems?) told us to 'look over there'; sure enough, over our shoulders stood a 6-foot long monitor lizard. BLOODY HUGE thing. See the pics. The oil drum BBQ hopefully give the beast some scale!

Then all sunbathing was interupted by the day's downpoor; the clouds are obvious muesli fans as they're kept regular at 3pm everyday. Well, near enough.

Dinners have been at the oh-so-cheap and utterly fantastic night market, which boasts 10's of stalls serving malayan food aplenty. Not too disimilar a dining experience to that experienced in Luang Prabang (aah Lyndon Lane....), just fill your plate for 4Rinngits (about 60p) and, er, fill your boots. Ace.

OH, and before I forget, I have uploaded a shit load of photos for entries in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Take a sneeky peeky if you fancy it.

Otherwise there's not really much to report. Apart from watching Spongebob Squarepants in Malay, that is. Which is an experience I didnt expect on my travels.

As I say, all the good stuff is to come.......

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