Lahad Datu to Sandakan
Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
88Trip End Jan 28, 2005
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A complete dearth of information and still no internet sees us on the midday local bus to Sandakan. Packed and bashed, with no air con, it was a hot and sticky 3 hour ride. The depressing monotony of landscape filling oil palm plantations was only ever briefly broken when we rumbled past an isolated wooden homestead. Rows of colourful pot plants filled the verandah, men lay in hammocks and in the corner of the yard sat the ever present scrap vehicle which has been abandoned to to the undergrowth and chickens.
Sandakan is a busy bustling place at the entrance to an island studded bay. On the outskirts we pass thousands of wooden shacks with corrugated iron roofs, built on stilts. This is where most of the Fillipino and Indonesian migrants call home.
Luck is on our side in our search for accomodation, our first try, the Mayfair Hotel, has one room left. Many hotels in Malaysia can be a little on the seedy side, and if they offer day rates you know the lobby will be frequented by undesirable ladies who whisper 'love you long time' as you sprint past. The Mayfair Hotel looks seedy, but isn't. The rooms are very basic, clean and have plenty of hot water. The owner is mad Chineses man, with died black hair like George Graham (TV football pundit) and a uniform of greek millionaire flip flops, khaki jungle shorts and a white (whitish)vest. He supplies every room with a DVD and has an extensive collection of films, including a draw full of bootleg newies, just help yourself. For a small hourly rate there is also a laptop computer available.
The films are in piles in reception and before we'd even checked in Rene had spied julie andrews staring back at her. No, no and thrice no. Passive listening to countless viewings means even I know most of the words to The Sound of Chuffing Music.
Internet was and up and running so we checked our emails. The Penang Curry House provided a tasty and extremely cheap meal, with free poppodum and strares before we retired early with a Mars Bar and a cup of tea to watch our chosen movie, something cultured and thought provoking - Spiderman.
Expenses (7 ringgit/pound): Laundry 17, taxi 6, bus to Sandakan 24, accom 45, dinner 10.60, internet 2.50, drinks 1
Thurs Sep 2 - Day 120
Pretty much a full day sorting out our next move. Frustrating but ultimately successful. Tomorrow we leave for Sukau and hopefully some wildlife viewing on the river.
After last nights webbed high jinx, we opt for something more cultured and thought provoking tonight - Spiderman 2.
Expenses: bfast 13.20, snacks 4.60, scarf 3, photos 40, pcards and stamps 12, snacks 3.20, dinner 14.10, accom 45.