Into The Jungle We Go

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Padanakan Dii

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, April 22, 2011

Our introduction to Borneo has not really been what we were expecting. Kota Kinabalu, the arrival port for most visitors looking for the ultimate jungle experience is actually a smelly concrete dump, boating Burger King and many more alike.  It has of course been great fun never-the-less but I think we were all pleased to check out of The Rainforest Lodge, a hostel which was anything but a Rainforest Lodge.  They had a great offer whereby if you stay two nights you got the second night half price.  After our first night it was obvious why not many stayed two.

I went off on a hunt for a hire car whilst the others enjoyed coffee and toast.  I was sent off with strict instructions by Charlotte to not come back with a cramped little banger.  After finding three companies who had no cars left I was relieved when I hit the jackpot.

The tiny little banger rolled up half an hour later and we squeezed ourselves in to wave goodbye to KK.  Not before however, taking a massive detour around town to find Princess Polly her much desired Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.  Out of the city we started climbing up, most grateful that we were not cycling as the road snaked its way 20 miles uphill.  The lorries and buses struggled and left big trails of traffic behind them.  As we neared Mount Kinabalu the views both left and right were stunning.  Our progress was slow due and the anticipated 4 hour drive  was looking more like an 8 hours.

We stopped for refreshments, freshly prepared lemon ice teas (Giles preferred Pepsi in a can).  Pols and I freshened up our two day without shower feet by dipping them in the passing mountain stream.  Back in the fun wagon we found open road and everyone fell asleep, apart from me, I was driving.  Not happy about this I started aiming for the numerous potholes to wake everyone up.  My erratic driving had the desired effect.  I was a little ashamed however that I had gone too far when we had to pull over for Charlotte to throw up.  Poor Charlotte.  Giles showed his soft side by offering her the front seat for the onward journey (not before pushing the seat so far forwards that Charlottes legs were tucked up under her chin).

We stopped for lunch in an out in the sticks town.  We received our standard plate of rice and then pointed at the pots we thought would not make us too ill.  It was not the best meal, Pols and Giles worked out that the yellow stuff was tripe and my unidentifiable meat turned out to be chicken bum.  Char sensibly opted for vegetables only.  Some fun tree games with the local kids rounded off a fun stop.  The adorable little boy was called Jojo, no wonder he was so adorable, all Jojo's are adorable.

On we went and the potholes grew worse.  It was as if West Sussex County Council had been hired to maintain the roads.  Giant craters appeared from nowhere throwing the fun wagon all over the place.  The dense jungle unfortunately changed into palm oil plantations.  Concrete evidence of the rainforest destruction continued for at least 100km.  But then we arrived in Sepilok.  We turned off the roundabout to find a dream jungle resort.  After a mile of mud track we were faced with the final challenge.  A very steep hill which was too much for the 50 cc banger.  I attacked it with gusto but the weight of Giles sent us sliding back down.  Everybody piled out shaking, leaving me to give it another go.  I drew on my rally car experience to belt it out in first before effortlessly slipping into second to reach the summit sweating.

We checked into our beautiful lodge to sit up in a tree house and look over the jungle.  Now dark, the bugs are out and we are a little on edge.  Giles has just been attacked by a big bug and had to disrobe to exterminate said bug. 

Just as we were ready to say goodnight a voice from a neighbouring table enquired "Are you guys from Bosham and cycling around the world?"  Unbelievable.  Kevin, a guy I had met in The Anchor whilst writing my wedding speech was on holiday with his Australian girlfriend.  Kevin is good mates with Ryan, Nathan and of course Dan Gick.  We had a good chat which included Kevin telling us how Giles used to bully him during the topper races at Junior Week! A great day and we really are now in the jungles of Borneo, and not a Starbucks in sight.

Miles Cycled: 0 but 200 driven in the Kancil 500cc
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Jojo on

That voice in the dark must have been sublimely surreal!

clareabelle on

what a small world...I have one of those stories from the gaga party - not as exotic a location mind! xxx

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