Road Rallies and Moon Caves

Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
Trip End Jun 16, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Highlands

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Monday, April 27, 2009

Up to catch the 8am bus to Miri. Affendi picked us up and took us and saw us to the right bus. Our first clue should have been the seats. Big, wide, cushy seats. Yeah this is nice. No windows that open on the bus but that is okay, we got air conditioning and the front seats with plenty of leg room. This going to be nice. Oh so how wrong we were. The second clue should have been the tools brought on board. The third the over abundance of luggage, we could not get our bags under the bus so had to take them on board. Still no problem, put them in front of us. Okay we head out about 30 mins late and pick up another family, they have 5 kids and twice as many boxes. There goes the leg room, one of the daughters sat with each of us. The one who sat with me curled up like a cat and went to sleep. We also had to go back to the garage, not sure for what but we finally get started. We head out on smooth roads. Until the right and turn onto road rally hell. The road from Mukah to Bintulu is part concrete, part dirt and under construction. We bounced along for about 2 or 3 hours and at times had to pull over to the side of the road so other buses and construction vehicles could pass with inches to spare, I don't think we went over 20 km the whole time and oh yeah the wonderful air conditioning wasn't enough, no air and no windows to open, not that you would want to, the greenery on both sides of the road were coated grey with road dust. Believe it or not there were mopeds traveling this road but im sure they took a beating along with the drivers. The drivers of the buses and cars were bold enough to pass each other on these roads. I figured a lot of horn blowing would be going on, but I think our driver used his twice. Found out what the tools were for, the drivers seat wouldn't stay up so he had to use a wrench to keep the back from falling over. There was so much luggage and boxes in the aisle that you had to climb over them to get on or off the bus. We stopped and it was funny to see everyone climbing over boxes to get off or on the bus. At the bus stop I looked for chicken satay but couldn't find any, opted for a simple burger, it was a thin slice of hamburger, a fried egg, cucumbers, what looked like shredded lettuce and some kind of salad dressing that was sweet, it was actually very good and may have to start eating burgers like that at home. We made it to the next town to catch the bus to Miri, the second bus was nice and the road was smooth, we shared a cab with a girl from Sweden to the Highlands hostel, where we were greeted by at least 6 or 7 cats, luckily it didn't smell like cat. We got settled and headed to the mall to find Jessie a swimsuit, she had thrown hers away and we were taking the trip to Niah Caves with a beach stop the next day. Didn't find a swimsuit but she did find the movie Entrapment that she had been wanting to watch since KL. Stopped on the way back to grab a bite to eat and crash for the night.

Went to Niah Caves the next day, about an hour ride in a bumpy mini van with Luke our man vs. wild guide. We get to the park and his parting words were don't take a swim because of the salties, get some water and go that a way. 3 other backpackers from our hostel went with us. We went in as a group since it was cheaper. We were told you had to take a boat across the river for one ringget. We get to the river and get on the boat and he takes us about 20 feet across the river. If you were an Olympic long jumper you could have jumped across. I think with a running start most people would make it. We It was a pretty nice walk until we got to the traders cave and had to start climbing, the rest of the trip once we entered the caves was either in the dark, on slick planks or stairs, or all three. Traveling thru the caves was fun and there were bats in the cave just hanging around, they looked like little pigs. We made it thru the main caves and hiked up to the painted cave, which was a bit disappointed because they had the area fenced off and you could barely see the paintings. It was made up for when one of the other hikers saw a flying squirrel fly into the cave, we were able to locate him in the upper part of the cave and it after that it was a stare down. 5 of us waiting for him to come out and him just staring down from his perch. To say the least we lost. Saw no more of him than his tail. We headed back thru the caves to the park entrance and saw a sign for longhouses, we had some time to kill so we headed to the longhouses, evidently not to many people use this patch, it was all on planks and they were sections missing and trees across the planks. Me being the ultimate clutz managed to step on a rotten step and went crashing to the ground, getting my ankle caught in the wood. After extracting myself from the what was left of the bridge, we made it to the longhouses and it was a collection of huts, well at least I got a few new bruises for my efforts. We made it back to the main hut and waited for one of the other hikers to catch up, he spent most of the trip trailing along in the back. We headed back across the river (another ringget) and back into the van. Looking forward to going to the beach, we ended up back at the hostel???? No beach today I guess.

After getting cleaned up we took a taxi to a place Jessie seen on the way back from the caves, the Banana Leaf Rice, restaurant and café for Indian food. I had the mutton which the waitress said was world famous. It was good but im not sure about the world famous part. This was my first meal I ate with my hands and it takes just as long with hands as with a fork. After dinner we waddled back to the hostel and watched Jessie's movie Entrapment finally. .
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lina_dana on

I have been really enjoying your blogs. It seems like ya'll have have some travel adventures

Lee on

It appears your well laid plans continue to fall just shy of completion, yet and still you both keep going. Loved the movie entrapment. Hope you did too.

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