Our first experience in Borneo

Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, March 24, 2008

We are having our most disgusting breakfast ever at 09h30. Two pieces of toast, a raw egg, butter and green stuff, neither of us volunteers to try.
No wireless. Dr T asks the waitress about it. While I think: 'she does not even know what wireless is', she replies: 'I'll have a look, it might not been turned op yet'. And she even tells us 10 minutes later: 'the wireless is on'.
Tony discovers to my horror: the hotel in which we are planning on staying tonight did not answer, nor the hotel on the island, which we want to go to for a week afterwards.
Back in the room, T calls the 'tonight' hotel. They are full. Tony asks whether they have any suggestions. The girl gives him 2 phone numbers, adding: 'I do not know the prefix'. Hello!!! How can you work (or live) somewhere without knowing your prefix? Any of you not knowing your prefix? And your country code? AND: this is a native English speaking girl. Not a 2 Euro/day paid local. My perfect hubby knows the prefix and calls. Yes. They do have a double en-suite and he books.
This time he DID have a local on the line, who did not even know the address of the hotel.
I insist on taking a taxi. Yes, there is a big price difference. But I do not want to look for the right train to go to the right bus station and then for the right bus to go to the right airport with all our luggage. The price difference turns out to be 10 Euro and I am happy in my taxi. It IS an hour drive. KL has 2 airports. No, not the domestic and international one. It has KLIA: Kuala Lumpur International Airport. And: LCCT: Low Cost Carrier Terminal. Which can be national or international. It just says: I am cheap.
We arrive almost 3 hours before departure and cannot check in yet. We pay for the lounge. It is normally 16 Euro a person. T gets it for 12. We have to conclude: it is not worth it. A couple of snacks. Coffee, tea and water for free. All the rest you have to pay yourself. Only: the soft drinks are in a vendor machine for which you need a LOT of coins, which we do not have, nor can they change. The coffee machine 'has to be topped up with water', which does not happen for the next 2 hours. The wireless works less than half of the time.
This time, we did not take the 'priority seat' option: it is 4 Euros a person and last time, the plane was empty. Queuing to board, we regret it. The flight is 2,5 hours and I want to sit next to my Hubby! But, it works out all right. We even had 3 seats for 2. Low cost carriers, even have to pay for a coke, but well. Worse is: they do not have any beer. This is Air Asia.
We land with half an hour delay. We have to go through immigration. Why? We are not entering the country. Still. Luggage. Taxi. 20 Euro for an hour drive to Semporna. I HATE the ride. 2 lanes for both directions. Driver overtakes on double white lines with no clear view. In the dark. This is more challenging than sky diving!
We arrive at the hotel after 8. We have a tiny room. Clean, nice small bathroom, airco and wireless. But no way one of us can play with the laptop without disturbing the other one sleeping. Other option of the hotel: superior room at double the cost. Big difference. Basic room 16 Euro/night/room. Superior double. Dr T sends me up to have a look: it is double the size, has a fridge and coffee machine, which our current room does not have, bigger bathroom: almost a studio. I tell the boy that the room is very nice but I think DOUBLE the price is very steep. The problem is: that boy does not care. He does not want to sell a bigger room. In fact: he does not want to sell ANYTHING. The less rooms, the less work for him. Dr T asks if there is a reduction if we book for a week. The boy follows the book: no. You get 15% reduction if you dive with the shop in the house. Those are his guidelines. No space for discussion. We move rooms tomorrow.  For one night only. We want to talk to someone in charge, who can give us a better price!
We start sniffling the village. Getting as far as next door, in the pub. After a beer, we continue. Seems to be a friendly place. People even say 'hi' without wanting anything of you! I do not feel comfortable in little side streets, in the complete dark in a new town. So we walk back home. Hubby takes our laptops from the room and we go back to the pub next door of our hotel. The funny thing: a little man with a street restaurant is standing in front of the pub, serving meals IN the pub! In fact: one meal; no choice. Fish, squid, scampi, chips, rice, garlic bread with some green stuff and sauce for ... 3,5 Euro. Let it come! We eat, play with our laptop some more and come home after midnight. We read a bit and go to sleep without alarm clock. Tomorrow, we will book our diving. We enquired here and there already. No alarm clock, I want to sleep in.
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