Borneo 2015 – day 19

Friday 17th July

In all honesty, I will be glad to be home, and crazy as it might sound, I think I’ll be glad to go back to work. What I’m NOT looking forward to is the crazy cold winter that Sydney has put on in the 3 weeks we’ve been gone.
When we were up in Kudat last weekend, I was talking to a couple from The Netherlands about it (the weather in Sydney) and they simply laughed at me. I guess all things are relative!
We got ourselves a late check out from the hotel, left our bags there, and caught a cab to a nearby shopping centre to kill a couple of hours… Read more


Borneo 2015 – day 18

Thursday 16th July

Today is my paternal grandmother’s 91st birthday, so I gave her a call to wish her a happy birthday and apologise for the fact that I have not, in two and a half weeks of searching, been able to find her a birthday card.
I reminded her that we are currently in Borneo (she has the beginning stages of dementia), and she was happy enough that I had bothered to call her from here and not to worry about a card. This would be the first year since I was about 7 that I have not sent her a card. Perhaps I’ll send her one when I get home just to keep the record in tact, even though it will be late.
I rang her from Jesselton Point Jetty, which was where we were assembling for our day’s activities. We have booked a day with Diverse-Borneo, a watersport company who specialise in dive tours, snorkelling and the like. We are doing some snorkelling, and an island-to-island zipline. Apparently, this zipline at 250 metres (which runs between Pulau Gaya and Pulau Sapi, just a 15 min boat ride from the jetty in Kinabalu) used to be the longest island-to-island zipline in the world. Recently though, a new one has been constructed in the Philippines which is apparently longer.
Our boat ride included the 3 of us, a young Japanese couple who I don’t think had ever seen water before (later, they were snorkelling with lifejackets on!), and a handful of scuba divers who were on their last day of their Open Water Certificate training… Read more


Borneo 2015 – day 17

Wednesday 15th July

We’ve got a big day planned for tomorrow, so today was a day to just hang around in Kinabalu. We wandered the streets, visiting some places we’d seen two years ago as well as popping into a couple of shopping centres that were still under construction when we were here last.
The crazy thing about construction here is that companies will build a new shopping precinct, market the hell out of it, and when it’s ready for occupation, businesses will depart their current premises to take up a shopfront in the newly-opened centre. And then, the cycle starts all over again (or closer to the truth would be that the cycles actually overlap, because at this point, ANOTHER centre is halfway completed already). The next one opens, the businesses all move on. Why is it crazy? Because you end up with all these shopping centre buildings left sitting empty. They don’t seem to demolish them too often either… Read more


Borneo 2015 – day 16

Tuesday 14th July

This morning, we decided that even though it didn’t make for particularly spectacular viewing, we nonetheless would do some more snorkelling off the beach to kill some time.
Noon came, we checked out, and waited for a taxi to arrive. He picked us up around 12:30 and we began the 250km journey back to Kinabalu. In Australia, this would be a two hour trip, maybe 2 and a half. Here? 4 hours. We got to the airport around 16:30.
Along the way, I had received a text from the rental car company saying that because we had hit a pothole, we would be liable for the damage to the rental car and that that would come to RM3500 (about AUD$1200). I refused to discuss it over the phone and told the girl that we would talk about it when we got to the airport. Read more


Borneo 2015 – day 15

Monday 13th July

Monday dawned, and the SMS messages to and fro with the rental car company began.
We explained that we were booked into a hotel in Kinabalu tomorrow (Tuesday) night, so come hell or high water, we had to have transport of one description or another. They advised that they would be sending a colleague to Kudat on Tuesday and if we wanted to, they could send another vehicle for us to drive ourselves back to Kinabalu, or we could catch a taxi and they would reimburse us (it’s a 250km trip!). After finding that the replacement vehicle would not reach us until mid-afternoon, we said we’d catch a taxi… Read more


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