Carol's Adventures 2006 and 2007! travel blog

Mandy flew to Oz and I flew to Borneo....

After a brief overnight stop in Miri, in Sarawak, I booked last minute flights to

Gunung Mulu National Park where I've been for a few days to see the rainforest and caves - all really lovely despite lots of rain - which really has to be expected in the rain forest!! I didn't know about a possible 2 day hike up to 'the Pinnacles' rock formations until I got there, but it would have taken all my time so I missed out on that. It probably would have been great so it's something for me to come back for I suppose.

Seriously though I'm not actually sure that I'd have made it anyway because my calf muscles have been aching loads just from walking to all the caves! There are lots of steps up and down to get there and I think that was the problem. Well, that and the fact that I've been so inactive for the last few months! Diving is probably the least strenuous activity I have ever done besides sunbathing - so my whole month at Bubbles has done nothing for my stamina or general fitness (but at least I've got a nice tan!)

There are loads of caves in Gunung Mulu, big and small, some with lots of pretty stalagtites/stalagmites and an enormous one full of bats and about a foot deep in guano!(which didn't actually smell as bad as I thought it would). Unfortunately I missed seeing the regular evening exodus of the bats from the cave because it was absolutely torrential rain and they apparently don't like the rain and stay home on wet nights - so I don't really understand how they get enough food through the monsoon season or at all really being situated in a rain forest... v strange.

There are 1000's of frogs which make a fantastic array of noises at night and even bigger spiders than at bubbles - but they were in the jungle so you have to let them off! Also lots of orchids which are very pretty too. Some of them are extremely rare and protected here, and I was told that people try to steal them to sell for loads of money so they are very strict about all that.

I met a few nice guys in the National Park - Dhane, Shiv & Daniel were staying in the same place as me and we met on the caves walks. We also all had the same flight back to Miri. Dhane was a star and let me crash at his very nice apartment overnight before my very early onward flight to Sabah. He also took me late night shopping to replace my broken sunglasses and to buy a more sturdy raincoat - well it's actually a purple Poncho but at least it's made of plastic that is a bit stronger than clingfilm! I am certain that I will need it for the Mount Kinabalu expedition...

We also had dinner at a restaurant by the sea and when the waiter came to take my order he asked if I wanted food from the bush, sea or city... I didn't really understand so he explained that Sea would be fish or shellfish (of course) and I had already noticed there were a few tanks inside the restaurant with live fish and lobsters in them... and he said Bush means rainforest so I laughed and asked "What do you eat from the rainforests - Bats, frogs and snails?" and I was just joking of course but he didn't seem to be sharing the joke and Dhane thought it quite funny that I was taking the piss. So everyone took great delight at my surprise when the waiter took me over to some crates which were outside the restaurant on the pavement. I couldn't tell what was in there at first but then he lifted the lid and there were about 30 huge frogs (or possibly toads) all climbing over each other and looking up at me! Not the most appetising of sights, but then I saw the mud snails - which were also rather gigantic in size and even less appealing - to me at least. The waiter said they would probably sell them all or most of them that evening so they must be popluar with someone. Thankfully I don't think Bat was on the menu that night and we settled on the snapper which, although perhaps not as adventurous, went down rather well.

The waiter didn't ever get around to explaining what City food would comprise of - I can only imagine it might be something like pigeon, dogs, cockroaches and rats!?! or maybe not ;-)

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