Oh golly so behind now, just shows how busy we've been!
We left Saba on the 12 th March and had a really boring day in airports. We arrived far too early at Sandican then had hours to kill in Kota Kinabalu before our flight down. We were really relieved at last to be called for the flight only to get to the gate when they said we needed to go through immigration and check out of Saba, even though we were staying in Malaysia. We had to run back fortunately there was no queue and got back just in time, honestly we were running so fast my knickers were falling down which would have been a sight!!
Sabawak is wonderful and I'm now thinking we haven't got enough time here. It appears more prosperous but without all the plantations and seemingly with more pristine forest. Kuching is a really nice city. Lovely river through the middle with a pleasant water front, pretty ferries, colonial buildings, China Town, India street etc all waiting to be discovered. We gave it half a day before deciding to get my latest Orangutans fix at the Semenggoh wildlife centre. We went on the bus and it dropped us 1.5 kms outside the centre. It was a really pleasant stroll though and we got to the car park to see a developing excitement as a mother and baby appeared plus another youngster. We were warned to keep back as the mother had been known to bite, but it was surreal to follow her down the road.
It is Malaysian school holidays this week so it was busy with families and of course the calls to stay quiet were ignored by all the kids and adults alike, it got a bit tense then when we were told to get back out of the way quickly and we wondered what was happening. The forest litterally started to crack and grown under the weight of Richie, the massive dominant male who swung in through the trees with his hair flowing behind. It was a truly amazing sight. Meanwhile everyone did the opposite of staying silent and I thought a child would be carried away at any moment!!
So after all that excitement as you can imagine we were ready for a beer when we got back to Kuching. We were just looking out for a likely place and China town is always a good bet as they aren't Muslim and it looked really interesting as a road of charcoal was being laid. It turns out that they were fire walking tonight in aid of the year of the Dragon as this will bring 12 years of good luck. We chatted to the locals and were invited by James to celebrate with his family. He was an events organiser (we've got to come back for the Rainforest Festival in July which he organises) and as luck would have it, also the local rep for Heineken. He had crates of the stuff in cold storage at the back and so it turned into quite an evening.
The fire was intensely hot. I've seen this on the telly where the coals are still black but these were white hot and glowing red underneath. The build up went on for quite a time but eventually the guy they had been leading round went for it and ran across the coals in a cloud of steam and was followed by at least 2 more. Incredible.
So just a quiet day then.
Next day we took a taxi to our home stay on the Sarabok peninsular. It's run by a local guy who is also a barrister and a keen member of the Hash Hare Harriers running club. He told us there was going to be a 'Hash' that night and we were welcome to join in with the run we wanted to. Not being Diana I decided I could do without running through the jungle in tropical heat so declined but we went along for the meal anyway which was a nice way to spend my birthday. We joined Henry and Laura (Brits on their honeymoon, yes another pair) and 6 teachers on holiday from Singapore who were great fun to be with with. 4 were Canadian, 1 Scot and 1 American.
The next day we decided to climb mount Sarabok which Poully assured us only took him 50 minutes. It's one of those Malasian mountains that starts all nature trails and board walks and then ends in sheer rock faces with rope ladders!! It was really hard work and we were the only sensible ones who had any food so our emergency supplies had to stretch between 6. It felt an achievement to get to the top and even more of one to get down again!!
Next day we left our new friends and arrived here in Bako National Park which the oldest in Sarawok. It is the most beautiful place. You arrive here by boat so it feels like an island although it's at the end of a peninsular. We've spent the last 2 days walking jungle trails and finding sublime beaches for a refreshing dip in the waves before heading back through the jungle again to our accommodation which is basic to say the least. We've met a nice German couple are staying here for 6 days as its very cheap and beautiful with it. Having said that they do a buffet affair for the meals all of which are exactly the same so they will be fed up with it by the time they leave. We would recommend it though, you can sit in the cafe and watch the Silver leaf and proboscis monkeys on their way to bed. The Macaque are their naughty selves of course but really amusing to watch as they try to pinch stuff from the cafe and people's chalets. Their are also some bearded pigs that wander past the cafe in hope of tit bits and last night on the night walk we saw a flying Lemur hanging. It was funny as a Proboscis was trying to get some sleep and was obviously unhappy with us so he first threw things and then peed on us. It had the desired affect though and we all went to bed.
Back in Kuching last night and crossed the river to a food court for dinner. They are great places, you wonder along the stalls deciding what you fancy and then sit down anywhere. We had delicious prawns and 'Nasi tsunami noodles' which were fantastic.
Kuching is a really friendly place where people are eager to talk. This morning we had a wander along the river and met a chap who said he had been taught by an English Methodist teacher in primary school. We hadn't realised but Sarawak only got independence in 1963 which I suppose partly explains why English is used so extensively.
Waiting in KL airport currently for our connecting flight to. Langkowi, the next adventure begins.