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Your glasses will only break after arriving in the jungle

Summer Vacation 2008 - The Kinabatangan River

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View Summer vacation 2008 - The return to Malaysia on agc_cwm's travel map.

Olympics? Sandakan? Or the Kinabatangan River? Which one should we choose? Or how about all three? That was our plan for today. Hopefully our plan would go better than the last.

We woke up in our hotel, which turned out to be quite the disappointment. We had very little water pressure in the shower, the shower curtain didn't even enclose the whole tub. But the dead cockroach by the floor drain made it all better! Oh well. It was only one night and less than 12 hours at that hotel.

They gave us a coupon to go get breakfast at the restaurant next door. It turns out it was the same restaurant we ate at last year when we were in Sandakan. Court ordered mee goreng and I, wanting some “normal” food, ordered the western breakfast. Who got the “normal” food? You guessed it: Court. She got some really nice fried noodles and I got a couple under-cooked eggs, a sausage that was more like a hot dog, and some under-toasted toast. This prompted some sage advice from one Courtney MacMullin: “When in Asia, order the local breakfast. You'll get more and it'll taste better.” Point well taken.

We had to quickly find a bank to get some cash to pay for our river cruise. Neither one of us actually realized that it would be Sunday and nothing may be open. Fortunately, we found an ATM to get some cash. Unfortunately, so did about 10 other people. There was one lady and her son there. He was about 5 or 6. He was wandering around the ATMs, picking up receipts that had been discarded on the floor. But then all of a sudden he talked to his mom and then he went outside. He was back in about five minutes. Court later filled me in that he went outside to pee.

It was getting near the time that we were to be picked up, so we had to split up. Court went and packed all of our stuff while I ran to the grocery store to get some food for lunch so we could eat on our way to the river lodge. The grocery store was STUPID BUSY! It was Walmart-at-Christmastime busy. But the store was a lot more cramped and a lot less organized. I know I forgot a lot of things, but I just wanted to get what we needed and get out of there.

I met Court back at the hotel and had a few minutes to watch some of the swimming events at the Olympics. Then we had to check out and catch our ride to the lodge. We confirmed the day before that we were going to be picked up at 12:00 from our hotel. At 12:30 we decided to call and see what was going on. We got through to someone but he had to contact someone else and he said he'd get back to us. Another 20 minutes later he called back. It took the hotel staff a while to figure out who he wanted to talk to. The guy on the phone said the driver would be another 20 minutes. He arrived about 30 minutes later. We got on the road about an hour and twenty minutes late, which isn't too bad for Sabah.

I think our driver was in a hurry to get out there because, man, did he ever drive fast. And he passed everything and anything he could whenever he got a chance. Coming into a turn? Why not pass. Close to a blind hill? Sure, that's the best time to pass. And on it went. We stopped at a café to get our permits to go into the nature park and to pick up a couple more people. We didn't get a chance to warn them about the driving, but they learned pretty quick.

We arrived at the lodge around 15:40. They quickly ushered us to our little lodge and gave the quick run down. Here's the hot water, here's the fan, here's the toilet. The usual stuff. Then they said the next river cruise was at 16:00; basically, hurry up.

We got unpacked. Or should I say our bags exploded all over our room. Then we were off to go on the river cruise. The lodge launched four boats with outboard motors, each holding between six and ten people. We got into our boat and off we went. We'd cruise down one side of the river looking for stuff then on our way back we'd go along the other side. In total the cruise took about 2.5 hours.

We saw a lot of different stuff while we were out, especially monkeys.

First we came across some long tailed macaques.


Then Bigfoot


No wait. It was an orangutan.


We also a few silver langurs. The adults have small little mohawk on the top of their head, as you can see the in picture. The babies are orange. After about six months, their colour changes to gray.

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We also saw some proboscis monkeys. They are only found on the island of Borneo. Their distinguishing features include their markings (they look they are wearing a jacket, and their arms are a different colour than their body), and their nose (males have large noses, kind of like Gonzo).

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Our guide today said when you see the proboscis monkeys swimming they keep their eyes, to see, and their nose, to breath with, out of the water.

We also saw a water monitor lying in the sun warming up.


This is me on the way back from the cruise and a few of the river.

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Dinner came after the cruise. This was the point at which one of the lenses popped out of my glasses and now it won't stay in without the help of some tape. It goes without saying that the day we leave civilization is the day I break my glasses. Oh well. After dinner, there was an extra night hike that we could do. We decided not to, because we were talking to a couple from the Netherlands and two ladies from Slovenia, when they came around and asked us if we wanted to go. We asked when it was leaving and they said now. Our response was no thanks, and that we'd do it tomorrow.

By this time we were exhausted and the next river cruise was tomorrow morning at 06:00 so we hit the sack.

Posted by agc_cwm 01:12 Archived in Malaysia

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