malaysia, truly asia

So a week in Borneo, and I’m finally getting around to an update here.  It’s been pretty hectic – we really packed it in this time, mostly because my friend is only here for the week.  And I want to spend more time in Sarawak, so we planned back-t0-back adventures here in sabah.

And adventures they were.  First, we climbed Mt Kinabalu, all 4000+ meters of it.  As usual, I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, and the 2 am ascent to summit before sunrise was a bit of a surprise for me.  But totally doable, because we were just coming off a full moon so the landscape was lit up beautifully (once we cleared the jungle and were on the bare granite).  It was not the easiest climb, but coming back down was much much harder (still waiting for that bionic knee surgery….).The sunrise was stunning.  I got a few decent pictures, tried not to freeze, and generally just enjoyed being on top of the world (or, at least, Sabah).

Then back to KK, in time to pack, drop off laundry, and get some sleep before an early wake-up to head to the airport to fly to Sandakan.  In Sandakan, bleary-eyed and quite sore, we cabbed to Sepilok, and Uncle Tan’s B&B, where we dropped our bags and headed out to see the orangutans at the sanctuary.

My little secret:  I LOVE LOVE LOVE orangutans.  They are absolutely adorable, like little orange grumpy old men.  If they wore clothes, you know it would be golf pants pulled waaaaay up.  Too cute.  Got a couple good pix, and then headed back to Uncle Tan’s for some lunch, and our transfer out to the Sungai Kinabatangan.

The Kinabatangan is the largest river in Sabah, and used to be deep in the jungle.  Nowadays it’s more like deep in the palm plantations (let me take this minute to note: palm oil = bad!  stop buying it!).  Still you really feel like you are far away from civilization, sitting in a jungle camp in the middle of nowhere next to a muddy river.

But Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp likes to make you feel like home.  Though sometimes, I felt a bit like I was back in UB, what with the karaoke singalong.  Minus the absurd humidity.  And heat.  And bugs.  And water.  And, ok, not like UB at all.

It’s a lot like summer camp, in that the guys that work there act a lot like camp counselors – singing songs, taking you on nature walks, boating around running into sandbars, and cooking some pretty freakin’ awesome food.   Also, they told me I look like Preity Zinta, and who doesn’t love a guy who says things like that?

We saw lots of wildlife, and got really lucky on our expeditions.  Plus my group of “elephants” was pretty damn cool.

Tomorrow…. Kuching!  Goodbye Sabah!

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