More monkeys

Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
1
110
159
Trip End May 27, 2008


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Where I stayed

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, January 14, 2008

I arrived in Kuching on ther 8th and checked into Singasahna hostel which was quite pricey since I'd been told it's THE place to go for socialising and meeting people - unfortunately it's monsoon season and nobody wants to come here and I had the dorm to myself.  I think I only saw 2 couples around the hostel while I was there. 

The following day I decided I'd head off to the monkey sanctuary and got the bus info from the hostel and went off to wait....and wait....and wait.....  They'd given me the wrong time and by this point it was too late to go on the next bus as I'd miss the monkeys at feeding time.  All I could do was wander around town in the rain and I moved to a different hostel the Borneo B and B (that's the old looking one on the main road not the copycat one hidden behind it).  It was run by a really friendly family and even though my dorm wasn't great (I was the only one in there again) at least it was cheap.  Had a great meal that night - some Cantonese noodles at a place called the Green Cafe I think just on the corner opposite Singasahna.  Very cheap and tasty!

The following day I decided maybe I'd hike up a hill a few kms out of town as I hear it's quite challenging and a nice view, however it was looking ominous weather but I decided to risk it.  Went to wait for the bus there and an old lady helped me find where to stand.  She warned me not to take a minivan as they will overcharge me.  So being a smug backpacker in the know I refused a minivan, especially when the driver told me the bus wasn't running anymore (sure it's not...!).  However, after asking a few people (including bus staff) when my bus was coming and them telling me the bus didn't run any longer I decided to head to tourist info where I was informed that no, the bus doesn't run anymore and you have to go by minivan or an expensive bus run by the hotels in the city.  So, day 3 and I still hadn't managed to do anything in Kutching, although I had visited the garish cat statue (Kutching means cat) and found some bizzare looking snacks from Chinese shops in the streets. 

I was feeling a bit bored and lonely with noone around to chat to and I ended up checking out the museum and aqaurium then went to the cinema one day on my own for the first time ever to watch Will Smith in 'I am Ledgend'.  It was cheap to go (apart from the ice-cream I bought!) but the movie was not impressive.  It's basically a take on the English movie 28 Days Later about a virus that breaks out and causes people to kill each other.  This was too Hollywood and disappointing as it's not a patch on the other film.  After the movie I luckily bumped into Mareekah, the Dutch girl I climbed Kinabalu with.  She was staying near me so we went and watched a bit of a movie there then had some food at the same cafe I'd been to before.  That night Jack was supposed to be arriving on a late flight and coming to stay at my hostel.  After waiting for more than 2 hours and a few texts I gave up on where he was and went to bed. 

On the 10th I found Jack and it turned out that he'd gone to the wrong hostel and wondered where I was and had waited for me - they have the same name.  We headed off to get the bus to the Semmengoh Orangutan Centre and it didn't disappoint us.  We saw huge Orangutans very close up and got some great footage so thanks to the backpackers that told me this place was worth going to as it really was.  That night we met a couple of girls in a restaurant and organised to meet them in the morning along with some guys from Jack's hostel so we could all get the bus to Bako National Park together. 
The following day wewe got the bus (finally!) but it was so rattly we couldn't hear ourselves think!  It was a blessing stopping at traffic lights, but the journey lasted an hour and we all had tinitus by the end of it!  We then had to take a boat to the national park and sorted out our dorm.  The two girls left us as they were only staying a few hours and the rest of us set off the hike the Tajor trail to the waterfall.  It was a bit disappointing and we didn't bother swimming but we did scramble further down the path onto the beach which was quite nice and found heaps of mudskippers.  On the way back to the park HQ we did see a few proboscis monkeys which was cool.  We had a dorm in the park and decided to stay a couple of nights. 

On Saturday (12th) we got up early to see if I could spot any wildlife and managed to see a few Orangutans in the trees.  We hiked around the small loop which was a nice leg stretch and ran into Martin, a guy I'd met the first night in Kinabalu national park.  Saw another green pit viper right next to the path which was beautiful.  I got quite annoyed by some stupid German guys that decided that since the macaque monkeys were a bit of a pest they'd shoot one with a catapault for a laugh......don't come to a wildlife park if you don't like wildlife you morons!  They are only pests because idiots feed them.  We all decided to pay for a guide and do a night hike which was nice but we only saw a few frogs - couldn't really compare to what I did over Christmas.  Played some cards and I won almost every time which annoyed everyone until it was time for bed. 

Yesterday I got up to look for Orangutans again but it was raining so I saw nothing so we got the boat back and got onto the bus.  This time it was crammed and we had to stand the entire time (Sunday so people off to the city to pray or shop in the big market I think).  There's a huge sign saying no smoking in the bus but we had both the driver and the guy standing next to poor Jack puffing away!  Back in Kutching we went off to the museum and the aquarium (again for me) for something to do.  We walked around and had a sample of the multi flavoured, multi-coloured maderia cake that the Lonely Planet raves about.  It tasted good so we bought a few big slabs and headed down to the waterfront for a cake feast.  Typically the stuff we bought was awful, very greasy, stodgy and all tasted the same!  Down on the waterfront there's a lot of local guys hanging out and we were amazed how many of them shouted comments at me, even though I was with a guy who could have been my boyfriend or husband for all they knew - I think Malaysian guys are as confident as the Argentinians!  After sitting there for a couple of hours we also came to the conclusion that Malaysians love really old rock ballads and love songs as every day I hear Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, Extreme's More Than Words and Bryan Adams tracks from the early 90s.  It was actually nice to hear some old stuff that weas out when I was at high school!   That night we hung out in Jack's hostel and watched Die Hard 4 even though I'd seen it in Cairns at the cinema.  It's funny to see how they translate the subtitles here on copied DVDs - the words on the screen were ridiculous and nothing similar to what was being said!

Today myself and Jack decided we'd try and walk across the river to check out the Cat Museumj (when in Kuching....).  It didn't look too far but after walking through one suburb after another in the scorching heat we were wishing we'd relied on the bus.  Help was at hand tough in the form of a local lady standing outside her house.  She saw us looking at a map and asked if we wanted help.  She told us the museum was very far and she would take us as far as the bridge to cross the river if we wanted as she was taking her huisband to work as he was a taxi driver.  Being used to tourist scams by those in the industry we immediately asumed that maybe she would ask for money or take us back into the city so her husband could then take us in his taxi but we decided to risk it and got in with her and her family.  Sure enough she took us as promised, no fee, just being friendly.  We set off walking again but after well over an hour realised we'd gone wrong somewhere as we were in the opposite direction.  Again another local lady helped us out by informing us that we were actually back near the river and cou,d take a cheap boat back over into the city.  We gave up on the museum and did exactly that and took up our position from yesterday on the waterfront to drink another 7 eleven slurpy and listen to more classic rock ballads from the 90s. 

Tonight we found out that Scoops Gelato bar had 50% off everything after 6pm (something to do with it being a Monday) so we splashed out and had chocolate brownie with gelato (disappointing) and a waffle with gelato which was really nice.  I said my goodbye to Jack and set off back to the hostel to get an early night as i want to try and get the public bus early tomorrow to the airport. 

Goodbye Borneo.....
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