Borneo Or Bust

Trip Start May 28, 2008
1
3
Trip End Jul 31, 2008


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Where I stayed

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hello everyone,


We're safe and sound in the wonderful
city of Kuching in the state of Sarawak on Malaysian Borneo. Kuching
is a wonderful amalgamation of many worlds wrapped in rivers and
cradled between the jungle and the ocean. We chose this area to use
as our hub solely for it's geographic accessibility and it seems we
chose wisely. We truly love it here.




Our flights were uneventful (the best
kind) and after little sleep in the days leading up to our departure,
we were able to sleep almost the entire way. After short stops in
Taipei, Taiwan and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (The coolest airport on the
planet) we flew blind through heavy rain clouds, bouncing down on the
runway and collected our bags without event nearly thirty hours
later. We paid a nominal fee for a flat rate taxi ticket at a counter
just before leaving the airport. We presented this ticket to one of
many official cabs neatly lined up outside the airport and off we
went. No hassle, no hustle, and no wait. First impressions are
lasting impressions and our introduction to the island has set the
tone for this trip to date. Everyone has been friendly and
accommodating at every turn.



We've been relaxing at the Singgahsana
Lodge (say that ten time real fast), catching up on our sleep,
sampling the local delicacies (real Chinese, Malay, and Indian),
walking everywhere we can, and attempting to pick up a few words of
Malay and Indonesian along the way. Without a doubt this place is the
most culturally and ethnically diverse place we have ever visited.
The main land Malaysians are ethnically similar to the Kmer in
southeast Asia, but here in Kuching the native Malaysians are mixed
in with Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, as well as several indigenous
tribes. We have within view of our hotel both Sheik and Taoist
temples and within a few blocks a Catholic church and a large Mosque.
Despite all of these people, speaking different languages, worshiping
different gods, living and working on top of one another, ebbing and
flowing with their daily lives, there is not even a hint of
disagreement or tension between them. This is truly a communal
culture.




The majority religion here is Islam and
this is unmistakable as most women wear a hijab or head covering and
you can here the morning and evening prayer songs echoing from the
river banks. The Islam here is not the Islam we have come to know.
There is no anger, no violence, no burning of effigies, no hate -
only love for god and for fellow man. It is these Muslims that must
have given rise to the Bahai. The merchants, hotel and restaurant
owners, and people in the streets are as kind, gentle, and respectful
as any peoples we have come across anywhere. We have mixed and
mingled in the crowded streets both day and night and have not
experienced or even witnessed a single unpleasant interaction. We
feel as safe and welcome here as we did in British Columbia. The
people we have met are truly happy to meet us and eager to practice
their English. What we hear most is "Welcome" and "We
hope you enjoy our country". We swear the free opium and rose
colored glasses we received from the Malaysian Department of Tourism
have not influenced our opinions.




Of course all this good cheer may
change tomorrow as we plan to travel to an orangutan sanctuary where
we will get up close and personal with our primate cousins. The
orangutans have a reputation for slinging their own feces at each
other as well as any gawking bipeds. The day after we plan to be
further assaulted by mosquitoes and sand flies as we take a 3-4 day
excursion through Bako National Park. Most people that visit the park
simply go for a day trip or overnight at the ranger station exploring
only a few miles along one of the many trails that lead out toward
the sea. Since we rarely take the path most traveled, we plan to hike
most of the available trails over the course of a few days, camping
on deserted beaches as we go, and practicing our Tarzan and Jane
routine in the jungle along the way. We will write again when we
return to the Singgahsana Lodge on Sunday (Saturday on your side of
the planet). We love you all and think of you often. Thank you again
for all the love and support that makes an adventure like this
possible.



Brooke & Terrain
aka "Broken Train"


"A good traveler has no fixed plan
and is not intent on arriving."
Lao Tzu
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