On August 16, Brady, Curtis and I set off to Malaysia. 50 mosquito bites and an awful sunburn later, I am back to my home in the sky in Jakarta.
Now I’m going to attempt to give an accurate, brief description of a trip that was at times 5 star, at times tropical bliss, and other times green hell.
Starting our journey in Kuala Lumpur, us boys had a nice weekend exploring the city, enjoying cheap, good food, and admiring the Petronas Towers.
- Discovering Nandos Chicken.
- Wandering around Berjaya Times Square Mall, which is apparently the 15th largest mall in the world according to my wikipedia search just now. The place was monstrous and awesome.
- Eating at T-Bowl restaurant, a restaurant inspired by toilets. Everyone sits on toilets while eating (I couldn’t quite get over that and really didn’t enjoy my food, which was served in a mini toilet bowl).
KL low points:
- Walking all the way to the bird park in the blinding heat, only to discover that “Malaysia’s largest free flight bird park” does not mean there is no entrance fee, but that birds are able to fly anywhere they want to.
- Always seeing the same person working the front desk of our hotel.
- High entrance fees.
After KL, us boys flew to the island of Borneo, where we met Anika, Ruth, and Kristy in the town of Kota Kinabalu. After dinner, we found out that the 2ish hour drive we were planning to take in the morning to get to our rainforest camping experience was actually an 8 hour drive. After frantically weighing out our options, we bought a flight to our destination. 7 hours later we were on the plane, and 35 minutes later, we landed where we needed to be. Here we began our 2 night/3 day camping trip in the oldest rainforest in the world at a place called Uncle Tan’s.
Uncle Tan highlights:
- Seeing orang utans, macaques, proboscis monkeys, and lots of other cool animals.
- Getting to speak a little Spanish to Spaniards staying there with us.
- River cruises on the Kalibatangan River.
- All the fun conversations that arise when friends are together.
Uncle Tan low points (aka green hell):
- Ugh the spiders were so big and creepy. I had this one watching me go to the bathroom looking like it wanted to devour me. I’m pretty sure it could have, too.
- Fire ants on my bare feet. In case you haven’t had the pleasure, tropical fire ants feel like stinging nettle or a bad bee sting. Somehow they decided my feet were best for stinging–or biting, I’m not sure how they create the pain.
- Not seeing the pygmy Borneo elephants.
- 40 mosquito bites in 2.5 days.
After Uncle Tan’s we had a long bus ride back to KK, where we had to say bye to Kristy the next day. Sadness for all.
Once we had our sad goodbyes with Kristy, we took a 2.5 hour ride to Sabah Tea Garden. We got to stay in cool cottages and enjoy the beautiful views of the tea gardens surrounded by the peak and hills around Mount Kinabalu.
Sadly, Sabah Tea Garden was much funner in 2005. For some reason they decided to not offer all the cool things they used to offer, like biking through the tea gardens and getting fish massages in the river (which I’m still very unclear what that actually is).
From Sabah Tea Garden we went to Poring Hot Springs. PHS is a pretty sweet place, especially if you like the disgusting, egg-like sulfur smell that comes from the hot springs. Thankfully our canopy walk above the forest was far from the smells. Much like my fear and disgust of blood has increased with age, so has, apparently, my fear of heights. Some people might have noticed the great views and enjoyed being in the trees like monkeys. I focused on the rickety suspended plank we were walking on and how far we would fall. A little less fun than I had anticipated.
We spent our last day back in KK on a small island where we got to snorkel.
- Seeing stingrays, clownfish, colorful coral, and lots of amazing fish.
- Watching clownfish dart after Brady and Anika.
Snorkeling low points:
- Scraping my foot pretty bad on coral and feeling guilty that my decision to keep swimming might attract sharks that attack people. Woops.
- Having fish try to eat my foot wound.
- Getting pecked by what seemed to be territorial reef police fish.
- Getting my back and neck fried.
Although it seems that there are lots of low points, it’s often the low points that end up being the most memorable and comical. So overall, I would say this trip was pretty good.
Lastly, this is the reason I wanted to go to Malaysia. It’s a commercial that gets played roughly 10 times per commercial break.