Week 17/18: 'John and Jude are in the house'
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
To Borneo we fly (with a brief stop over in Singapore, thank you Mal and Tony for your hospitality), met at Kota Kinabalu airport by my ecstatic mother, galloping towards us like a little pony, clothes lining us both into a group hug.
Our stay was split into two halves, the first half we spent 6 days trekking through several national parks in search of different plants and animals many of which unique to the area. To Rachel's delight this included bats, snakes, spiders and numerous different types of creepy crawlies. In fact, the first national park we visited, Mulu in the Sabah region, was particularly abundant with these. We walked through the world's largest cave, Deer Cave which is home to over 3 million bats which at dusk all exist in search of food turning the sky black. Inside the cave the floor is covered with tons of cockroach ridden bat droppings and giant spindly spiders. I think because the bats were asleep and we had a guide at this point Rach felt pretty comfortable but an encounter with a meter long snake after Noah (the tour guide) had left us really gave her the 'willies!'
We also visited Bako National Park in the Sarawak region which along with 3 types of monkeys we saw a pit viper (another dangerous snake); a Culago (flying Lemur) with baby; and two huge monitor lizards (which we caught in the act mating). The most interesting of the monkeys were the Proboscis monkeys which are only found in Borneo and are highly protected, they're the funny looking ones with big fat flappy noses. The most popular male with the ladies is the Proboscis with the biggest...nose. On the final day we went to an Orangutang rehabilitation jungle area, we were able to get up really close, these are cute looking animals, especially the babies that cling to their mothers, but the pictures of the wounded rangers that we were shown tell a different story.
The final animal story belongs exclusively to me. The second half of our stay we spent lying in the sun and taking dips in the pool at a posh resort near the coast (thank you parents!). The resort offered an array of different activities that you could participate, including windsurfing. Which I failed miserably to master and which drifted me into a swarm of jellyfish that stung me everywhere and I mean everywhere.
Its been fantastic to meet up with my parents, not only because they've really treated us, but also because of how unintentionally funny they are, especially my dad, who seems to be in his own eccentric world. During the jungle treks the rain would often pour down and all week he suffered with his old raincoat which had little waterproof properties. So he decided to ditch it and bought himself a huge army green poncho which went to just below the knees, of course it hasn't rained since but this didn't stop him wearing it with knee high socks and a safari hat, as he sweated through the rainforest giving him a unwanted jungle flasher look. During the buffet breakfasts he's been stealing food for lunch, slipping boiled eggs and bananas into his pockets as discretely as possible even though you're openly allowed to take a much food as you want with you. And on the first night at the resort he chased a bat around the dinning lounge with a huge great table candle in front of all the other diners.