On Sunday, after Emma had headed off to Church, Nadiah and I decided to head North to visit a water village called Penambawang (where all the houses are on stilts). We took a packed minibus the hour and a half journey to Tuaran where a bustling Sunday Market was in full swing. We stopped for a wander around and to sample some of the foods on offer before searching for the bus we needed to get to Penambawang. Grabbing some water for the journey we piled into a minivan along with too many locals and all their market shopping. Although very bumpy (with us scrapping the bottom of the van over several speed bumps) the roads wove through beautiful paddy fields with amazing views of Mount Kinabalu and we ended up in a basic coastal village over looking a large river stretching down to the sea.
Ensuring we would be able to get a taxi back to Tuaran, we boarded a tiny fishing boat (like a canoe with a motor) and jetted off upriver to Penambawang. We were dropped off on a long jetty that protrudes out of the village with the promise of a pick-up at 2. Carefully making our way towards the village, avoiding the broken planks we discussed the risk of crocodiles as the weather was stifling. Local children greeted us in English, which is taught in all schools here, and we found out that they rarely get tourists here.
With the village very quiet during the midday sun we made our way along rickety stilted platforms between the houses, exploring the unique design. Making our way under clothes lines and avoiding lazing cats, we were received friendlily by the locals washing clothes or cooling in the shade.
Needing to cool down we headed back to the shade of the jetty but were waved at enthusiastically by a local guy asking where we were from. Cautiously we got into conversation and he explain he was from KL and had returned home for a holiday as he had 20 days off work. Finding village life very quiet in comparison to busy city life he seemed glad to have some tourists to talk to in good English. As our self appointed tour guide he proceeded to show us around the government built houses just inland of the water village which is hoped with replace the more traditional housing over the next generation or so.
Introducing us to various locals, Addy as he was known, showed us where we could buy a drink and told us a bit about the village. Keen for us to meet his immediate family he led us back to his house (which was situated next to his grandmas, which was next to his Auntie's which was next to his sisters etc ect). It was great to see inside a traditional house and the lounge area was filled with his siblings and various cousins. His father was obviously proud of his son's achievements working in KL and kept asking if his English was good, which is was. We were served water melon and drinks as the children sang along to a karaoke DVD.
Saying our goodbyes in order to get back to the boat for our pick up, we got photos with the family and Addy before he walked us back to the jetty.
We had a chilled boat ride back watching as thunderstorms drew nearer on the horizon but luckily managed to catch the minivan back before it started to rain. A Chinese meal in a road side café in Tuaran before we caught the bus back to KK.
Till next time