We have now arrived in Borneo, the third largest island in the world. It is not a single nation but is made up by parts of Indonesia and Malaysia and all of Brunei. We are in the Malaysian region of Sabah and moving around from Kota Kinabalu to Sepilok via Kinabatangan and Sandakan.
First things first, check out the local eateries and from what we can see the national dish of Malaysian Borneo looks to be either KFC or Pizza Hut, there does seem to be a profusion of these purveyors of high quality nourishment and sustainence. Normally we would try the local cuisine but we'll be giving these to a miss for now so it's back to our normal diet of noodles and rice with everything.
As we wandered aimlessly around town watching the rats go about their business near the dockyard in Kota Kinabalu (capital of Sabah) the heavens opened up and we ran into one of our favourite kinds of restaurant around here (plastic tables and chairs outside and heaving with locals not eating the national dishes). Here we feasted for the princely sum of about £6 between us.
The next morning we jumped on the 11:30 bus to Ranau, we got on the bus with a bit of time to spare which was lucky as the bus left at exactly 45 minutes after it was due to. You've got to hand it to these Asian bus companies they know how to make you feel right at home.
The feeling of being at home continued on the journey as the bus took us over a mountain pass and through some torrential downpours. Our driver was highly skilled at rally car driving and seemed to be keen to prove it on every occasion, shame he was driving a minibus really. It's probably fair to say that there will never be any criticism of Steve's driving ever again.
Anyhow despite our driver's best efforts we arrived safely in Ranau where we picked up a lift to Poring to meet up with the rest of our tour group. The rest of the group were currently descending Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia, we'd been unable to join the trip in time to climb the mountain and so had to be content with looking at it from a safe distance.
At 4096m (13438ft) Kinabalu dominates the scenery for miles around, it is the 20th highest mountain in the world and also the world's youngest non volcanic peak! The highest point is Low's Peak but there are several other smaller peaks at the top. Kinabalu is also still growing at a rate of 5mm a year so at that rate it will be the nineteenth highest mountain in about 2000 years.
We eventually met the intrepid explorers as they hobbled into the restaurant. Having climbed a 3000m peak six years ago we could feel their pain but we also knew they would be walking like that for another week or so. They told us the harrowing tales of their descent in the rain and the relentless slog up to the top, not mention the 2am start but they all did it. We will have to wait for another time and as the mountain is still growing our walk will obviously be much much tougher.
Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Diversteve: It's raining, it's Poring.