Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Borneo, jungle bound

Finally I get some time to catch up with the blog. It's been hectic, all this sight seeing, eating and drinking.
At the last blog entry I didn't mention Macau much ore than how we got there. Well, it was fun in the evening. It is kind of like the Las Vegas of Asia, so we went to the Venetian Casino which is apparently the biggest in the world, a few times bigger than its US cousin in Vegas. It is IMMENSE! The gaming floor musty be the size of a couple of football fields in itself, but it is also a huge hotel, a large shopping mall and has canals running through it a la Venice. It is incredibly tacky, but donw so well. Unlike things like the Trafford Centre at home, here the walls are clad with marble, not fibreglass, and finished so well. There is a blue sky over the shops through which run the canals, complete with gondola rides, and with at least one singing gondolier! We had some food at a massive food court then hit the casino. Well, we didn't really hit it. It was WAY too expensive. For teh card tables the minimum stake was $100, which is about UKP 7.50! We played some slots with minimal success. Better still was wandering through the casino with a drink and watching other people playing. The High Limit area was scary. The minimum here was in the $1000s per stake
We made it to Sabah on Borneo quite without trouble. Imediately you land it was obvious the place was very different, with everything less Chinese, people speaking better English and everything feeling that much more relaxed. We got some money from a handy ATM and got a cab into toan and our hotel. The hotel room is fairly small but quite stylishly done out and has a decent LCD telly in the wall. There isn't any view to speak of as the window faces out onto the roof, facing other rooms. Consequently there is no natural light.
We are ideally placed though to nip across the road and go to the promenade which has some great bars on the waterfront, though the booze prices aren't that cheap. Food is though. We had soemthing to eat there having arrived at about 11ish. Fortunately things were still very much still going on.
Next day we saw the view over the sea, and it is rather nice with a few tropical islands to see. We did a bird reserve, but didn't see a great deal. More Malay food though which is always goodf, apart from when it's bad, but you don't find that out until you hit the toilet the next day. We had seafood last night where we picked a fish to be cooked. A live one. I'm sure he or she would have been happy to know it tasted wonderful steamed in tom yam spices. Well it would have if it remembered, give that fish are renowned to have a very short memory. We also had some wonderful prawns and jungle ferns for veggies. Basically greens, but they are as the name says ferns from the jungle, so have a little more cache. And Stella. Yes, they even have Wifebeater, the fuel of domestic violence, by the bottle. In Borneo. So not content with head hunting, they are being given the option of Stella, which is quite good I suppose as if you are a head hunter you have all the more skulls to get out of when you drink it
Today we went to one of the islands and had fun. There was decent snorkelling, though a wind hit the island over the space of a minute just when we were due to leave. I mean a seruious wind, which appeared out of nowhere, blowing up dust so you felt sand blasted. This made for an interesting boat trip back and we both got soaked. The taxi driver insisted on putting paper down on the seat as we got back to the hotel. I felt like a kitten being house trained
Tomorrow it it time to head off to Sandakan, another town in Borneo to see orangs. That's "orang utans" by the way, not a typo of "oranges". If I wanted to see oranges it would have been quicker, easier and cheaper to go the the Co-Op. We are off into the jungle where other sights we might see include crocodiles, elephants, probocis monkeys and of course jungle ferns

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