A day half-full of travel was ahead of us, and we woke early on. I’m grateful to have a body that can control certain functions and I managed to empty my duodenum rather effectively. After 2 days with nothing but rather scary squat toilets, my bottom came into contact with a proper (western) loo and the bomb bay doors opened. Veritable relief.
Daniel’s deaf relative was outside to collect our hats and ensure we got onto the right 4×4. We shared ours with a couple of locals, an English guy, a Kiwi and an Aussie (the latter a couple).
This is a bumpy ride – more like what you’d expect up in Cambodia. The roads aren’t too bad, and in places smooth and surfaced, but for the majority they’re gravel tracks. The 4x4s provided are pretty new and in very good condition, so pretty safe. Our driver was also good, but his choice of music not so – “Romantic Ballads of the ’80s” seemed to be the theme.
Three or so hours later we reached the road junction and hopped out. The car actually continued on to Bintulu where other passengers hopefully awaited him for the return leg. For our section, the asking price was MR60 per person.
There were plenty of food stalls around the junction so we grabbed some snacks and drinks as we waited for the public bus which arrived in good time. MR15 to the driver got us seats to Miri, except for the English chap who hopped out early on to head elsewhere.
At Miri, we had fun with the taxis. The bus station is a scant 4km from the town centre, but all the taxis refused to use their meter. The first driver was after MR5 per person, but we were told that was too much. By someone who tried to charge is MR4 each.
We waited a whort while for a bus before asking a third taxi driver. One person: MR15. Two people: MR15. Three people: MR15. Four people: MR25. And there were four of us. We’d have been better being screwed by the earlier guy. And I’m sure it’s illegal for them to refuse to use the meter.
Anthony and I checked into the Highland which seemed a pretty good place, though not the cheapest in town. All the double rooms were taken, so our Antipodean friends walked off to find alternative accommodation.
I got talking to a German guy and the Dutch man I’d met on the bus to the orangutan sanctuary who’d flown to Kota Kinabalu and then doubled back. Small world.
We’d hardly eaten all day and I’d found out that a KFC was just round the corner. With free wi-fi. An Anthony-and-I-shaped dust cloud remained in the hostel as we rushed off for “breakfast”. I did manage to catch a few of you online, and got some emails replied to.
The hostel has two cats… and 4 kittens. They’re barely 6 weeks old and they’re playful as can be. Which is great until they sneak into the dorm and it taked two people to get them out again. Cute as kitty-shaped buttons with fur on, the biggest problem is stopping playing with them so that you actually leave the place.
At 20:00 we met the Aus/NZ contingent at the Bavarian CafÃ© which has an excellent menu, great food and superb service. It’s expensive for Borneo, but on the quality side of things it’s hard not to recommend it.
Despite eating half a Chicken Feast earlier, I managed to squash down a beef burger (which was very good) before we walkd round to find a bar for a few bevvies.
The Aussies had an early start the next day, so departed early, while Anthony and I had a few more beers and watched Venus Williams “crash out” of the Wimbledon tennis. Well, important players always crash out, don’t they?
* may contain traces of lie