Back from Malaysia and the conference. Not back from jet lag, however. A few scenes and thoughts about my visit below, recorded mostly to help me remember
It's always interesting when arriving in the middle of the night to see what view you've been provided from your hotel window when the sun comes the next morning. My view of what was, I would call, the working area of the waterfront. I spent the first morning on a self-guided walk of KK with a map provided by the tourist bureau.
Look closely at the picture above. This little guy (and his not-in-this-picture sister) were the only monkeys I saw this trip, right off an in-town path that went up to a lookout.
Cute kids whose parents didn't mind their picture being taken. Malaysia is a predominately Muslim country with mosques and head scarves being the primary signs. Didn't hear a call to prayer and liquor was freely in evidence.
This Heritage Village, a collection of long houses of the indigenous tribes, is a highlight of the Sabah (province) Museum. The museum itself had great displays of the history of head hunting and a timeline from prehistory to colonization to independence.
Doesn't every house need a built in trampoline? All part of the Murut tribe merrymaking, a ceremonial dance involves jumping as high as possible to retrieve an object from the rafters. Possibly a head brought back by a head hunter?
Every sunset was gorgeous on the Sabah coast. Seriously.
Tuesday I signed up for a "Snorkeling Safari" to nearby reefs. Prompt hotel pick up, easy trip to a nearby island, and three great chances to see stuff - a good reef for fish, a good reef for coral, and a good reef for whale sharks (but I didn't see one).
Yup, the dive shop was located on Gilligan's Island - or at least that's what it looked like. "A three hour tooour..."
Yours truly in the drink ready to snorkel. I still have the sun burn on my back from the day - and it itches. Funny how I get no sympathy here in Minnesota when I complain. "Why didn't you put sun screen on your back?" asks the LWW. Well, I couldn't reach and I don't know the protocol for asking a stranger to rub lotion on one's body. (Advice appreciated.) I also still wonder - when getting out of a window seat, passing in front of someone who wants to remain seated, does one present one front or back side at eye level?
Beginning to the jungle hike the following day. 2 hour drive of mostly very, very bad roads. I believe tour guides world-wide have the same jokes. Both here and in Tanzania the rough ride was referred to as a "free massage." Hah, hah.
The hike itself was a very steep, slippery descent to a small river, a scramble along the river, over boulders (which the guide often tapped to make sure no vipers were in waiting beneath), and then another scramble up a very, very large hillside back to a village where the car was parked. The guide claims it was two thousand meters. Felt like a lot more at 90 humid degrees. Three hours of hiking, jumping, and tripping; 20 minutes for lunch; and 40 minutes of waiting while I stopped to catch my breath every 50 steps toward the end. I gotta get in better shape for my Columbian hike to Ciudad Perdida in May...
According to Connelly the guide, a baggie with tobacco and and some corn husk strip were lost along the trail (only litter I saw the entire hike.) by a native hunter. Con rolled one just to show me how it was done. Tribal custom has it that smoke appeases the gods. Why not?
Con called his machete the "jungle credit card." Just "swipe" it for food, water, or medicine. He refilled my water bottle from a bamboo plant by driving a hollow spike into a trunk. Tasted just fine to me, with just a couple splinters to spit out.
After three days of play, back to work at the Sutera Harbor Resort where the EARCOS conference was being held. Hardship post with only free booze and appetizers, gorgeous grounds,
and a hotel room larger than most apartments in which I've lived.
Not sure what it was about these Borneo sunsets...
It's a classy joint when they place fresh orchids on top of the urinals at the conference center. Something we could do a lot more of here in Minnesota if you ask me.
Another sunset. Did I mention I gave some talks?
Last night of the conference was the big party. Do you know how you can tell a band comprised of teachers? They use music stands.
Great conference, great trip. It'll be a sad day when conference organizers realize I am pretty much full of s___t and stop asking me to speak and present. A light will be extinguished from my life.
For the truly bored, the rest of my pictures from the trip can be found here.