Friday 29th April.
Today after a close call we flew 3 hours from KL to Sandakan in Sabah. From the airport a 30 minute ride took us to the edge of the jungle at Sepilok and our home for the next 2 nights. From Sepilok we then travel inland towards the coast to the lower Kinabatangan area where we will spend 3 days in the bush with walks and river trips.
The close call I made reference to was the “travel agent” looking at our departure time from KL being what was actually our arrival time in Sandakan….once we realised at around 07.30am this morning the kids were kicked out of bed, bags packed and by 8am we were on the road to the airport. Kylie (who we have been staying with) finally showed us her Malaysian driving skills with some dodgy turns, speed and proved that road rules are definitely optional. Within 30 mins we were at the departure terminal – not bad for the morning rush hour.
Making our way through to security in the rush to pack the bags we had our first aid kit and sunscreen in the day pack we were carrying. Both items would be forfeited given they were considered dangerous and over 100ml but the “travel agent” made up for her timing misjudgment with some fast talking to the Malaysian Air staff and we negotiated that hurdle and currently those items are still in our possession. The kids did ask who we were flying with and when told Malaysian Air they went a bit quiet, may have mentioned the word crash but upon boarding and saw they had an entertainment console in their seat seemed to promptly forget any concerns they may have had. I must add the we neither got lost nor missiled so overall a good day.
The accomodation is call Sepilok Forest Edge Retreat and although we had booked for a 4 bed dormitory online (which for some reason that info didn’t make it through) we are now proud guests in a 3 bed cottage with an outside cold water shower(which in 30 degrees is great) given at a reduced rate of what we originally booked for. Already from outside we have seen squirrels, water buffalo, some sort of crane and a multitude of insects. Numerous lizards/gheckos are running around the walls enthralling BB but scaring KK.
The other guests here are mainly Westerners from Oz, Eng and France. A mix of backpackers,families and retirees. The main area is a raised deck overlooking the property with a roof. It is a restaurant/bar/common room and reception rolled into one with everyone congregating in the evening. The staff are great and it is so much more relaxed than in the city. Oh and there’s no air-con.
Dinner tonight consisted of Garlic & Ginger Rice, Vegetable Curry, Thai style Tofu, Pandan Butter Prawns and Paku Jungle Fern in lime & Chilli – Magnificent.
They have a pool here so the kids have been swimming, looking for animals and really just been kids. It’s now 10.30pm and it’s still around 30 degrees and humid but a gentle breeze is flowing past me at the moment. Everyone else has retired for the night so i’m taking the opportunity to do this quick update.
Yesterday we attended the annual first ever Austria vs NZ football match. Adidas had a stall setup in the area we were staying in and there was a competition as to who could kick the ball the fastest into the net. The top score ended up being 109kmh and you were allowed 2 shots. BB and Brayden 10(who will be travelling with us later) had their shots however decided that 2 were not enough and spent the better part of 20 mins going head to head between them. The guys running the show didn’t want to stop them and the crowds who wanted a go also did nothing. It was hilarious….we went off and had an ice cream and came back just as they were asked to let others have a go. For the record NZ beat Austria 68kmh to 67.9kmh. Then they both took off and we finally found them in a sports store trying on football boots…they were asking the staff to get them all these different boots to try on and the staff were helping them……….for the record nothing was purchased. Apparently this wasn’t the first time Brayden had done this.
Ok – a packed day tomorrow with some hiking and hopefully we see some Orangutans and other monkeys…….photos to follow.