July 18: Sepilok orangutan park. Thank god the park only opens at 9:30am and the first feeding is 10am. No getting up really early! Those are civilised and not super early hours. Two orangutans come to the first feeding. These are as close as wild orangutans as we'll see in Borneo. They come in swinging and hang around for a little bit. Quite a sight. We do a small walk around the park. Loads of butterflies but unfortunately leeches as well. The park is really close to the jungle resort so we get to leave for a bit, go for lunch and a beer. At lunch, a Chinese tour group of about 6 guys were staring at my feet. I couldn't work out why until the said "Leech!" I had a little leech attached to the side of my foot happily sucking away. So gross! And even grosser that I didn't realize it was there. We hang out at lynch for a while then return for the 3pm feeding. Two more orangutan show up this time plus a pig-tailed macaque and we stay a while to watch them. We booked for a night walk at 6 and see flying squirrels, orangutans, some jungle creepy crawleys and lots of highly poisonous pit vipers. The vipers are all over the jungle which is a bit frightening to think we walked through it so much.
July 19: Short flight back to Kota Kinabalu K for a relaxing afternoon. I decide to get a haircut which turns out to be hilarious. The shampoo girl washes my hair in the stylist chair with a squeezy bottle, makes loads of suds and never spills a drop on me. The shampoo takes about 20 minutes. When they're ready to do my cut, some guy pops out from behind the counter and without a word to me just starts cutting. He trims my hair in about four and a half minutes then without a word goes back behind the counter and sticks his iPod back in. Funny! I love going to salons in foreign countries.
July 20: We're up early to go white water rafting. At the pickup time, the Proboscis river company calls to let us know that we can't go rafting cause the Beaufort train is broken. Ookaaay, but they'll pick us up a 2pm to do the rest of the trip which is to head to the Klias river for proboscis monkey spotting from a boat, then do a second cruise after dinner for fireflies. We kill time until 2 in KK by going to an Internet place so Pete can back up his photos to DVDs. At 2, we are back on track and get in a minivan for the river. When we get to the jungle 'resort' (they all call themselves resorts but this place is a riverside restaurant with some huts) there are loads of Chinese tourists with screaming kids. Crap. The proboscis river ride is good with lots spotted but there are 4 boats full of noisy tourists who scare the monkeys away so you can't really observe them for any period of time. The staff at the resort are very accommodating to us, reserving a separate table for us away from the tours for dinner and making sure we're happy which is really nice. After dinner we get a quiet boat to ourselves for fireflies, which are magical. The trees look like they have flashing white twinkle lights on them. They are so sparkling and lit up it is really impressive. After this, they let us know we can't go rafting the next day...the train in still broken and the river is flooded which doesn't make for great rafting. We stay anyway as we want to do the boat trip at dawn. What we only the realize is that once again we're the ONLY people staying the night here. No wonder they're taking care of us so well.
July 21: Alarm at 5:30. Our morning boat ride is at 6. We have the river completely to ourselves at dawn. It's glassy and the morning jungle birds are singing. Beautiful. We are out for an hour and a half, spot silver leaf monkeys who spook and run quickly. Flying foxes spar overhead on their way back in. Macaque monkeys don't care whether you're there and hang around so we watched them for a bit. Saw a few groups of female proboscis monkeys with babies. On one sighting, we spent 20 minutes with the engine off and observed about six of them feeding with the little ones jumping all over the place. Super cool. The morning gets even better when we have a fantastic breakfast with the resort to ourselves. Fresh brewed coffee (not instant!!), French toast, crepes, poached eggs and sausages. The best breakfast we've had in Borneo. And with such good service. A perfect morning. Back to KK and we have an afternoon to kill. I have a manicure, of course. Nice one too! Only 40RM = ￡8. Our last meal in Borneo is at Texas restaurant near the waterfront. We have dinner then stay to smoke a shisha while it pours with tropical rain. It has rained every single day we've been in KK. Not that it's a big problem when it's so warm out and there's a bar to sit at.
July 22: We only fly to Manila at 1:30pm so we get an easy morning to pack and go. Here's a weird run-in we had at the check in counter at the airport: we're in line at the bag drop counter and while we do some last minute zipping and checking of bags, we let some space in the line. A Malaysian dude from another line swoops into the gap so we make a bit of a fuss. He goes ballistic completely unprovoked! "Fuck you! This is my country! Queue up!" I was stunned. I wanted to yell back "We LOVE your country so don't be a dickhead!" Ha! We've met nothing but really nice Malaysians, almost always smiling so this guy comes out of nowhere. I've really loved Borneo and Malaysians. Hotel operators, restaurant staff, taxi drivers, dive guides...we've had some really good luck where we've been. We will definitely be back for the diving, jungles and beaches.
The flight to Clark in Manila is only 2 hours. Easy. But getting from Clark to our hotel in Makati takes considerably longer. Once we're off the plane we have to catch a 300peso bus (the taxi would have been 4000pesos). The bus takes a little over 2 hours + another hour stuck in Manila rush hour traffic in a taxi from the bus drop off point. So we saved 2500pesos but probably took an hour extra. But we got a taste of Manila rush hour. Insane. 10 lanes across of cut throat bumper to bumper traffic that almost never lets up. There were still traffic jams at 10pm. On the taxi to the hotel, I spot a Tony Romas. Mmmmm ribs. We head there for dinner. Love their ribs. Off to bed with full bellies for our short flight to Boracay tomorrow.