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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

WHEN SUDDENLY...

WHEN SUDDENLY...

In a completely unexpected move (by me, especially) I am going to Borneo tomorrow.

Here is the short version:

While I was back in Ipoh (pronounced ee-poh, for some reason) the night desk guy (Aslan) and head cleaning woman (Rose) were telling me I should head over to Sarawak - it was much cheaper and nifty. Plus, it is easy (read as 'cheap') to get to via AirAsia - the airline that you will end up flying if you get to Asia.

This idea was squatting in the back of my brain as I wandered around the squalid Kuala Lumpur. After two days here, it gives me a headache. I really don't like it and decided to quickly hit the 'eject' button. No idea why but it rubs me the wrong way - like putting loud crinkle paper on a cat's feet.

And lo, I spot an AirAsia office.

Fuck it, I said.

Plus, not a lot of tourist go to Borneo or even consider it.

Which is different than KL where I have seen tons of white people all getting their 'authentic Malaysian experience' - surrounded by enough American fast food restaurants to keep them from going insane.

So it's research time for Kuching - the place I'll be getting up at 4:30AM to get a taxi to the airport for. Joy!

My current plan (will it survive first contact?) is an epic roll up their coast, headed east toward the Kingdom of Burnei. If memory serves, there is one place in a town there I can afford. But it does get me out of Malaysia and possibly a new visa when I re-enter.

Also, the island is shared with Indonesia - an Indonesia I've not seen before.

No idea what I'll do when I get there but sometimes you just have to say 'fuck it' and jump.



IS GETTING THERE REALLY HALF THE FUN?


Due to KL having an extremely backward mass transit system (WTF) I will be leaving at 10 PM for the airport to catch my 7 AM flight.

Joy.

[For unknown reasons, they stop running their mass transit at either 11:30PM or midnight. The girl at the ticket counter was unsure. In addition, you can't buy a 'straight through' ticket. You need to buy a different ticket for each line. Though it looks modern, it is not.]


So - I'd left hellatiously early for the airport via the half the price of a taxi train system.  Met a nice lady (an engineer) named Zara.  I remember the name because of the song, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra".  Yeah, I didn't get it from Nietzsche.  Not that well read.  Back in the '80's, I had friends that liked to quote "That which does not kill you makes you stronger."  Like cancer, bitch?  Didn't feel like pursuing that crap.

I got the name from 2001, a Space Odyssey.  My, how fucking off the time scale that one was.  But the song is nice.  I hung out with her in the airport until she got hijacked off by her own conformance to Arabic customs and traditions.  It made me happy that the culture I'm from embraces individuality.  To a point.  But enough that people won't give me no choice in whether I can just sleep at the airport or not.

But sleep I did not.

In order to use their wifi (they nicely gave me triple time - so kind!) Starbucks jacked me with caffeine and there was no sleep for me.

Until I eventually got onto the plane.  Then, out...like...a...zzz....

All I vaguely remember is that Borneo looked 'neat' from the air and the clouds were magical.  Then, it was a struggle to remain conscious.

They have a rather neat system here where you don't have to negotiate with the 'lets rip off all the tourists and give them a shit experience from the get go' way of getting a cab here.  Large, obvious and right next to the exit is a 'taxi coupon' kiosk.  You pay twenty six ringgits, tell them what hotel you want and that's it.  You hand half of the receipt to the cabbie and off you go.  No fuss, no muss.  No looking for extra tips and squeezing the tourist for a few more shekels.  (Yes, having been to Israel and gotten squeezed for a few, I don't want to hear people yell 'racist'.  You can fuck right off.  Also, it is an ancient measurement of money and that is where the saying came from.  Not a Jewish thing.  So put that in your...whatever people who continually bitch about racist shit smoke...and...er...smoke it.  Bastards.)

So anyway, after not getting jewed by the taxi (HA!  Just kidding.  Seemed wildly inappropriate, especially after the above rant.  Get over it.) I arrived at the hotel I'd declared after a bit of research on wikitravel.

I shouldn't have done this hotel.  For the 50 MR claimed, you got a closet with a bed within and a fan.  Fuck that.  I'm not in KL any more.  I want a decent room.  I asked for directions to a cheaper hotel.  They gave me directions to a more expensive one.  But that one gave me directions to a whole neighborhood of 'budget hotels'.

All of this was staggering around with about one hour out of twenty four of sleep in me.  Good times.

I toured some of the grottiest, nastiest hotel rooms I've seen in awhile.  Seriously, they fell in the 'who the fuck would stay here' category.  But, my price range isn't great.

Eventually, I found a room a bit cheaper than what I'd anticipated.  Forty eight ringgits.  I'd been paying sixty five back in Ipoh.  Here, it is not nearly so nice.  Shared bathroom with floor slot toilets.  Was thinking about taking a different place when the ghost of my travel mentor Adam appeared on my shoulder.  It was the same sound effects as in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and yes, Adam appeared in the same devil suit.


"Don't be such a pussy!" he exclaimed.  "You're not here for ever and it will save you a couple bucks.  Now, man up and take the shitty room!"

So I did.  Got a couple hour nap then went out to find a better place.  Next door.

Ain't that a bitch?  Why would Devil Adam tempt me into staying here?

Anyway, I'll probably be moving over there (sixty) tomorrow.  The next step in rooms here is seventy so it's ten I'll be saving.

Note, all prices are in ringgits - divide by 3.5 or 4 for USD.  Yeah, my money is that fucking tight where I try to save a couple bucks a day.   I need a new laptop and to visit my buddies in the USA.

After looking around, I also discovered that despite having two close by 7-11's (they love them in Malaysia and Thailand) there aren't any good restaurants close.  I'll quest further afield tomorrow.

According to something I read (probably on wikivoyage), this city is suppose to be famous for it's cleanliness.  It doesn't seem to be a complete cesspool (see also KL) so perhaps it is.  I'll investigate.

The general plan, work my way toward the Kingdom of Brunei - who apparently is the place that supplies internet for the island.  Brunei, translated, means "We found oil and are rich now, bitches!", I think.


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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois | Colorado |

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