Joined November 2015 Message
  • Day2398

    Cat museum

    June 22 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    I wake in the morning and head down to reception to sort out my booking. I've decided to commit to staying In this place till Monday to wait for my card but when I booked it last night I didn't receive an email notification so I'm worried it didn't go through. They've received my booking for Friday but not for tonight. It's my error, I've booked for Thursday instead of tonight and the confirmation is in my junk folder. Once that's sorted we have breakfast then take a grab to the cat museum. Kuching I'd the Malay word for cat, so it would seem quite apt that the world's first cat museum was opened here. The museum is housed on the ground on the City Hall building, spread over four galleries.There are four galleries containing over 4,000 artefacts including paintings and memorials related to cats. Exhibits include a mummified cat from ancient Egypt, a gallery of feline-related advertising, and the five species of wild cats found in Borneo. The museum is one of the strangest I've been to and literally if it's feline related it's in here , even if something has cat in the name. Some of the stuff is really interesting but one cabinet has a display with various cat foods in it. As we leave we take a walk around the outside and the views are amazing with silver leaf monkeys living in the surrounding trees. We get a grab back to the city and enjoy dinner in the Indian restaurant which is delicious. I'd eat more but have been invited to bronnie and Mag's home tonight so don't want to arrive in a food coma. After dinner it's time to say goodbye to Mauri and Drew they are heading to Penang we've had a ball at the festival and I'm sad to say farewell. I grab a shower and I'm picked up at 7pm by Mags. They have invited a few friends over one of them is also called Fiona, and Bronnie has cooked the most delicious food. We spend the evening talking drinking eating and dancing and learning a lot of Malay swear words and at the end of the evening I'm presented with a Kuching reds Liverpool scarf which I will treasure for the rest of my days. Honestly I know I've said it numerous times but the people of Malaysia are one in a million. Jeffrey kindly drops me back and as it's after 1am I get straight to sleep as I'm heading to Bako early in the morning.Read more

  • Day2397

    The day after the 3 days before

    June 21 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    So after a full on day of stress yesterday, I'm ready to do some exploring and me and the crew have decided to explore The Cultural Museum. The Borneo Cultures Museum is a modern five-storey building with a distinctive architectural design that reflects Sarawak’s unique traditional crafts and rich cultural heritage. It Opened on 9 March 2022 and has free entry for the first 3 months. It is spread out over five floors: the first houses an ephemeral exhibition gallery, while the second has a children’s gallery, a Love our Rivers and Arts & Crafts sections. Levels 3, 4, and 5 cover the permanent thematic galleries “In Harmony with Nature” (which exhibits sights from the coasts, rainforests, and highlands of Borneo), “Time Changes” (which showcases cave discoveries and the making of Sarawak), and “Objects of Desire” (which houses relics on trade and craftsmanship, along with spiritual designs of the cultures). I really like the way it's set up and the information is minimal so it doesn't get boring. The only thing I would of liked was the dates of some of the artifacts. We leave the museum and treat ourselves to coffee and cake at the commons before heading back for a swim. It's the first time I've had a pool in forever so I definitely want to make the most of it. In the evening we go to a local restaurant Lepau with Kim and Alex a couple who've lived in Kuching for 8 years. They order really traditional food with ingredients that are picked from the jungle including fish umai, nasi bario and purple rice. We order lots of small plates and all share it's absolutely delicious. Afterwards we head to the secret bar and Drew and Mauri try to trick me but when I see them standing back and filming me I think we're going into a strip bar but the jokes on them as drew gives in and opens the door to the side that looks like a wall. The live music is great and Drew even gets up for a bit of wondewall karaoke before we make our way home to bed.Read more

  • Day2396

    Dilemma

    June 20 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 24 °C

    So I wake this morning and not only do I have a hangover from hell but I have to sort the hassle of losing my purse last night. James comes with me as I retrace my steps back to the restaurant then the road we walked back from the bus but no sign of it. We make our way back to the hostel and check out as we want to upgrade a little and now the festival is over there are a few more opportunities. We go to our favourite little cafe and with Mauri and Drew book a really nice room for the next couple of nights. After we've checked in and chilled for an hour I make my way to the police station to see if maybe my purse has been handed in here. What a rigmerole they were so rude in here, obviously having a gun strapped to his hip gave him the right to abuse me. I feel like I've committed a crime. I understand I'm in a foreign country but the guy says I should speak Malay and if he came to my country he'd need to speak English but when you go to a police station you would expect a little empathy. After writing the report with Google translate they give it me to sign. I have very little hope I will hear of them again. We grab a bite to eat and on the way home call into the last bar I was in last night. It's my last hope but sadly it's not there and we make our way back to the hotel to take a swim. I chill out for a few hours and at 7pm make our way down for a bite to eat. The boys carry on out but I'm a write off so Mauri and I take full advantage of our lovely beds by getting an early night.Read more

  • Day2395

    Festival day 3

    June 19 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Well I wake this morning with a cut leg and don't remember doing it always a sign of a good night. I have breakfast with James in the Indah cafe and when we get back to the hostel Erica Drew and Mauri are heading up to spend some time at Jins place. Her and Tim have a place close to the festival. James and I stay back as we want to head to the festival a little earlier today. We catch the 2pm bus and because we're a little earlier there's no traffic. We spend the first few hours exploring the site. Having a go at spinning tops and a wander around the craft fair. The first workshop is a drum workshop where all the different drums are explained and played for us but the highlight for me is the guy playing the pandeiro which is actually from Brazil. It's a lot quieter today which is nice because yesterday was a bit crazy. The music once again starts off a bit low key but as the night progresses the tempo steps up and once again I make it to the mosh pit. At the bar I meet a girl from old swan in Liverpool and she's so excited to meet someone from home. I enjoy the night singing and dancing away and as we're leaving bump into a group of Liverpool fans. Once again I'm quite drunk and we all stand there singing Liverpool songs. It's hilarious. Back on the bus we arrive back in town and finish the night in a bar with a pool table. I arrive back to my hostel and realise I've not got my purse with my bank card and driving licence. What a really rubbish end to a wonderful dayRead more

  • Day2395

    Festival day 2

    June 19 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    We start the day with breakfast in the Indah cafe and they have homemade lemon curd and homemade peanut butter which I have on toast that's also homemade and contains no sugar. I've always been one for a sweet tooth and pretty much all the bread here is sweet so I really enjoy it. After breakfast the girls and Drew are heading to the festival early because they want to do the Bollywood dancing but James is arriving today at 2pm so I stay back to wait for him. It's so good to see him again and after dumping his bags we make our way to catch the bus. When we get on the bus we ask about paying but the driver tells us to just sit down but when the man comes round he tells us we need tickets. James gets of the bus and comes back with 2 tickets but then the guy tells us that's a return ticket so we have to get off and buy another one. Eventually were on our way. There is a lot more traffic today and it takes us an hour to get there. We have a quick look around before making our way to the food court and meeting the girls. I've got a habit of literally talking to anyone and strike up a conversation with a lady and gentlemen next to me. She's got a stall here and is from Indonesia where she works with indigenous people.The festival is much busier today and already there's nowhere to sit. I'm actually a little disappointed in the music I was expecting to be up dancing constantly but that's not possible. Throughout the evening I have quite a few beers and because it's cheaper to buy 5 that's what we do, the downside to this is there's only 2 of us and you drink faster because they get very warm quickly and there's nothing worse than warm beer. The other mistake is we top them up with grape soju.The next time I'm at the toilet a table of locals invite me to try "holy water" I don't know what it is but it's lethal. The next thing I know I'm in a drinking competition and after numerous shots and lots of free beers I make my way back to the group. I have little memory of the rest of the night but have made a note to myself to never drink holy water again.Read more

  • Day2393

    Festival day 1

    June 17 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    I wake early and as I'm sitting with my morning brew and chain smokinog a get chatting to a guy called Drew. We have a good chat and after a good hour the girls rise and shine and we make our way out for breakfast after half an hour's following Google maps and finding places closed we eventually find a really nice place for a good coffee but when we try to order food they only have cake available and we're all undecided so we each take a different cake and share. We o a grab to the festival and have the nicest of drivers and after a 45 min journey and a little sing along in the car we arrive. As per any festival in the UK it's raining, well I guess we are in the rain forest but it doesn't dampen my spirit. We spend a little time taking the obligutary photos and doing a little window shopping. We enter into the festival and as usual the festival weather rules. It's raining cats and dogs and at this point I wish I'd brought my water proof jacket the rain forest is proving true to its name. We enter the theatre where the show starts at,4pm. The theatre is pretty impressive and just after we sit down the show starts, it's a video of a group from Quebec and they're singing a technoish song in French . After a couple of songs I suggest we should head over to the other stage and enjoy something a bit more traditional. We make our way through the pouring rain and arrive at the the other site where the atmosphere is in full swing we join in with the dancing circle and I'm literally smiling from cheek to cheek.The Rainforest World Music Festival is an annual three-day music festival celebrating the diversity of world music, held in the Sarawak cultural village, Malaysia, with daytime music workshops, cultural displays, craft displays, food stalls, and main-stage evening concerts. This year is the 25th anniversary and it's impressive to see such a we'll set up festival even if the rain is causing a few issues. There are 6 main areas but with the rain persisting The first group due to appear on the main stage have to move over to the place where we already are so we stay put and enjoy watching the show. At 6pm we move to the steps opposite the main stage and dance our little sock off. A little later I decide to make my way to the front which by now is a mud bath so I leave my shoes behind and head in barefooted We spend the rest of the evening dancing the night away. It's amazing to think I'm in the middle of the Borneo rainforest at a full on music festival. Throughout the night I bump into several people I've met along the journey, it's a small world. We get a grab back where Drew is very drunk and I really feel sorry for the poor grab driver but arrive back safe and sound finishing in the early hours eating onion fritters in a cafe around the corner from the hostel.Read more

  • Day2392

    Back in Kota Kinabalu

    June 16 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

    So arriving at 4.45am means I have nothing to do but hang around for a few hours. I'm heading over to see Michael and Ronaldo this morning but there's no chance they'll be up at this hour so I'm relieved to see the bus station cafe is open and join Marcus where I treat myself to a three layer tea and push myself to eat something even if it is only a roti. I've eaten nothing for the past few days but need to eat as I feel quite weak, and with no sleep I won't be making the festival. Marcus is heading to meet his friends as he isn't flying till tomorrow so we bid our farewells and agree to catch up at some point over the next few days and as I come to pay he's already got the bill. I get a grab and he's still waiting for his so I'm grateful I got to thank him for breakfast. On the way to the hostel I get the most amazing view of the Masjid Bandaraya with the sun rising behind it. There's one thing for sure you'd go a long way to find sunrises and sunsets like here. I arrive at the hostel and just sit outside thinking no one will be up and CK opens the door invites me in tells me to take a bed and make myself at home. I'm not really tired and shortly after Ronaldo wakes up so I have a chat with him and put a load of washing on. I'm more tired than I think and fall asleep in reception and one of the girls puts a pillow under my head and cover's me with a blanket. I only sleep for an hour or so and take my washing down to the launderette to dry it. Me Michael and Ronaldo head to the biggest shopping centre here and for the first time this trip I buy an outfit. Nothing special just a pair of long trousers and a t shirt as some of my clothes now have holes in and my white t shirts are looking pretty grubby. We have a vegetarian lunch and head back to the hostel where once again I repack my rucksack. We chill for a few hours before I say my goodbyes and make an early departure to the airport. I really am going to miss these guys but hopefully it's till I see you again.The traffic is quite bad so it's a good decision. I arrive to the airport well on time and have checked in online but when I try and print my luggage ticket it doesn't work. Once again I get the third degree about my travel plans and asked about an outbound ticket. This is so difficult because I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow let alone when I'm leaving the country. So to save the hassle I book a fake ticket at least it will save me any hassle when I arrive in Kuching. I breeze through immigration and have an hour in the departure lounge before boarding my flight. I meet Marjorie in the departure lounge and Mauri has text to say a lady she knows called Erica is on the same flight so she introduces us on Watts app and after a brief introduction we board the plane. We arrive in 1.45mins and all meet up outside the airport where we get a grab to the hostel. It's one of the worst places I've stayed but I'm so tired I could sleep on a washing line tonight and after getting a pillow case for my stained pillow I spray it with perfume and eventually fall asleep.Read more

  • Day2391

    Child poverty

    June 15 in Malaysia ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    I still feel a little perky today but just after 11 actually feel able to leave the hostel. I walk a few minutes round the corner and as I sit in a little coffee shop with my posh Caramel Machiatto and my pastry breakfast I feel a massive overwhelming of guilt. Literally outside the window I witness true life angels. A family have pulled up in a car and are handing food parcels out to the street kids. At first there are just a few but within minutes the car is surrounded it actually brings tears to my eyes. Pretty soon the car is overwhelmed with women too. These kids with no opportunity to ever change their lives breaks my heart. How can they ever expect to change things. I realise that maybe I've ventured out a little early and with the 12hr bus journey ahead make a prompt return back to the hostel. I have an easy afternoon watching Netflix and catching up with family on Watts app. Zane in the hostel has let me keep my bed for the day at no extra cost which I'm most grateful for and as I'm due to leave his son Ivan presents me with a beautiful key ring. In the evening I once again pack my rucksack and get ready for leaving. I get a photo with the family and bid my goodbyes. It's pouring outside so not looking forward to getting on the bus in damp clothes but the weather is something I can't control. I just hope I can get a few hours sleep. I get to my bus and the guy looks a bit confused when I show him my online ticket as my name isn't on the list but let's me on the bus but a few minutes later a lady comes on the bus and asks to see it again. Then another guy asks me to get of the bus and go to the portacabin the lady makes a phone call and I explain I have a plane to catch tomorrow. After a tense 10 minutes I'm back on the bus. There are a couple of guys on the bus Marcus from Germany Paddy from Cornwall and his friend from the Netherlands. They are all going to the music festival and we exchange Watts app numbers. 20 minutes into the journey we are stopped by the police, armed with machine guns they check everyone's id before letting us on our way. The journey is very bumpy and the fog is quite bad and as we proceed witness a jackknifed hgv on the opposite side of the road. Further along the road is another police road check where once again they get on and check everyone's id. At midnight we stop at a roadside cafe and there's no chance I'm getting any sleep on this journey. The driver continues the journey like he's driving in wacky races and we arrive well ahead of schedule at 4.45am .Read more

  • Day2390

    Sick day

    June 14 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    I wake this morning and I'm due to revisit the islands I went to the other day as I really loved them and lost all my photos due to getting my phone wet but I'm really not well Ive been up half the night with an upset stomach and terrible headache and literally can't move more than 5m from the bathroom. To be fair it's the first time I've been sick and because we all shared plates of food last night I'm pretty sure it's a touch of sun stroke. I go back to bed and stay there most of the day just drinking water. In my blog today I want to write about the other side of Semporna/sipidan because it really is a place of two halves. The islands here are known as one of the top 3 places to dive in the world but when you arrive into Semporna you would think you'd come to the wrong place. On my arrival here I was uneasy walking on my own for one of the first times in my 6 months of travel.It's a place where kids beg in the street, and the rats roam free and I struggle to understand how it's like this when the revenue that's charged for diving here is so high. It's pretty obvious that the money taken here doesn't stay here and is filtered back to mainland Malaysia or China where the fat cats prosper When I went for dinner with Dan the other night a group had been eating at a table and when they left three young kids came to the table and took the half drunk cans of pop and the fish bone then sat on the steps having their supper. I spoke to a local guy about this and he explained that they are children of the sea gypsies who literally have to fend for themselves and sleep on the streets from the age of 5/6 being looked out for by there older siblings. Generally they will have 10-15 kids (contraception not an option) and generally have no responsibility for them the just have to fend for themselves, the survival of the fittest. The other thing here is the plastic. Everything comes in plastic an it's very apparent they haven't been educated how to dispose of it. The waters are littered and as this town that sees no benefit from the diving why should they care if that is affected? The problem is if something isn't done in the very near future the water life will be affected and Similan will no longer be in the top 3 places to dive. I spend most of my day in bed and although I planned to get the overnight bus with the guys tonight I'm really not up to it so at 7pm I say goodbye to the crew and get a shower before putting myself back to bed.Read more

  • Day2389

    Back to the islands

    June 13 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Another early morning start as I'm doing another 3 of the islands here. Chloe, Nathir and Alexanddro are also coming. We get picked up at 815 sharp and make our way to the jetty. It doesn't seem as chaotic as the other day and we are only joined by another couple so much better than th tour we did the other day. As we make our way through the waters they become really shallow and the outboard motor actually hits the coral at one point. They are more bothered about the motor than hitting the coral. We arrive to Timba Timba island and once again it's like paradise a whole length of beach with psalm trees nestled on the end. The water is so clear with coral nestled on the bottom although this coral is bleached the sheer amount is breathtaking. Next stop is for snorkeling and we see the biggest turtle I've ever seen in my life. This is the moment when I really wish I had my GoPro but one of the guys has one and we manage to get a wonderful video, although I'm a little disturbed when multiple people come towards the turtle and each way he turns there's no form of escape. Next stop is Mataking island where we have a wonderful lunch and a dip in the sea where we spot starfish. We take a small walk through the Island to the opposite side but to be honest it's much more beautiful where we came from. As we walk back Mario gets his drone out but the guys on the boat tell him to put it away but he manages to get a quick bit of footage. I take a walk along the beach and the true reality hits home. The beach is full of plastic bottles and there is no chance of them being collected they will just wash out to sea. Back on the boat we stop at another dive site where the coral rolls right the way up to the beach and I literally have to swim through hundreds of fish it's like something out of a film. As the coral finishes there's a huge drop into an abyss and I dread to think what's hiding down there I already been nibbled a couple of times and just at the end is a huge turtle again. I'm so blessed I've managed to have this experience and see nature in the way I have here I really hope something comes into focus and education for the people here how precious it is and how important it is to protect it. Last stop is Pom Pom island which were not actually allowed to go on but of the side of the boat I watch the array of different fish just encircle us and choose not to go snorkeling again but to admire from afar. It takes us an hour to get back to land. We chill in the hostel for a few hours and the plan is to go to skull hill for sunset but when I check it's closed. We head to the seafront and meet with Mario and Berea. They are catching the bus tonight and after dinner we say our goodbyes. As I say one goodbye Agathe one of the girls I met in Sepilok passes by with a lady called Sarah and they join the group. I get chatting with the guy serving us at the restaurant and we discuss the plastic situation and he tells us how things have changed in the past 20 years when he was a diving instructor. We all share a few plates and the food is delicious before making our way to the "local" I'm exhausted and bid my goodbyes before making my way back to bed.Read more

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