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Archive for May, 2006

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Mt. Kinabalu Pictures

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

My pictures from Borneo and Mt. Kinabalu are now up. Visit my photo page to see them.

Gan Pei!

Welcome to the Jungle!

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

The week in Borneo was awesome! We really had a great time and packed a lot of stuff into the few days we were there. Our base was Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. (Sabah is one of the two states in Borneo Malaysia.) Our first order of business on Monday morning was to sort out accommodations for Mt. Kinabalu National Park and our climb up the mountain. Aside from going to Mt. K, we also wanted to go to Poring Hot Springs, and we decided to go to Poring first so we could do the canopy walk there before climbing the mountain the next day. So we booked Monday night at Poring and booked a night on the mountain for Tuesday night. In order to get to Poring, we had to get a bus from Kota Kinabalu up to the National Park and then hire a driver to take us to Poring. By the time we got everything sorted we had just enough time to pick up some groceries, check out of the hotel, and catch a cab to the bus station. Upon arriving at the bus station, we were immediately approached by the touts wanting to take us to the mountain. One guy offered to take us in his taxi for $200 MYR, or about $55 USD. However, we were finally able to find a bus service that would take us there for $10 MYR each. The bus ride took about an hour and a half and was pretty comfortable considering the bumpy roads. Thankfully the bus had A/C, and Kristen and I had the exit row so we had a lot of room to stretch out our legs. The TV on the bus was playing some Chinese war movie, which was pretty entertaining even though I couldn’t understand a single word being said.

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It’s not the heat…

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

I’m definitely not in Kansas anymore. I left yesterday morning from Darwin for my four and a half hour flight to Singapore. The flight wasn’t very full so I had an entire row to myself and was able to lie down and sleep through most of it. The Changi Airport was very nice and luxurious, with tons of shops, restaurants, internet terminals, etc, so my four-hour layover went very quickly. I was surprised by the fact that getting through customs in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was much, much easier than in was in either New Zealand or Australia. It helped that I didn’t have anything to declare (in NZ I had to declare my hiking boots and in OZ I had some food with me), and they barely even looked up at me when they stamped my passport.

One of the first things I noticed in Singapore was the humidity. The second thing was the squatter toilets in the bathroom. Thankfully, there were also “regular” toilets as well. I know I’ll have to deal with the squatters soon enough, but at 8:30 in the morning after a couple of cups of coffee and a four hour flight I didn’t think it was the best time. One of the coolest things about the Changi airport was the indoor orchid garden and Koi pond. I’d never seen anything like that in an airport before. They even had regularly scheduled feedings for the Koi. It was pretty cool.

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Doing Nothing in Darwin

Friday, May 5th, 2006

I’m beginning to really like Darwin. For a town of only 120,000 people, there is a lot to do here. I’ve been told that Darwin and Palmerston are the fastest growing cities in Australia and it’s easy to see why.

I spent most of my first two days here doing nothing but lounging around by the pool. But last night I met up with Kellie, a girl I met through She gave me quick tour of the town and then dropped me off at Mindil Beach. Every Thursday during the dry season is the Mindil Beach Sunset Market, a large open air market with lots of arts and crafts and tons of food. Last night was the opening night of the season and there were thousands of people there.

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Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Melbourne is a reall cool city, with a lot going on. But I’m tired of being down under and ready to head north where the weather is a little bit nicer. It was nice here (or “fine” as the weather forecast always seems to say) when I first arrived in Melbourne, but most of the weekend was cloudy, cold, and wet. But the city is really nice, with lots of live music, galleries, good shopping and great foosd. All you would expect from a city of 4 million people.

I arrived in Melbourne last Wednesday at about 8:30 AM, and went directly to my hostel. I had no idea where I was going to stay when arrived, but after reviewing some of the accomodation boards at the airport I narrowed it down to a couple of possible places in St. Kilda, a beachside neighborhood in South Melbourne. While calling a couple of them to inquire about rooms, I was approached by a tout who happened to be working for All Nations Backpackers, one of the places on my list. They were offering a $15 rate on the first night’s stay, and also a free shuttle from the airport, so of course I took them up on it. It turned out to be a real dive (one of the locals told me it used to be a motel and that most of the rooms were rented “by the hour” if you get my drift). But the location was good, and they had free wireless acess, so I spent most of my time walking around the neighborhood and surfing the net to sort out my plane tickets to Borneo.

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