One of the perks of JM’s job is that they travel all over Malaysia to do presentations about going to college in the US. Not just travel, but travel for free. So we have figured out a way to take a subsidized quick vacation in Borneo next weekend. As long as our plans do not fall through, we will be travelling together to the East Malaysian state of Sabah for four days of jungle adventure. After I (TP) leave, JM’s coworkers will show up and they will do their thing in the capital city of Kota Kinabalu, and then travel to the other East Malaysian state of Sarawak to do it all over again.
East Malaysia (map), as you may have figured out, is the part of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The rest of Borneo is taken up by four Indonesian provinces (Kalimantan) and the little sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. Although we would like to spend time in Sarawak together, we figure that we’ll be able to go back some other time, as it’s closer to KL than Sabah is. (Also, there’s the capital city of Sarawak is Kuching, which literally translates as "cat," and we need to leave extra time to visit it. There is a cat museum there and everything.)
Our plan for Sabah is pretty straightforward. We’ll fly into KK and look around on Saturday…it’s a two and a half hour flight from KL. Then on Sunday we will take a short flight to the town of Sandakan which houses an orangutan preserve and rehabilitation center. There are also probiscus monkeys there, so we hear. Sandakan also has a reputation for beautiful beaches. On Monday evening we’ll fly back, and then use the beginning of Tuesday to see if we can get to the big mountain near by, Mount Kinabalu. It’s the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. As mentioned above, I will leave on Tuesday evening, and then Julie does work from Wednesday to Friday in KK and Kuching. KK is an oil town, so the city itself might not be the nicest thing ever to see, but there is apparently a lot of good food and significant influence from the southern Philippines.
(For those of you wondering about the title: the band Mephiskapheles has a song called "Saba" which goes something like that. It doesn’t have anything to do with Sabah the Malaysian province, but we’ve been waiting to use that one for awhile now.)