Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Jan 8: The return home

Sunrise Posted by Hello

Sun rise are spectacular at Banggi, this is the only one I got up early enough to catch but still takes the breath away.

I was scheduled to stay for another two days but a tight schedule at the lab dictated that I cut my trip short. The team was heading to Teluk Lung, the first and largest seaweed test farm in the Island but due to the distance and some urgent matters needed to be resolved there, would involve spending a night there. The problem with spending a night on a floor suspended by four stilts over the open ocean is not a deterrent but I had to make it back to Kota Kinabalu by Monday to finish off work and thus cannot afford the night over. The previous night saw the meeting stretching past midnight and already the fatigue from going from kampung to kampung through the day was playing on my body and straightaway I popped onto the bed fast asleep.

Throughout the whole trip I had trusty laptop to upload my pictures. But after the first day the local ant population decided it was prime real estate and without my knowing decided to shift their nest into the interior of my computer paying ample attention to the CD rom and battery pack. Thus after the second night I was a little astounded to find a continuous stream of them exiting my com. It didn’t register instantly but when it did I shouted out ‘Oh *@*%@%&$!!!!!’. That whole afternoon and the subsequent days were a battle to de-ant my computer with vigorous shaking, heavy swiping and generally conducting warfare with them in the hopes that the queen has not had the chance to enter my machine yet. After 3 days, I decided that the battle was won, there were still remnants of them in scattered openings but the bulk of them were rooted out.

Early in the morning everyone was still asleep, again the electricity went off promptly and I went to take my last cold shower before carrying my two bags out and heading for the ferry terminal. It was still early being only 7 a.m. The sun has just peaked through from the horizon and the sea was a lovely crimson and gold. This early the town was just stirring as the hum of generators began, people were out bathing with the well water and heading to one of the multitude of open backed carrier jeeps they used as public transport to head to other parts of the island. The ferry was scheduled to leave at 7.30 a.m. and thus I decided to take advantage of the time and have some breakfast at one of the shops. Asking for a glass of kopi peng they said they were out of ice so the tarik it was. A man sitting next to me stroke up a conversation after he found out that I was with the UMS team and we went into a tirade on the seaweed project with him constantly asking if the whole venture was viable and most of all profitable. In the end we said goodbye as I heard the ferry’s horn being sounded, he said he would pay for the drink and the kuih I ate, a mild surprise on how strangers can be so kind.

Went upfront to the first class (RM 18 one way) seats again to find that I was the only passenger in the place while the other villagers sat behind at the economy seats with their daily luggage and wares. The television was showing a movie about a Russian soldier helping out an African nation for liberation after an evil general decided to hunt the rebels and framed him, didn’t catch the name as it was already half way through as I board. The tv often became shades of green and indigo and the attendant had to come over and give it a good whacking to put the colour back to normal, this happened a few times during the one hour passage. Air conditioning was freezing and I wished I has a coat with me then as my teeth were chattering though outside what must be scorching weather. Before I knew it we had reached Kudat.

Taxi Posted by Hello

One of the most efficient and comfortable ways to travel to Kk, modified Pajeros the acts like taxi, most of them congregate around the town center awaiting customers. Other mode of transport include vans and buses but both are often cramped, without airconditioning and squeeze a lot of people inside.

The fastest and cheapest way to get from Kudat to Kota Kinabalu is by taking the private taxis. These are not the usual variety we see in the streets of Kl, more like converted 4 Pajeros. The ticket was RM15 and I waited as the attendant went about shouting out his lungs for more passengers to fill the seats. Once the maximum amount of passengers were obtained (7 people), we headed of and went through the 3 hours drive it took to cover the journey. It was quite comfortable as the seatings were plushed and there were enough leg room to stretch. Four people were already on board at the time of departure; a guy and his kid, another woman and a guy. We had to make a few house stops in Kudat to pick up the rest of the entourage, a lady and another two youths that squeezed their way in the back with me. A light rain was falling now and we made a fast stop at a rest area where makciks were selling fruits at a stall, its already rambutan season with the hairy red fruits stacked up in piles and were going for RM1 for a kilo. Dukus, sukun, tarap and nangka were also abundant and going for quite a good price. The driver was kind enough to deposit me right at my doorstep and thus saving me having to lug my luggage from town and board a bus back to Kingfisher. Thus I was home and end another adventure in Sabah. Until the next time......

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