And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. The Bull went for a long one tonight, logging 10.5 miles outside. It was definitely the coolest outdoor run I've had (so prob 84 with 60% humidity), but it was the first one I'd done in a month or two and I will be honest - it kicked my ASS. I ended up walking a mile collectively, walking in sporadic clips for a total of 14 minutes across a 1 hour and 41 minute run. I think I was a bit over ambitious, as that was 1.5 miles farther than I'd planned to go AND the previous evening had seen us at Brewerkz with Brother Steve (Jackie - they've now got this "Scholar Red," a rice brewed red ale "14oo years in the making" that was quality. Throw in an 8 AM meeting (which does NOT happen in Asia), and you've got a few factors working against you. Or maybe I'm just fat and out of shape. Muffin logged an hour and felt strong - Sydney 1/2 here we come! But enough of that, let's wrap Borneo, shall we?
So Tuesday was a SLOW start for Team Taylor and Lily. We agreed to sleep until 10 AM, which NONE of us had trouble with. We actually had blackout curtains for a change, and we were definitely passed out. Housekeeping did wake us up briefly at 8:15, but they soon realized the error of their ways and scampered off ("NEED SLEEPY!!!!!!!").
The activity of the day was TAR National Park (TAR is the initials of some dude who was the first prime minister of Malaysia or something like that. Don't ask me, man - I just work here. And J-Money, Franchise, and Dings - this IS the part where you can say "Sam made up about 94% of the facts on his tours at Chapel Hill"). This collection of 5 islands right off KK's shore is a GREAT break from the city (as there ain't much shakin' in KK), and each island has its own unique qualities. Wanting something with a little bit of everything, we wandered over to Jeselton Point (the marina), and $5 USD got us each a seat on a bum boat for the 20 minute ride to Manukan - the most visited of all the islands.
We rocked up, paid the $2 USD National Park entrance fee (you have to walk right through the visitor center off the pier - well played, there...), and 10 minutes later we were down on the beach, snorkels, Kindles, and books at the ready. It was only then that Jenny realized she'd picked up the wrong book, at which point I saw the Frumpy clouds descending like rabid vultures on fresh kill in the Mojave. However, with the trusted Kindle not far away, $10 and a 30 second download later, "The Secret Speech" was locked, loaded, and ready to make Perfect Pumpkin happy.
Now, for some reason, the Bull just COULD NOT sit still. Perhaps it was post-traumatic hike disorder. Perhaps it was just the thrill of being in Borneo. Or perhaps I've really lost my damn mind. Regardless, 10 seconds after dropping our gear, I was in the water and snorkeling down by the pier. The coral was pretty much non-existent (thanks to a lot of dynamite fishing that took place in previous decades), but the fish were actually wicked colorful. We saw tangs, angelfish, clownfish, parrot fish, and lots of other little buggers that I really can't identify. We saw what looked like some MASSIVE beta fish, and the clown fish (think Nemo) were nestled in their anemonae like something out of a Jacque Cousteau film. All in all, it was really cool (and T-bone - WAAAAAAAY better than the Franklin Islands...classic), except for this 1 damn fish that kept ATTACKING me. Seriously, the little bastard was probably 6 inches long, but he RAMMED me on 3 separate occassions and kept swimming directly AT MY FACE. I seriously had to swat at him in the water to keep him at bay - redonkulous.
After a bit of snorkeling, I went for a walk around the island (it's pretty teeny) and then went for a 2 mile hike to "sunset point", during which time I saw some HUGE monitor lizards (one was probably 2.5 feet - the other was 5-6 feet). It was a nice (but exhausting) hike, and all the sore muscles were starting to flare up. I then wandered back to the beach, bought some rice, and sat down to eat before Jenny pulled me up to show me the snorkeling spot that she'd found. Her spot turned out to be WICKED cool, complete with this MASSIVE fish who would eat chunks of dirt, chew them, and then BLAST them back out into the water (rinse repeat). I stalked this guy for probably 20 minute - it was extra awesome. Another thing extra awesome was Lily's life jacket. You see, she was so exhausted from the hike that she didn't think she'd have the energy to swim, so she rocked a SEXY red life jacket that was about 600 times to big for her. This thing could have kept the Titanic afloat if they'd had it handy.
After that it was back to the jetty (a wee bit too short, as we'd loved to have had another hour there. However, we simply HAD to sleep that morning, and Manukan's got an early departure time back to the mainland.), where we knocked back a beer at "Don's Point" bar. Once again - FINDING TAPS OR BOTTLED BEERS IN MALAYSIA IS IMPOSSIBLE. However, the cans were cold (even if served in canas glasses), and Jenny got to try "Skol" lager - "brewed in the European Master tradition." Yeah, it was kerosene.
We then went back to the hotel, showered, and rocked over to the Waterfront, where Team Taylor plus 1 met up with...wait for it...wait for it...JASON AND REBECCA, BABY!!!! That's right - the London party bus had just arrived in KK earlier that day, and so we rocked a few brewskis on the waterfront before having a GREAT meal and then getting a final pint at (where else) the Cock and Bull. T-Bone - tell me that doesn't bring back some memories of Cane Toad racing (or was that some other place - I just remember us rocking the karaoke).
It was then back to bed, as we were still EXHAUSTED. The last funny story of the night was when, determined to keep housekeeping away but not having a "Do Not Disturb" tag on the door, I called the front desk and said, "We will be sleeping in - please do not disturb us for any reason." I had to say this about 6 more times, as the lady just could NOT understand why I didn't have the door tag. At this point Lily starts cackling, and when I ask why she simply says, "They know you're in a room with 2 girls, Sam. Making a point of screaming "DO NOT DISTURB" can only force them to one conclusion." Quality...
The next morning was less than exciting, as we had a lie in before wandering out to find lunch. Well, as it was still Ramadan, there was NO LUNCH TO BE HAD save this Chinese place that served 2 dishes - BBQ pork rice or chicken rice. No menus, no sauce options, no nothing - just some chilis, some steamed rice, and plenty of meat. But they did have some wicked lime juice, and given that it was $1 a person for a plate, you can't really complain about that...
We then headed back to the airport, where the last 40 ringits went to (what else) Cadbury chocolate. The flight was smooth, and we capped off the trip with a meal at Wine Connection, where a nice pinotage vanished (Owain, Puma - if only we could have sipped some Tusker whilst eating kudu by the Ellesmere Port nuclear plant).
So that's Borneo in 3 posts and, more importantly, WE'RE FINALLY CAUGHT UP, BABY!!!!! Man, that has been a journey, but boy does it feel good.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny