April 2017 Borneo and Tasmania

Apologies. It’s been quite some time since we’ve updated this, quick recap though. Now in the U.S. of A. Ben is living in California, I Junior am living in Georgia. Life has been wild. Now its time to make some money because that’s what we have to do.

So after a stupendous, wild, wonderful at the Kinabatangan River, we hopped on the shuttle bus back to Sandakan. It was one bumpy ride, a helmet would have been nice for the ride, you couldn’t even take a nap. Alice, Louis, Ben and I went back to the same hostel we stayed at before the river cruise. At the hostel we had to wait for the rooms to be cleaned so we just chilled in the living room area, used some of that WeeFee drug. We heard of a market, so on a search we went. It was just around the corner but we went the long way, amazing fruits and vegetables that are not found in your everyday supermarkets. Smells in the fish section that make you glad its not in your everyday supermarket. Its a whole other kind of market than you’re used to.

Later that night, Ben and I hit up the local pub cafe, where they have a server constantly filling up your glass with your beer even though you don’t want them to. But hey, its their culture. After a few beers, and some monsoon like showers we were getting ready to leave when two local looking guys said to join them. And with that Fuck It mentality we joined them, only to learn that that they don’t speak English. They were also brothers from Indonesia. They were on that Cowabunga Wave, with Good Vibes only. It was a game of charades, it went on for a couple hours of non stop laughing, They kept buying drinks and by the end of the night Ben was from Thailand and I was Malaysian. One of the best nights. Along the way home, we stopped for a late night Roti. It always hits the spot.

The next day we went to the nearby Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. It’s a beautiful thing they’re doing there. There’s NO fence, wall, guards stopping the orangutans from leaving. Its all within the jungle so some come and go as they please. They are such astonishing creatures, very human like maybe even smarter and wiser. Very much more relaxed. The youngsters are a bit more rambunctious. They’re in a separate area, free to play in a playground that helps build their confidence and get them ready for the Wild Life. The workers remind them they are not allowed to walk on the ground and you might think why not. And I thought this for a second and remembered they are creatures that live the majority if not all their life up in the trees, swinging with such ease. Right next door is the Sun Bear sanctuary, if not for this place the bears would be extinct. These are the smallest bears in world and know how to climb trees better than Winnie The Pooh. Thanks to us human, and our conquering of all lands, these tee nee weenie little bears are no longer found in the wild. But there’s hope as some homo sapiens still think about nature and animals.

A new day, a new town. Made it to Semporna after a hectic bus ride of seven hours. The scenery sadly the same of Palm Oil Plantations as far as you can see. At the bus port in Semporna before we knew it, there was a bamboozler on board offering its taxi service. They said they’d take us to a HOSTEL, but ended up at the port five minutes down the road. But they way he took us was the long way and made it seem further. We ended up in the town centre looking for a backpacker, hostel. Our friend Google Maps, found us one. We decided to walk to it, only a fifteen minute walk. No biggy. It led us through the back way, it was a nice neighborhood then turned into an rundown looking water village. We were definitely not in the right place. A nice local guy saw two alien looking people, that seemed to be lost and offered them a ride into town. It was just what we needed because it was hot and we were walking in circles. The guy even found us a hostel. People are amazing, Random Acts of Kindness help out so much.

Soon, we made it to a hostel, grab some food and on a quest to find a dive company. Uncle Chang Dive Company gave us the best deal. We caught the first boat out the next morning to Mabul Island where we would be staying on a water village. On this boat ride, was Michael US guy, about our age who had been living in China the past three years. He has now learn to speak Mandarin and was giving us insight on the culture in China. He sold us on the idea of working in Macau, China. A trip for another time.

As we made it to Mabul, passing other water villages. Something so unreal to witness, houses out in the sea in the middle of no where. Spectacular. It was lunch time at Uncle Chang’s, now ready to go on the first dive, with our awesome local guide named Sam. It wasn’t the best in equipment but had so much culture and hospitality. Our first dives were without dry suits and the water was so warm it didn’t matter. The food the first dinner was great, they made us a plant friendly option but that lasted one meal. After it was the usual white steamed rice and fried noodles with meat or eggs.

The first night included many bottles of Filipino Rum and meeting other divers. The next day woke up a bit funky, knew I was going to get sick soon. We did our morning dive, then afternoon and was losing energy. At night the sickness started coming in, the next morning brother Ben was feeling the same. He slept all morning and afternoon past check out time but its no worries at Uncle Chang’s. The final day was just us chilling out and thinking where to go next. The boat came and soon we went back to Semporna. Booked a night at the hostel, thought we’d wake up feeling back to normal on the quest to Tawau.

Tawau was a two and a half hour drive south, we had been told this town has the best food. So we were excited. After being dropped off in the beginning of the town, we went on a walk in search for a hostel or backpackers. Finally, we found a hotel for a decent price but had the most wonky bathrooms ever. Now that we stored our bags at the hotel, the search for bomb food began. We settled at an Indian Restaurant, not bad but wasn’t what we were after. Then we went to see the bus terminal, after walking around we decided to leave Tawau. Although we booked a hotel, we still bought overnight tickets to Kota Kinabalu, a ten hour night bus ride. With our Cowabunga Life Style, we didn’t care too much that we wasted a whole day in Tawau. We were excited to leave.

Now it was nearly six in the morning at the same bus terminal we were a week ago. Even though it was morning we just wanted to sleep on a real bed. Trying to find the best deal near the town centre, we booked a random hostel. They didn’t allow us in the room for another five hours. So away we went, trying to sleep at parks, mall, massage chairs. We just needed a bit of rest. The most exciting part of being back in KK was the Banana Leaf meal from the Indian Shop. Bomb.com/Malay

At this hostel, we took time to get rid of our sickness and work on our blog/Facebook. Wanting to see a bit of the Western side of Malaysia, Sarawak. We booked a flight to Miri in hope to visit Mulu National Park. Our last full day in KK was a rainy one. Known for its spectacle of islands near KK, we booked a boat to the nearby Mandaka. The storm passed the port before we got there and we thought we were escaping it only to find out it was coming to us. The boat ride was bouncy to say the least and the captain was laughing as we were the only two on the boat.

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The first hour was sunny, cruised around the island a bit and soon it was a full on monsoon rain. To kill time, we bought drinks in a coconut. On the way to catch the boat back, we couldn’t resist going in the water so we just jumped off the pier into clear, warm water. It was a great cap off to KK. This might have been the place with the best food. Along the way to the hostel with drinks in our hand found a noodle bar that made fresh noodles to order. The best noodles of my life. The next morning it was a trip to the airport and a quick hour flight to Miri. That flight was the first of six flights in four days. Getting to fly over Kota Kinabalu was an eyegasm. The view of the islands and clear water along with some reefs was amazing.

 

Now in Miri at a homestay, we booked a flight the next day to Mulu National Park. It was in a small plane, maybe thirty seats. The flight was quick as well, with just enough time to pass out drinks and a rubbish run. The National Park is very secluded and many stay with locals or at the one big hotel, to have a more authentic experience we booked a homestay. At the Park we checked out the famous Deer and Lang Caves, both unbelievable. Our guide was a local, derived from the people who lived there before it became a National Park. Many of our guides throughout our time in Malaysia were native locals, it gives that extra bond and knowledge of the place.

Just behind homestay was the river and  it was refreshing with the hot weather, we were like two kids covering our bodies with clay. To top off the stay, we did some caving in the Clearwater Cave. Darkness, Crevasses, Birds Echo-Locating, Fresh Cool Air, Being deep inside a cave is an experience all should try. Finally we were glad to leave only because we needed to find better food.

 

After three weeks, our time in Borneo was coming to an end. Back in Miri for a night, luckily for our last meal we found this flavourful Afghan restaraunt that had rotis and curry. Just what we were looking for. The morning was the beginning of a long journey back to Tasmania a thirty plus hour experience. We got a taxi to the bus terminal, the driver wanted a selfie with these weird Californian brothers. As soon as we get off the car, a man comes up to us and says, “Do you need a ride to Brunei?” The country we were flying out of. This is a usual thing, someone coming up and offering a better deal. Seemed like a great ideal so we took it. Four hours later we made it the Brunei, I don’t suggest flying into or out of here. It was nearly midday as we got there and soon it was Salah Time, praying. Everything in the airport closes for an hour, we couldn’t even check in.

Once it was over, we were the first in line to check in. Air Asia has very strict rules in Brunei anything over seven kilos you Have to check in for the small price of a hundred Brunei Dollars maybe equivalent $80 USD. Expensive! Now it was time to fly to Kuala Lumpur and wait for the next flight. Next Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne eight hours with no food or drinks. Don’t fly Air Asia! So close yet so far, in Melbourne we had to wait thirteen hours. The things we do, to say a few dollar bills. It was now time, a quick flight over the Bass Strait to Tasmania. No phone service, no ride out the airport, late at night. What do you do? Well we just stood around got in a line and made friends with others in same situation and shared a taxi to Hobart City Centre.

As we got to our hostel, there was a group of students from Malaysia. A couple were from towns we just visited. They invited us to the casino and as enticing as it sound, we did not join. However it was nearly midnight and we were on a hunt for kebabs, no luck. The next day though, we got our kebabs and some snacks. We took this time to rest and re-energize and get ready for the next adventure.

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Longley Organic Farm! Its time to get down and dirty to learn the process of growing vegetables. James the homie from NewKind Festival who hooked it up with all the produce, let us volunteer on his farm in exchange for food & accommodation. At the farm was our friend Rose. We did a couple of days of work before meeting up with cousin Andy who lend us his van to drive up to Launceston to collect the rest of our shit we left at Dave’s farm. It took longer than expected and we had more unnecessary shit than we thought. By the time we made back down the island it was dark and time to rest.

It was one more day of work at Longley before headed to Bruny Island for the Nairi Nayra Culture Festival. We went with the others from the farm and also met Andy there, we were all volunteering. Ben and I signed up for cooking, we thought it’d be better than our last experience cooking for a festival. Most of our time was just chillin‘ trying to figure out what’s the next move. The best part of the festival was the presence of the Elders from different parts of Australia. There was a group of Elder Ladies from the Kimberly’s of Western Australia, they said I reminded them of a nephew. That was one of my favorite moments of all Australia. These native people are so special and unique, the only thing is, I wish they got more attention to help save their culture.

Ben and I had duties to cook for the pack down crew. Our friends left and now it felt like, What the Fuck are we doing in life. The weather got gloomy, our tents were shit, we just wanted to leave. Though, we are men of our words and cooked all the meals we planned. Now it was a matter of, how are we getting off this island? Another awesome volunteer, Natalie gave Ben a ride and I found one that was leaving in the evening. Not wanting to be there I hopped on the back of the truck Ben was in and booked it with them. We caught the ferry back to Tasmania. The month of April was filled with island hopping, we counted and came out to be eight different islands we visited.

Back to potato digging at James’ farm. Not the most fun job, but we did. The best part was hearing and seeing Black Cockatoos every morning. This got our brains thinking about California and the fact that its going to be summer there. And here in Tasmania Winter was coming soon. The perks of being at Longley was that James had a variety of friends and they’d come over and have workshops of what they do. On Sundays it was Yoga in the Paddock. It felt great to be outside early morning, listening to the animals sing, crispness in the air made it magical. It was a sense of empowerment of oneself all by doing yoga. This gave me the motivation to do a Fruitarian Diet, eating only fruits. I went two days strong and then decided to fast for the next two days.

Its unbelievable how these diets can teach you about your eating habits. I learned by being at home you snack more often, or you tend to overeat. These diets are not for everyone but worth a try once a week or month. Makes you appreciate the food you eat, many people in this world go to bed hungry.

Ben and I have spoke about having our own cafe or food truck and produce bomb food with no waste. Composting all the scraps and leftovers, turn it into fertilizer for the plants. We have many ideals and if any one out there is great with numbers and technology, lets create the new way of eating.

To top of an unbelievable month, James had his friends teach us how Tree Climb. We used simple gear; ropes, harness, helmet, clips. Soon one by one we all climb the so effortlessly. You take a step, push the rope knot up, step up, repeat. If you’re tired you can even take a seat, dangling in the tree. Ben made it quite high something like thirty five metres. I got near but didn’t have enough strength since I had not eaten an actual meal in four days. It was breathtaking experience. Started with going deep in the ocean at the beginning of the month and going high up in tree at the end.

Life is great and the world is bigger than you think. Everyone should leave their small town and explore. All you do is share Good Vibes and they just bounce back to you.

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