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A Year Without Ice Cubes One year through Africa and Asia


MALAYSIA | Tuesday, 18 August 2009 | Views [756] | Comments [2]

"If you've spent years dreaming of Borneo, of longboat trips down murky rivers, of jungle trails green in tooth and claw, of smoky longhouses and drunken dances, of strange creatures and hidden caverns, of blowpipes and head hunters, rest easy.  You've just found what you're looking.  Sarawak is 'classic' Borneo par excellence, and few other places will reward a little adventurous spirit so grandly."

AH, Lonely Planet.  How did you know I've spent years dreaming of Borneo, why do you use such lofty language, and why are you always saying 'par excellence' ?  Today a self-described skinny Asian man told us the popular guidebooks should be called "Lying Planet."  Okay, I haven’t spent years dreaming of Borneo, until I got here I think I only associated it with the orangutans (which we saw, btw, and they were awesome…although also really touristy).  One of the only reasons we even came to Malaysia was because we saw a commercial in Nepal produced by the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, and it looked cool.  So we booked a flight and bought a Lonely Planet guide.  Then when I was too overwhelmed by Kuala Lumpur, we booked a flight to Malaysian Borneo, because it sounded more exotic and less developed than its peninsular counterpart.  So here we are in Sarawak, paying $9 a night each for a bed in a 12-person dorm (it may sound cheap, but we’re used to paying $2 a night each for a double room with attached bath in Nepal), using the free wireless, and dodging high-speed traffic whenever we venture out of our hostel.  We did just come back from 4 days in Bako National Park where we experienced ‘jungle trails green in tooth and claw’, and we saw a lot of wildlife, but the park was basically overrun by tourists during the day.  Which is fine, it’s great that tourism is doing so well here, but I’m still adjusting.  I don’t even know where I’m going with this blog entry, I guess I’m just complaining, and I should stop… all I know is I’ve spent way too much money in the past 2 weeks, eaten way to much food and junk food (Malaysia is the first country since the US where we’ve observed rampant obesity), and complained way too much about such things as spending money and the excesses of modernity.  SO, I’m hoping this little blog entry will get it all out of my system and I can just enjoy my last weeks abroad before returning to the US and really having to deal with spending too much money and being overwhelmed by consumerism.  In fact, maybe I should view Malaysia as a kind of transition back home…okay, will do.


I think I feel better know.  Not that I didn’t feel good before, I think I just felt like making fun of Lonely Planet in solidarity with the skinny Asian man and then started blabbing.  We are making one last attempt at escape from overdevelopment and have booked a flight to the Kelabit Highlands in Borneo, where the rest of the dreams Lonely Planet projected onto me should come to fruition.  I hope to hang out with tribal people in their longhouses, drink their rice wine and dance drunkenly with them, and avoid at all costs McDonalds, KFC, and Pizzahut (coming in the near future: a video montage of Michelle singing a childhood song about these fast food joints in front of various fast food joints around Malaysia...hey, if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying…).  The Kelabit Highlands has no banks or ATMs, and supposedly it’s possible to hire a guide (granted, an expensive guide) and disappear into the jungle for a few days, staying at various longhouses.  So that’s the plan.  Wish me luck in the wilderness again…




i saw that commercial! it's like "malaysia: simply asia", right? :)

  anthony Aug 18, 2009 11:08 PM


... Keep laughing and hoping and dreaming.

  gail Aug 20, 2009 2:13 PM

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