A Travellerspoint blog

Sandakan Day 4


Courtesy of my tiresome wanderings in the blazing heat, a shortfall of persistence the day previous had left me still ignorant as to the availability of onward transport today and fatigue promptly saw it resigned to a postponement of progress. I still served myself well however in a sweaty leg busting 4K trek out along the main coastal highway which revealed a sadly impoverished stilt house fishing village, from where I climbed up some switchbacks and a leafy escarpment to a quirky diversion which immediately redeemed the effort upon arrival. Having long bored of carbon copy garish Chinese temples, the Puu Jih Shih buddhist shrine on a ridge granted a fantastic view of the whole of the great expanse of Sandakan Bay, succinctly betraying why the Brits had chosen this site for its capital. The temple itself was a remarkably large charismatic indulgence of deity figures, dragon entwined columns and more swastikas than the Luftwaffe, which thankfully I had almost all to myself until I was passed upon my departure by a series of tour buses arrivals.

Thankfully an unlikely rural bus service saved me from further trials in the heat, though upon reaching the city I tried to make the most of the day by promptly exercising another coastal diversion out along the other direction. I was surprised in that tracing the sole office for exhorbitant monopolistic tours of the Turtle Islands (Pulau Penyu) I didnt get jumped on and so interpreted it as a sign, subsequently passing the city's shuttlecock resembling mosque before chancing upon the boardwalks of another more salubrious stilt Kampung. It was a window onto a fantastically contrasting lifestyle as stilt supported houses adorned with plantpots on the verandah and derrick elevated boats sat open doored to reveal lives devoid of furniture, simply large expanses of timber and bamboo flooring where people cooked, slept, lived. The local kids were blown away to see an "Orang putih" in their neighbourhood. The days attractions had been more whimsical and inconsequential I felt and so redemption came with time spent on the net, where usefully I also managed another all too frequent photo burning session before securing further new investment in a new diary and a pair of lightweight shorts to replace those acquired in Phuket. Exciting no, important yes. That night I broke open my long waterproof cocooned Lonely Planet Indonesia in preparation for a renewed assault upon its wonders, and under the pressure of impatience due to my passing anniversary I think it helped me realise a change in mindset in resolving that the mileage now mattered at least as much as the insight. I was tired of worrying about protracted progress and so sacrifices would have to be made, the turtles had been just the start of it.

An email from home revealed that a letter from my work now lay as yet unopened, surely telling of whether my request for a continuation was granted, either way I was set for going like hell. Not easy in the heat it has to be said though, I had also dawdled for so long that it now became a shock as I realised I was now inadvertantly slipping into the wet season, not good.

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Malaysia

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