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I woke surprisingly sprightly and somewhat amazed that the mosquitos had let me be that night, only to be immediately accosted by a young French chick instead. I'd resolved that day to head out to Semporna's little known attraction in reputedly an out of town museum, and unaware of it too like all the others I guessed, I promptly found the French chick jumping at the chance to join me. That certainly proved beneficial in sharing the cost of the required van charter to get out there then, and we arrived to find the signs at the end of the tarmac merely indicating a trail up an unexpected steep rocky scramble. Wooden staircases then helped us finally reach a series of summit vantage points from which I could only finally conclude that the "museum" was no museum at all but simply an archaeological site devoid of a single storyboard or sign. Gigantic recess forming rocks were qualified by discovering a midden of many discarded seashells strewn about, and besides the odd excavation site which had been refilled I could only deduce it to be a site of prehistoric habitation. That was certainly strange then given that the seashells were scattered around the summit of the highest promontory for miles around, perhaps selected to afford a degree of defendability or to act as a lookout post, the ambiguous attraction certainly afforded a redemption in fantastically distant and beautiful views to all sides. At first I thought the unusual nature of the jet black rock inclines we had just scaled might have been a man made track, its strange form even reminded me of the coral construction of the amazing reservoir of the Portugese castle on Hormoz Island, Iran, but further gigantic erratics littering the summit revealed it to be of volcanic origin. The perfectly untarnished black hue was a superb contrast against the fluorescent green of gorgeous grassland and the variable blues of the distant ocean, as distant conical topography perhaps further evidenced a volcanic history. Off shore islands were variously flat reef-ringed affairs or the odd stupendously abrupt upthrust piercing the horizon, a sizeable island separated from the mainland only by a narrow channel held the terrific appeal of fantastic beaches, coral shallows and rustic stilt villages devoid of undue influence. Complimented by swathes of tall elegant palm trees, the whole scene was another candidate for perhaps the most beautiful place I had ever been. Paining at the dearth of information which held me in full realisation of the shenanigans of a tourist industry monopoly if not a cartel, in the absence of any local map whatsoever it was only now that the full gamut of possibilities lay before me. Together with the sweet French chick I wondered of the undoubted possibility of accosting a local boat headed out to one of the nearby Kampungs, there were clearly many undiscovered gems right close by. We resisted the urge to investigate such avenues upon our descent back down to to the road however with the prompt appearance of a doubtless rare lift back into town, whereupon the elements which had seen me reaching for the factor 30 for the first time in months conked me out after another telling change of scene, a cold water Mandi. It was just one more symptom of an international convergence, one which I had relegated upon entering Sarawak 8 weeks previous. And that was another story too. I had tentatively committed a month to pick my way through Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah, yet by the time I reached my imminent departure it would soon be 2. After a cheeky, mischievous, entertaining day it was perversely only upon swapping email addresses that I learned of Anne-Sophie's name, such things on the road were often deemed less important than the job at hand, and it was a joke in finding it just one more thing to slag her off about. It had also been an excellent quirk in being able to speak French in order that the locals wouldnt understand our price busting deliberations. After a demanding enough day of heat and multiple languages, an air-con bar in front of Premiership football was an unlikely but excellent haven of comfort.

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Malaysia

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