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Semporna to Tawau


Kept up until 2am by the Cherrypickers somewhat insensitive party antics in a muslim town, and then failing to sleep due to infernal heat and mosquitos, I had learned the hard way why the ostensibly indulgent resort the Dragon Inn was actually very cheap, and I found myself out on the street mega early that morning in a haste to escape its uncomfortable bullshit vibe. After a handy lone Chinese establishment blessed me with a Ramadan busting omelette brekkie, the minivans to Tawau were just another short convenient hop away, I even managed to secure the comfortable front seat for once. The final hour of Sabahian roads leading to Tawau at the end of the line were like never before bordered by a constant swathe of palm oil plantations as far as the eye could see, and Tawau evolved much larger and thankfully somewhat cleaner than the hovel which is Semporna. It begged the question of where they ever dreamed the name up from, Semporna meant "Perfect".

Tawau wasnt perfect but certainly more endurable, finding myself a more comfortable than average room at my first den of choice. Though I had arrived outside a modern and fresh looking up-market development, the old city where my lodging lay still betrayed vague hints of character in timber panelled 2 story shopping terraces, and the mosques here were both fine and atypically central. Since it was still morning I decided to try to clear Tawau's sole perceptible draw out of the way, the dubious and little known attraction which was a Cocoa Museum. Though I had only seen a few scant signs of its propagation I knew it to be an important cash crop hereabouts and a factory at an unknown location out of town held the promise of telling me all about it. I had the habitual challenge of tracking down the correct bus and then establishing when to get off in my quest for Teck Guan, problems which I thought I had squared away with the crew boys only to be outdone. It was with growing disdain then to realise that despite my prompting, now that the boy had my money he didnt care to remember, and so the long hot slog back past industrial operations the way I had just come was a trial I didnt need. The signing was ambiguous in revealing its location but strangely it was the readily appreciable aroma of cocoa on the wind which betrayed the factory's proximity, and quite an unusual experience walking down a road to the constant smell of chocolate. Walking into a reception area in search of the museum found the headscarved office girls initially too shy and nonplussed by the presentation of a white man at their work, but one eventually managed to elicit between the giggles and downward glances the alternative entrance nearby. The handy presence of a young guy with broken English alongside the security guard was bitter sweet then in revealing my arrival at the right spot, yet the museum was closed and was only ever opened by prior appointment it seemed.

That rather kicked that one into touch then, and so I elected to continue my traipse the rest of the way back into town in order to attempt some small redemption in checking out vague points of note I had spied from the bus. I scoured around a Christian cemetery in search of any chance colonial insights but drew a blank, and so had to make do with first a Commando monument to commemorate those lost during the "Konfrontasi" and then a congregation of diverse monuments in the corner of a large Padang. These proved to be a small belfry design chosen as a monument to the 1918 armistice, and for no particular reason another in celebration of the centenary of the Olympic movement.

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Malaysia

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