Day 21, Tuesday 17 January 2012 – Miri
Today I have been travelling for my minimum time of 3 weeks !
When I arrived back in town I planned on spending one night in Miri and then heading to Brunei, however I heard yesterday that the pre-festival to Chinese NY starts tonight in Miri with Lion and Dragon dancing etc so I decided to stay another night, I also wanted to do some shopping and send some stuff home.
After finding the day pack that came with the back pack was useless for anything but a short day out I decided to buy another day bag, especially one with the capability to carry 1.5 litre water bottles on the outside. Yesterday I also discovered that light weight tan shorts show sweat really really badly – luckily I wore my grey ones up the pinnacles or the others may have thought I was really scared on the climb ! so I wanted to get a couple of pairs of shorts as well. I managed to get everything in a local department store that was having its CNY sales – bargain ! As you may see in some later photos the shorts are not normal Phil shorts and will clash badly with some of my shirts, travelling is so good.
Now I had a new large day bag I decided to also ditch the messenger bag I had been using for day to day so I chucked a pair of (not so clean) shorts, my really smelly macpac daybag, my nice headphones (too large) into the messenger bag, wrapped it in brown paper from the hostel and posted it all too mum ! Cost – $12… Mum – can you please wash the shorts and the day bag ?
I spent the afternoon, literally chilling in the airconned hostel, drank gallons of water to get my hydration back up to a reasonable level and caught up on some emails and facebook. I also spent a frustrating couple of hours trying to decipher information from Lonely Planet plus various internet forums and web sites to try and organise some diving in Sabah and then plan the next week around it. I pretty much got nowhere, but did fire off a couple of emails to some dive places. I have decided to wait until I get to Kota Kinabalu (KK) and see if I can get info from other travellers. I want to dive at Sipidan, which is one of the worlds top dive sites. It is controlled by the Malaysian Government and only 120 people can dive there a day. All the dive operators have an allocation of heads and can therefore charge what they like. Most will only allow a Sipidan dive if it is wrapped up in a multi day package deal that includes dives at other sites. This suits me Ok, I just don’t want to have to pay $1700 NZD for the privilege, which was the first quote I got back, though this was from a resort, so at the higher end.
My French friend, J came back from a day trip and we decided to go check out the festival opening and get some food in the market. The market was bustling and full of the normal Chinese tat (toys, shoes, plastic crap) as well as tons of food. We had noodles and chicken and I had a bright purple yam drink, which must have contained a kilo of sugar.
The festival was very crowded, lots of small people singing horrendously to piped music, very testing on the ears, after using his French-English phrase book, J described it as shrill – very apt. The lion and dragon dances were great, we had a good spot for the lion dance, but very hard to photograph, we were too far away for the dragon. Sorry photos a bit wobbly….
As we started to walk back I had sudden urge to take a VERY fast walk back to the hostel with a very unhappy bowel – just made it, and felt fine after, whew !