Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day eight to eleven

On Saturday we flew into Kota Kinabalu and it was raining. And it rained all day and night and the weather report said it could potentially rain for the next 10 days in a row. Out of the desire to insulate ourselves against steadily forming premature depression over the state of the weather, Lindsey and I purchased one bottle of spiced rum and a bottle of vanilla coke and retreated into the depths of our tropical bird themed hotel room with HBO and the colored light reflections bouncing around the window from passing by cars. It stopped raining the next day.

On Sunday we checked out the bustling street market on the same street as our hotel. It was filled with strange fruit usually piled in bright colored plastic baskets or cardboard boxes covered with wet spots soaking through. There was also the standard cheap souvenir shit, as well as live birds, fish and furry animals in cages and aquariums, kept in pitiful states of confinement and filth. There was one old man who was sitting in the street with some foot and a half long dead slimy lizard or salamander creature with an oversized tail laid out on a plate in front of him. It looked like a miniature version of some lost prehistoric creature, and there was an old yellowed scrap of a newspaper story held in place under the plate with a picture of the same creature. I couldn't tell what it was, but it seemed like he was selling the extract of that creature to ingest for health reasons of some sort. If it was Korea it would most definitely be sold for the purposes of male stamina in the sack, but I didn't know what was big in Borneo in terms of folk apothecaries. The highlight for me was this group of 3 guys rocking out with an old cheap casio synthesizer like I had when I was eight or nine. They had one of those simple cheeseball pre-programmed tropical rhythms playing and filled in the gaps with a guitar and some mishmash percussion instruments and one of the old guys was singing almost incomprehensibly into a scratchy mic. I could have listened to that music all day. When people don't focus on the deficiencies and limitations of their instruments and just let loose, it usually sounds better then anything made with large production budgets. We walked up Signal Hill and heard a massive beastly dog barking at us behind a fence on a narrow steep residential street. As we took a couple of steps closer we noticed that the dog was only behind the fence voluntarily, and started chasing us down the hill at full speed. I banked on the assumption that it was trained to just guard its territory and wouldn't attack so I told Lindsey not to run and just walk slowly away with me. It got pretty close to nipping at our heels, sensing our fear like a shark, but it refrained from attacking as it noticed that we were moving away the house it was guarding.

On Monday we went on a boat cruise down a river, on safari for those bignose proboscis monkeys found only in Borneo. We saw them. Only the males have big noses. Then Pat's plane landed later that night. Knowing his lighthearted yet severe distaste for "America's hat", I made a sign that said "Canada Forever!" and Lindsey made one that said "Canucks Rule!". We held it out next to all the Korean tour guides waiting to pick up their crop. The Zimbabwe sign I made in Bangkok worked better last summer I think.

On Tuesday we ate two breakfasts, which was excessive, but less excessive than the three dinners Lindsey and I ate in Kuala Lumpur. First breakfast: Chinese bbq pork steamed buns. Second breakfast: Chinese bbq pork noodles. In the afternoon we hired a private boat to take us to three islands off the coast and to check out the Filipino stilt village. The islands were idyllic. The beaches were idyllic. The ocean was idyllic. On the first beach I took a walk and found two Malay workmen standing watching a giant bearded boar tear apart a fallen coconut to eat.

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