Day 244: Messing About On The River

Sun. 14th April 2013

Our boatWhere did the last week go? [Ed. Where did the last eight months go?] It is Sunday again and there is a group trip going to the Sunday Market. After lasting about thirty seconds there last week, I am determined to do better today. Again, it is really busy and we fight our way along the first aisle but, as westerners, even I am taller than most of the locals, so we can easily see each other if we get separated.

Cute but cagedRight in the centre is the stall we had heard about selling pets, with really cute kittens and puppies kept in small cages. It is too hot in this climate and we did feel sorry for them. There was another pet stall selling little ducklings and chicks, again all in little cages and not to forget the baby turtles in a washing up bowl. Most of the market comprises of the usual stalls selling clothes, food, jewellery and souvenirs. Although on one jewellery stall we spotted some frog shaped bags which apparently were real skins but with artificial eyes.

Frog purse anyone?After some last minute shopping in KK, being the last shops we will see for a few days, it was time to hop on the coach and head out of KK. The first stop was at Seaside Travellers Inn (in Kinarut) to drop our bags off. This is where we will be staying tonight and also where we stayed for the last night of the first part of our Borneo tour and so it is a place we know and are comfortable with. This time we even get a room fronting right out on to the beach.

More proboscis monkeysThis afternoon/evening we are going on a river cruise wildlife spotting. We were due to go on the Garama River but due to the recent rain in the area it is too flooded, so we head for the Klias River instead, which is a two hour drive. The cruise company is very organised and afternoon tea of banana fritters and doughnuts are laid out for us when we arrive. It is served in the open air restaurant close to the jetty and is surrounded by trees.

What huge rootsThe open sided boats, of which there are a few, seat about twenty people so we are on a boat with another tour group, comprising French and Japanese tourists (so no cultural stereotypes there then!). After donning our life jackets the boat sets off down the river for us to see what we can find. After only a couple of minutes some very shy silver leaf monkeys can be seen in the trees but are too fast and too far away for our cameras. We head on searching for proboscis monkeys and soon find one sat in a tree eating and quite indifferent to all the cameras pointing his way. After a while we move on and see a group of proboscis monkeys moving around in the trees. Sometimes the easiest way to spot the wildlife is to see where other boats have stopped!

Big ugly boatOf course, there has to be the enormous double decker boats run by another tour company operating just down the river. As much of the wildlife is high up the trees, those on the top deck have the advantage of being at eye level with some monkeys. Our boat trip was about one and a half hours long and we also saw a snake bird, oriental darter and a big monitor lizard. There is something relaxing about just pottering along the river and all too soon it was back to the restaurant for dinner and more local food. We sat and chatted whilst watching the sun go down and also saw more monkeys in the trees nearby to the restaurant.

Dinner timeAfter supper, we headed out on another trip on the boats to go and see the fireflies in the trees. There were hundreds of them all flashing like the lights on a Christmas tree. The lights were brighter when the guide set off a pulse of light from his torch. There are apparently over one hundred different types of fir fly and on one of the other rivers if you pulse the torch they will all fly around the boat!

Yet another sunsetWe headed back on our two hour coach trip to Seaside hotel and were glad of our beds as we have one more early morning on this trip. We are having a great time in Borneo, we knew the Intrepid trip was quite a basic and physically challenging tour, visiting many places and it has been quite full on, but we would not have missed a minute of it.


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