It’s 8.36 pm according to the time on this mac lappy. Even though I felt we have done gazillion things, it is only 8.36 pm.
Today we decided to explore what Borneo is famous for– its National Parks. We had earlier planned for Mulu but found out that it was impossible as it will take an overnight trip and our hotel package is for 2 nights. It would be a waste if we don’t come back. So Niah is the next best bet. We managed to rent a beaten white Waja for RM 130 a day. However, we got it only at around 11 am, so by the time we started the 2 hour journey to visit the Niah Caves, it was already 11.40 am.
The drive was long and after about an hour or so, we stumbled upon the Lembir National Park. A reserved forest known for its multiple waterfalls. We got distracted, parked outside the entrance, paid an entry fee of RM 10 per person and began our trek of looking for waterfalls. After trekking for about half an hour or so, we came across the first waterfall. Not so big but it is nice and cooling nevertheless. I had a good mind to just jump in and soak, but sanity told me that I didn’t bring any spare clothing. So we trekked on until we saw a bigger waterfall. Oh it’s a beauty. It reminded us of the Katoomba waterfalls in Blue Mountains, NSW. Again, I put a restraining order on myself from jumping. There are bigger waterfalls higher up but since we really wanted to go caving, we decided to trek back and continued our journey to Niah.
The trek back was eventful to say the least. A snake crossed our path, I panicked and yelped. Actually, I screamed bloody murder to be honest and got a good scolding from the husband for doing so. By panicking I put the snake into panic mode, and so will the rest of the creatures in the jungle and well… we don’t want a panic situation do we? But the snake was fast and queer looking, which was why I screamed. Its body is like a zebra, horizontal black and white and it’s head is red. It was not that big but I reckoned hubby was right, it did panic, thanks to my screaming, and did the emergency escape back into the thick undergrowth of the jungle. Needless to say the rest of the walk back I could describe as my ‘lutut longgar’ moment, shaken and reading ayatul kursyi in my heart all the way. We later learnt from the park rangers that that was the ‘Ular Api’ and its bite is very bisa.
We continued on the long, long never ending roads bypassing rumah panjangs and handy crafts roadside stalls with natives selling their wares. We drove for a good 1 hour plus before coming into a rest and relax area, not unlike Yong Peng in Johor. Some of the rumah panjangs have already been ‘renovated’ to be made of bricks instead of their usual kayu. BN’s I supposed because on the top of their houses, Pak Lah‘s posters aplenty.
By the time we reached Niah National Park proper, it is already close to 4. We were not allowed to trek in as it takes about an hour plus to trek in and by the time we reach the cave, it would be too dark and dangerous to be there. It was quite a disappointment but it’s ok. It gives us a good reason to come back to Miri, with now both Mulu and Niah National Parks waiting for us. But undaunted, we took the boat to cross Sungai Niah to go to the Niah Archaeological Museum. Rm 1 per person to be on the boat. Reminded me of the boats abrar we took on the Dubai river which also cost around a buck per person. By that, I mean…shaky. Luckily it was a short distance to cross so I was not feeling that seasick.
The museum was awesome. It was my first time in an archaeological museum and for the first time too, I saw cave drawings. We had a hilarious time trying to decipher what the cave drawings were trying to say. In the boat ride back, we shared the boat with 3 other trekkers who just came back from the caves. A middle aged man in his 40s and his family. They said their hellos and the father turned to me and said ‘ Saya orang Jerman . Tinggal di Miri ‘ From that point hubby and him had their own conversation in German throughout the boat ride back. I lost them after the 3rd sentence as they spoke so fast. But I did catch the point that they were talking about a Halal German restaurant in Miri called Cafe Bavaria. Needless to say, hubby more or less decided where dinner was going to be then.
The road trip back to Miri was beautiful. We saw two rainbows on 2 different occasions, hornbills flying above and more rumah panjangs on the other side of the road. Back in MIri at maghrib, we went straight to Cafe Bavaria as we were both famished. The husband ordered Bavarian Fish meal and I had Hungarian Goulasche. The chef/owner is Monika, a German lady married to a Malay Miri man for 20 years. She was a trained chef in Germany. Hubby said his fish meal with the kattofeln with almost burnt onions is so good it reminded him of his grandmother. I told him try telling the Chef Monika that and see if she’ll give him a slap or a hug…😛 My goulasche is not bad too.
And here we are back in the hotel and I am using wifi from the lobby, with ladies croaking Chinese songs in the background and also Alley Cat songs being karaoked right behind me at this moment. I got to go.. I am getting a headache. They all seem to think they can sing… *sigh*…