Friday, December 27, 2013

Days 144-149: The Tip of Borneo

The mix-up with our Indian visas gave us an extra week in Borneo. Since we had plans to meet up with Diane on Christmas Eve, and were exhausted from our fast pace, we chose to book in to a relaxing beach location for six nights. We had planned to take the bus from downtown, but were offered a good price from the taxi driver who picked us up at the airport, so we chose to take advantage of the quicker transport. The driver picked up his two daughters to accompany us, who were on holiday from school, and we shared laughs, and taught each other some phrases. It was adorable how the eldest daughter had decided she wanted to go to University in London...all because of One Direction!

Kudat had lovely sand beaches with crystal clear water. It was absolutely perfect for swimming the first few days - big waves for body surfing, and a sandy beach to lie on. During the second half of our time there, the waves seemed to grow and the pull out to sea got strong enough that we avoided the water.

Our accommodation excelled at being eco-friendly. There were composting toilets, free filtered water to cut down on plastic bottles, solar heated showers, and an owner in-tune with the needs of the community. He is doing amazing things to support the Rungus people native to the area, as well, and we got a tour of the school that is being worked on by World Challenge groups that come through and stay at his place.

The downside was the distance the accommodation was to the beach. Howard shuttled us back and forth, but it was less relaxing than being able to walk in and out of the water at our own leisure. There was also very limited internet, so we didn't get as much done as hoped on future trip plans, blog entries, and wedding decisions.

But the place did foster a lot of sociability. We met wonderful people to share some meals with, and had a fun afternoon of games that lasted late into the evening, and deep into our pockets by the amount of pints we shared.

Highlights of our time there include:
- walking up to the true Tip of Borneo and seeing the Philippines across the Sulu Sea
- getting the ball rolling on a huge beach bonfire at sunset
- bike riding up and down the difficult hills to find a completely secluded  beach
- showering with the moon rising and the stars above
- riding the waves throughout the day but also during one of the most beautiful sunsets either of us had ever seen!

We were serenaded one night at dinner
by local kids singing Christmas carols.

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