Day 13 – Monday 09 Jan 2012 – Sibu / Miri
I am going to attempt to start a post and maybe edit yesterdays photos while having my spine pounded and my body shaken as we travel on the Pan-Borneo Highway, typing is very slow !
Last night was the worst of the trip so far, I would have expected Sunday night to be reasonably quiet in Sibu, but there was at least two karaoke bars and a nightclub within hearing distance of my hotel room, it took a while to isolate the sounds over the noise of another heavy downpour and the noise finally stopped about 1:30am. At 5:30 the cafes over the road opened up and a large generator kicked in as well. As I was planning on leaving the hotel at 7.00, there was no point in attempting more sleep so I gave up and went to see if I could breakfast at 6.15. I could ! more eggs on toast.
I got a cab from the hotel to the bus terminal which was a good 10km away. When i arrived at the terminal I was surrounded by touts flogging their bus company but had elected to stick to the main ones and got the 7.30 Bus Asia to Miri. The price is fixed at 40 ringit for all companies so the choice was made on the state of the bus, I must say the “VIP” buses all looked fine. The ride is supposed to take 7 half hours. There were only three passengers so I took the pack on with me.
The first thirty minutes were fairly smooth on good roads, but once we had passed the far outskirts of Sibu the ride got very rough. After about three hours on the road we stopped to pick up a load of passengers from a competitors broken down bus and all of a sudden we were full. My decision to take the pack on with me backfired as I now had it under my legs for an hour until Bintulu. My neighbour was a nice young Malay man names Faz Wan, who spoke Ok English, so we chatted in a rather stunted fashion for the remainder of his journey to Bintulu where he works.
We lost most of the new passengers at Bintulu and I got my double seat back which was a relief to my legs. The low lands area we are driving through has been largely deforested, though there is a bit of secondary growth. It was not till after Bintulu that we started passing large palm oil plantations, these were massive, strecthing for tens of kilometres.
Miri is an ‘oil’ town, near the Brunei border and has a population of around 270,000. We arrived in town just after 4.00 and I got a taxi to a randomly selected hostel, which appeared to be closed. I then tried my second choice, The Dillenia Guest House, which is a bit further out from the centre of town then I wanted as I will be here for four nights. I planned on booking for one night and checking it out first before committing to the full four, but it had a single room available and such a good vibe I took the full four. Hopefully that vibe was the right one !
Once I checked in I went an introduced myself to some of the other guests, it is a small hostel so only a few people and most appear to be checking out tomorrow, and most going up to Brunei and onto Kota Kinabalu like I am. I went out and had dinner and a beer with a Canadian girl, Jessica, she reminds me a lot of Meliesha and had been staying in NZ since Feb and now returning home. Nice evening, enjoyed having company again.
As an aside, photo editing is fairly basic, I am just running a few basic steps in Lightroom, contrast, sharpening, noise reduction. I am shooting GF1 and I cannot be bothered converting them first.