Category: JOURNALS OF TRAVEL

Truthful quotes from my journals Accounts from my handwritten diaries en route.

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FINALLY, ISLAND PARADISE, AND MY TURTLE.

OR, ESCAPING JAKARTA AND THE JOURNEY ON TO BUNAKEN, SNORKELLERS HEAVEN.

And finally paradise.

I rushed to leave Jakarta for my final destination of Bunaken. I was so happy to be on the road again (or should I say in the air) that I never even contemplated it being dark when I arrived at the bustling port of Manado in North Sulawesi. It was, and the hotel was scary, and the place was alarming, but I had got there and would spend the night before bartering for a boat ticket first thing the next morning.

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MALACCA THEN JAKARTA.

OR, TIMING IS EVERYTHING, MINE WAS PANTS.

Me in Jakatas National Museum

Top Tip: However well organised you are things can go awry. There was no way to know that they had stopped boats over the Straight of Malacca to go to Indonesia without having to retrace my steps to KL then fly to Jakarta. There was no way of knowing that a massive and contentious protest was on the very weekend that I was over in Jakarta so many things were closed. Shit happens and you just have to deal with it when you’re on the road solo travelling. This however did weaken me again after my healing time in Kuala Lumpur. This was a real bummer as stress always is a thing to avoid when you’re trying to rebuild your immune system as I explained in a previous blog “How My Troubles Began” When travelling, however much of an itinerary you have, you must take time out and rest up. I tried to squeeze in a lot making up for lost time which never works does it now hmmmm?

Photo of me having lost loads of weight in Kuching

After my huge success in fabulous Kuala Lumpur, I got a bit cavalier and decided to go to Malacca which people said was lovely. I really should have learned by then that most tourists are idiots and headed straight onto my snorkelling target on the remote island of Bunaken. Stupid, stupid old bird.

A galleon. Super.
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KUALA LUMPUR, MUSEUMS, ORCHIDS AND BIRDS.

OR, LEAVING BORNEO AND ARRIVING IN KL FOR A BIT OF TLC.

Journal Excerpts and Perfect Timing a continuation from last post!

KUALA LUMPUR

It wasn’t even in my plan to go there.

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COOL JUNGLE TREK IN CROCODILE TERRITORY!

OR, GOING WILD WITHOUT A GUIDE IN BAKO NATIONAL PARK BORNEO

The beach. Reward after the trek but sadly no sight of Mr Crocodile

Gimme some wild savage land and I’ll show you a happy woman. (Oh and a map that tells you what colours to follow for easy, medium or hard routes. I’ll still screw up but still be very happy!!!)

Morning boat to the park entrance.

After ghastly Kuching, I sped along the motorway in a cab at the crack of dawn to go to my pickup point for the Bako National Park. The place is a simple cafe where you grab much-needed caffeine and a life jacket then jump into a boat to go to a remote section of the park designed, in hopefully a foolproof way, for a wonderful jungle trek for all levels of difficulty. The boat ride which lasted about half an hour took us past fabulous rock formations and mangroves leading to dense jungle.

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JUNGLE WALKING AND DELUGE.

I JUST LOVE THE JUNGLE IN BORNEO, I JUST DON’T LOVE HEIGHTS.

From the Journal April 2018

After my day with orangutans and sun bears the day before and walking miles just to get to the truly dismal dinner at the ‘restaurant’ then miles back again I said goodnight to Mr Gecko and went to have a wonderful jungle sleep.

Over two rivers just to get me brekky
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ORANGUTANS AND SUN BEARS IN BORNEO’S PARADISE.

OR, RESPITE FOR THESE NOBLE CREATURES.

I had travelled from London to India, then Thailand to the Philippines and onward to the North of Borneo to a remote sanctuary for the now near extinct sun bear, and orangutan, a rehabilitation centre par excellence. It had been a wild journey already to get to this point, a lot of challenges and really living my best life.

Little family who turned up in the afternoon.
The shy sun bear with its long talon like claws for digging.

I had swum with whale sharks, visited Mogul palaces and forts, gone by horse up volcanic mountains in lake to see the emerald acid lake within that. I had gazed upon the Taj Mahal and other places of such beauty that I had been transfixed. I had had some adventures and laughed later, after the dramas were over. I had eaten a huge array of food and swum in crystal waterfall pools. I had seen art in museums that filled my soul with joy and learnt many things about cultures and ideas previously unknown to me. This trip had already held so much magic that I felt couldn’t be surpassed, nothing could surprise me. How wrong I was. Upon meeting the ‘Old Man of the Woods’ or ‘Wise Old Man of the Jungle’ I was in love. Seeing the insane flora and fauna I was gobsmacked and felt I was in for a roller-coaster of emotions. I was right.

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BORNEO SUNSETS AND MOVING ONTO JUNGLE ORANGUTANS!

OR, BAD RESEARCH MAKES FOR A SCARY TRANSIT TRIP

After the beautiful posh hotel I had in Kota Kinabalu, (link) I had to downgrade a tad so opted for a beachside cheapo. Well not necessarily the right thing to do as it transpired. I wanted somewhere that I could just hang and prep my trip to the orangutan rehabilitation centre and needed to book flights and make plans for onward movement after.

Ghost resort with its polluted beach

I had visited the fabulous night market in the centre on my second day after my first day of running all over town for their amazing mosques and quirky museums (link)

The spot I was going for had a famous promontory sunset bar in walking distance, it all looked well and good, but my luck is always hit and miss. I had done no research for this trip as I hadn’t realised that Philippines only allowed you in if you had a flight out which I had had to panically book in the wee hours of the morning two weeks previously. Kota Kinabalu hadn’t even been on my radar. I sketchily thought ‘well I wanted to go over there at some point to go to this famous centre and see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat but never further on than that as I had planned at least three weeks in the Philippines.

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PREHISTORIC CAVE PAINTINGS MITLA, MEXICO.

OR, HOW A OLD BIRD CLIMBED TWO MOUNTAINS IN A DAY.

This post from exactly a year ago in Mexico is a favourite of mine memory wise. It was a solo travellers demanding type of day with hardship but then huge rewards. This is the way we rock us old birds, moaning a lot but loving it!

The sun was shining…

When I made the decision to visit prehistoric cave dwellings that have been inhabited for 10,000 years I thought it would be a little tricky but not that hard. yesterday I worked my little travellers socks off to visit two of the major sites in Mitla. I had chosen two, maybe three places but hadn’t anticipated that they weren’t just there like most tourist sites, they are tricky to get to and a lot of leg work. I would advise not to try for them unless you’re feeling top notch and are prepared to go slowly.

Now I’ve been to Mitla two years ago to see the famous Mayan site of Mitla and also Hierve el Agua, which now sadly is permanently closed. Both were things of wonder so I was excited to be even more daring this time with a bit of pre history caves and their paintings all in the same area. I have always wanted to see some more ancient art in caves but have only once before been to an island off Sicily and no photos were allowed but here one has the privilege of getting out the old camera. I had no idea how remote they actually were and how hard you had to climb on treacherous slippery terrain after the rains. Although the soil had dried off there are a huge number of springs which are obviously spurting out excess water as you go higher up and make the soil and rocks really slick.

MY SUNDAY OUTING TO VISIT 10.000 YEAR OLD ANCESTRAL CAVES.