Today I uploaded 417 (!!) photographs to my computer, taken in the last seven weeks. I had no idea we took so many. That would have been about 16 rolls of film in the 'old days' before digital cameras, although I suppose we would have been a lot more careful if we'd been paying for processing.
I have chosen ten of them, which show a bit of what we did in the last ten days, since I did upload a few photos of Kota Kinabalu, and the Joint Birthday which was our main reason for going.
In that post, I mentioned that we had seen almost no rain since arriving.
I spoke too soon. That evening, it poured with rain.
The following evening, a friend of Daniel's from Cyprus, who is doing a short-term programme on the Doulos, came out with us for a meal. We sat outside at a Malaysian restaurant by the sea, drinking fresh apple juice and eating... then we noticed that it was spitting with rain. People started to leave, or go inside. A waiter came and asked us if we wanted to go in, but we said no- it was only a little rain, and we were under a parasol so were quite dry.
Twenty minutes later, it started bucketing down with rain. The waiters moved the parasol down lower, and we pulled our chairs in as far as we could...
but when we had finished the meal, it was raining even more heavily. So we lifted the parasol and made our way back under shelter, then got a taxi back to the hotel.
I guess we could say 'Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in Malaysian rain' except that I think mad dogs probably have more sense. Particularly if they're hydrophobic...
The following day we decided to take a ferry trip out to one of the islands nearby. It took about twenty minutes to get there on a little ten-seater boat:
I was immediately struck by the vast number of little fish swimiming around just by the jetty.
Then w discovered the reason. Fish food could be bought very cheaply. Daniel tells me this isn't at all good for the environment, but it explains why so many fish congregate in one place.
We didn't do much exploring on the island. We didn't swim or even paddle, since there was a warning about jellyfish. But it was a pleasant place to sit and read.
Our ferry came back for us at 3pm, by which time it was rather windier. The boatman went a great deal faster on the return journey, leaping over the waves:
The day afterwards, Daniel had to work since it was the big 'international night' which the Doulos do at most ports. Sometimes it's done in a theatre, this time it was in a large church hall attached to an Anglican cathedral. We all went with him for the day; so many people had bought tickets that the entire evening had to be simulcast onto a screen in the cathedral itself. Daniel is on the AV team on the ship now, and his responsibility is multi-media.
He was a bit worried in advance about how it would all work out, but the church hall was well equipped, so with the Doulos equipment too it worked well, although there was a huge amount to set up in advance. Here's Daniel mixing the video:
A true 'chip off the old block' as he said, a few months ago. Richard and Tim got roped in to be cameramen for the evening, and to help generally with technical things. I sat in a corner and read a book!
Two days later, we went with some friends to a resort about 10km from the city centre, where there were supposed to be some sailing boats. The only one easily available was a catamaran, so Richard, Daniel, and one of the friends (who is an experienced sailor) rented one for a couple of hours and had a wonderful time, despite there being not much wind:
If anyone would like to know more about this, Richard wrote a post called 'Cat on the South China Sea' which goes into rather more detail.
Other than that, we mainly chatted, read books, did some shopping, and enjoyed meals out. Here's the view from the window of The Coffee Bean, a place where we went most days to use the free wireless Internet facilities to check email:
And here's the outside of the excellent hotel we stayed in: Kinabalu Daya. It was recommended particularly in our Rough Guide to Malaysia, and we were very impressed. For one thing, a good-sized and comfortable room cost about the same as the tiny clinical guesthouse Richard and I stayed in during our first week in Hong Kong. Except that breakfast was included in this one too. And when we booked for a week, they gave us a discount.
Then when they made a slight mistake in our booking, they upgraded us from a double room to a suite - so we had a small living room as well as the bedroom. The boys' room was next door. When we said we wanted to extend our booking for another four days, they gave us the same discounted price and the same upgraded suite.... all in all, we thought it an excellent hotel:
The last picture I'm including from Malaysia is from Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday, where we had to fly from Kota Kinabalu. Kuala Lumpur is a thriving city with a population of seven million, according to one taxi driver. It has a pair of famous towers, each 88 storeys high, so we went to see them and then Tim took the standard tourist photo, lying on his back so as to get them in properly:
Most unflattering of Richard and me, but never mind.
In the evening while in KL, we couldn't decide what to eat. We wandered around various places in a mall - expensive Indian food, inexpensive sandwiches... somehow none of it appealed. We went to a food court... and as we looked at the various stalls, we saw one which instantly appealed. It was a Gyros kebab place! We hadn't realised until that moment that what we really missed was Cypriot food....
So now we're back in Cyprus, still tired but mostly unpacked. Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the day we first arrived here (for two years....). I'm very glad to realise that tonight is the end of Summer Time, meaning that we put the clocks back and thus gain an hour.