Friday, March 27, 2009

In search of dragons

We left Jake in Jogyakarta and started a mad dash eastwards. Our plan was to split up with Jake, head east to see what we wanted and then meet up later on Timor island and go together to East Timor. Since we'd already booked a flight out of E. Timor we had a very limited time to stay in Indonesia and a few "musts" to accomplish first. It was going to be another rush but we were determined.
Our first day we took another economy train, 15 hrs east to the end of Java. It wasn't as bad as it sounds because the train wasn't very full and the weather a little cooler. We crashed that night at a little hotel beside the ferry terminal rather than take a midnight ferry. The following day we pushed forward by jumping on the ferry to Bali. One thing we quickly noticed (and has held true so far throughout Indonesia) is that they must have some sort of no-wake zone everywhere, because the ferries are so slow. It's like they are afraid to rev the engines. It was a 45 minute crossing that could've been done in about 15.
Not wanting to deal with the hassles of Bali when all we wanted to do was cross it, we waited around for the bus that went directly to the opposite ferry terminal to Lombok, the next island. There is definitely a transport hassle and they like to overcharge everyone foreign but we have managed to get by. It only takes 5 hours to cross Bali, but it took us a little longer because the bus kept getting stopped by Hindu festival processions. It reminded us of India with all the Hindu temples and it always did feel like there was a festival everyday in India too. No idea what it was for, but it did make the bus ride a little more interesting. We stayed that night at the local hotel (that was hard to find because nobody will point you to it, but only to the expensive tourist guesthouses) across from the ferry terminal again.
The following day, again at the crack of dawn like the days before, we jumped on the ferry to Lombok (4 1/2 hours) where we were hassled by transport touts to get into town. We managed to stir up enough trouble and bluff walking 22km so that we got the real price and then got talked into an overnight bus onward to Flores.
On our fancy A/C delux coach we head off across Lombok, jumped on another ferry to Sumbawa (only 1 1/2 hrs that time) and an all-night drive across Sumbawa. At dawn we switched to a smaller bus to the next ferry terminal. The ferry to Labuanbajo, Flores takes 7 hours but we had to wait 4 1/2 hours for it to leave because it was just sitting in port waiting to fill. The schedules here are very subject to the whims and fancies of the captain I think. Maybe we could ask them to set sail for Australia! Every ferry we've been on has looked different and had a different layout. The only consistency is that the seats are hard, they are mostly covered but open-air (although they go so slow that there is almost no breeze at all) and not very busy. There are some great views from the boat though as every island seems to be volcanic and you can get great views of the volcanoes that form the core of each island in the chain.
On the overnight bus we'd met an older Japanese guy that was getting nailed by every tout in the country. He'd spent in one month on Bali (which is supposed to be cheap if you do it right) as much as I'd spent in 2 years. No wonder my life is so difficult with overpricing. He wanted to follow us and get some tips on saving money, but there is no way such a drastic change was going to work for him. He crashed with us that one night and then moved on alone the following day, even though we were supposed to do a boat trip together.
Having made it to Labuanbajo and checking in to the only cheap homestay with rooms left (and they were just little wooden boxes and nothing else) we were happy to have arrived at our first destination in only 4 days of solid travel. The following morning we were up early and on a boat to nearby Rinca island.
Rinca, together with nearby Komodo island, is part of Komodo National Park, the home of the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon. Mom had been dreaming of coming here to see them since the beginning of the trip 4 years ago so it's actually quite amazing that we have managed to loop around and finally get there. The lizards are basically and overgrown monitor lizard and the males grow up to 3.1m long and weigh up to 100Kg. Their saliva is also septic because of a high amount of some bacteria so the bite is fatal to their prey of deer, buffalo and wild pigs. Humans have been attacked as well and unless medical attention is quickly sought, would also die from a bite. They know all this and yet the dragons are just hanging around the park office and under the accommodation huts and the nearest medical facilities require a flight back to Bali. Yikes! From the little park office you pick up a guide (and he gets a big stick to protect you) for a short hike around the island to spot the dragons and any other wildlife. We saw most of the dragons at the camp though.
After Rinca we stopped to snorkel at a little islet on the way back to Flores. Komodo NP is also one of the top dive destinations in Indonesia and I was very tempted but the price is too high. We did see a sea turtle from the boat, but failed to find the famous manta rays that hang out here as well. The snorkelling was good, lots of coral and fish, but I definitely prefer diving. The breathing is just so much easier to figure out....
It was a great day, but again, with our crazy schedule, we had to continue our hectic schedule and move on the following day.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Our first destination, Jogyakarta (known and Jogja here), was an obvious choice because it is the jump off point for two famous archaelogical sites, Prambanan and Borobudur.
We went to see Prambanan first. It was built in the 9th century and is a Hindu temple complex, the largest in Indonesia. It was wrecked in 2006 by an earthquake so was still in the process of being restored with scaffolding and the inner parts off-limits. The main temple complex consists of 6 main temples, one for each of the 3 main Gods and their "vehicles". They are just tall lotus-shaped temples, the tallest of which is ~45m. It was interesting, first thing Hindu in a long time. The site is also a large park containing a few other ruins but Buddhist ones.
Borobudur is the more famous and impressive of the two sites so we saved it for last. It was built at about the same time but was Buddhist. It is put on the same scale of archeological importance and impressiveness as Angkor Wat and Bagan in South East Asia. I'd been to the other 2 so was interested in what Borobudur had to offer. My day didn't start off all that well as my sandal broke right at the entrance and I had to walk around barefoot through the site for the rest of the day until getting it fixed later in the market. The good news is that unlike other popular tourist sites around the world, these two were really clean and it was actually quite nice to be barefoot :)
One thing I'd noticed before and became much more obvious as I was stomping around the temple with my sandals in my pockets is that the Indonesians like to laugh at you. I just get the impression that they are laughing at me all the time. Not maliciously and it doesn't bother me really, but I haven't had that in a while. It was also interesting in that the temple wasn't all that busy but I did get mobbed by a group of young school girls that wanted to practice English and get my signature. I've heard that in Indonesia the schools often give the kids English homework that involves interacting with foreigners. It was nice, I always like that kind of thing. The temple itself was interesting. Basically a huge stupa with 8 levels or something. You can walk around it and see the different bas-reliefs of all the different carvings. I enjoyed it but would say it didn't quite live up to the comparison with the other 2 great sites. On the way back we were able to see Mt. Merapi in the distance. It is the most active volcano in the country of volcanoes (100+ active ones) and I swear the thing is smoking....
Jogyakarta is ok for a tourist town. There don't seem to be a lot of tourists around, and we are staying with a host anyway. Jake and I seemed to be hassling the locals more than they were hassling us so that is always a good thing. Indonesia is really cheap and so far the food is good if I can avoid the spicy stuff.
Both here and in Jakarta they have an interesting public transit system. They call it a "busway" and it is basically a subway service but is with buses. They have special stops and booths with turnstiles like a subway but they are on the road. It's interesting because the stops are so far away and it is all so organized and clean, right down to the air freshener spray on a timer in the buses (much needed in such a hot and sweaty country). The people are really nice and helpful too.
I wish we had more time to take a leisurely approach to the country but it won't happen this time around.
We will leave here tomorrow heading east. Jake is going to split up again for a couple weeks.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Into Indonesia

We flew from Kuching to Jakarta, Indonesia on a flight that got us there a little before midnight. We spent the night "sleeping" in the airport and caught the bus into the city centre first thing in the morning and Jake was there waiting for us at the other end. It's so nice to be so loved :) He already knew where to go and what to do, having been in Jakarta for a few days already.
Because of our tight schedule here we decided to immediately leave Jakarta so only had a couple of hours in the centre before catching a train out to Jogyakarta. All I can say is that Jakarta is another one of those mega-cities of over 10 million people but that it didn't seem as bad as I had expected. I'm sure that some day I will be back.
We opted to take the cheap train to Jogyakarta because it was only $3 for a 9 1/2 hr ride. That's awesome and it wasn't even as uncomfortable and scary as we were expecting.
The ride was actually a lot like being in India. Lots of people coming and going selling food and other random items the entire time. Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world and Java is one of the densests areas in the world. So yeah, it has that over-crowded feel without being creepy. The guys didn't stare at us the whole time. And yet, there are a lot of Indian influences that we can recognize that must go way, way back because Indonesia is supposed to be the most populous Muslim country in the world too, with 88% of the people being Muslim, but to look at them on the street or in the train, you'd never know. It's definitely not a Middle East type of culture so far.
We survived the train and are now in Jogyakarta where we will check out the famous archaeological sites in the area.

As it turns out, there is a continuation of the story of the US embassy incident in Brunei. 2 days later the FBI knocked on the door of Jake's parents' house. Coincidence? I think not. Of course they wanted to know everything about what he is doing, who he's with etc. He is Muslim so that can't help but the scary part is that it was dad and I who were involved so they probably went to the hostel and found our names. That is so annoying and once again proves my point that the US has issues if they are coming after the likes of us. So we got Jake in trouble and no doubt he's getting us in trouble by association. Hmmm.....
I've finally caught up on the photos so go check the new ones out!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bako and Gunung Gading National Parks

It is so humid here in Kuching. It is currently the "less wet" season but we still seem to get rain most days, it is always humid and they have the biggest ditches for water drainage that I've ever seen. I don't know anyone that has disliked Kuching that I've asked. It's actually a really nice city because it is quite clean and very relaxed. They have a really nice waterfront walk and a handful of well preserved historical buildings from the Brooke's (White Raja) era.
The problem was that we made it down to Kuching so quickly that we actually had a full week to kill before our next flight out. Jake solved this problem by changing his flight to Jakarta and flying out 2 days later. We'll meet up with him again when we finally get there. We opted to go visit some more national parks.
Our first was Bako NP which had been recommended to us by a number of other travellers. It is a small park at the tip of a peninsula, but happens to be the best place to see the rare Proboscis monkey that lives only in Borneo. So with that in mind we booked 2 nights in the park hostel and head over on the bus. The bus to Bako doesn't take you all the way though and you have to get a little motorboat to bring you around the peninsula and to the park HQ. Timing is an important part of this since the area has a tide of several feet and the boats can not get out of the village at the low points. In fact, we just barely made it and were skipping along the bottom for a lot of the ride before getting dumped on the beach a couple hundred meters from the shore.
The accommodation was not nearly as nice as it was at the Niah caves but Bako is actually a lot older and starting to get run down. There's about 30 km of hiking trails in the park but the most interesting things are close to the HQ so we didn't go too far. We hiked about 8km the first day. Of course it was too hot and humid for comfort and we were constantly walking on roots, so even though the trails are well marked, you spend most of the time looking at your feet I think. The most impressive thing about the park is it's plant diversity and the most interesting that we saw on the hike (to me) were the carnivorous Pitcher plants. They look like little pitchers with some fluid inside which attracts insects and then digests them after they fall in. Yum yum.
The remaining days we took the smarter approach and sat in one of the shelters over the tidal flats and watched the animals come to us. We saw ~20 Proboscis monkeys and of course the ever-present Macaques along with other random small wildlife. Mission accomplished.
The day after we got back from Bako, we hooked up with a couple also couchsurfing with the same host as us, and decided to visit not only the Sunday market but also make a trip out to Gunung Gading NP to see the Rafflesia flower there. It is the world's largest flower but is a parasitic plant that lives off the roots of a particular tree and after an incubation of 8-9 months, produces a large red flower that can measure as much as 3 feet across! The problem is that the flower lasts for only 6-7 days before disintegrating so there are no guarantees that one will be seen. So people usually call the park to see if there is one in bloom and then go out. We heard that there was one in bloom but it would be the last day that it would be worth seeing so we really had to go on that day.
We started the morning with a quick whirl through the Sunday market in Kuching. It was surprisingly nice. Clean, organized and without the horrible smells usually associated with all the fish on offer there. We actually enjoyed the wide range of fish on sale (including rays and horseshoe crabs) and the fruit and veg also looked really fresh and appetizing.
From there we tried to walk to the bus station and began what turned out to be a very "adventurous" day. We missed the bus by literally no minutes, because we watched it drive away without us. We're just not used to things actually running on time anymore. There were five of us so taking a taxi was out because they actually have a law here that says they can only take 4. Sometimes things are just not chaotic enough....
We really wanted to do the whole trip out as a day trip but it was at least an hour to get to the park and had only 4 buses a day. The remaining 2 would not allow us to get there and back in a day so while brainstorming ideas, Mark, the other CS guy, met a local guy who was eager to please and convinced us we could still make it there and back. So we jumped on a different bus to the halfway point and then found that no, there were no more buses from there. On to Plan D, hitchhike! We had picked up a Spanish girl too and somehow the 7 of us (thanks to the tireless efforts of our local "guide") managed to hitch, by taking a series of pickup trucks, to the park. There we learned that even if we had wanted, the park was full so we could not stay.
We saw the flower. I'd always wanted to see the Rafflesia and although this one was starting to wilt around the edges, it was still impressive. To add to the bizarreness of the whole life-cycle of the Rafflesia, it is pollinated by the carrion fly and to attract it, smells of rotting flesh. Or so they say. It definitely did stink if you got close enough but fortunately for me I don't have much experience with the smell of rotting flesh so can't say for sure :)
Then with all that was going wrong with our day, our dinner orders were wrong, all return transport options fell through and the cheapest hotel in the nearby town of Lundu was shut down. Grrrr...
We're all seasoned travellers though and made the most of it with plenty of jokes. Only Frankie our local guide was really stressed by the whole thing. I know it doesn't sound that bad here but it would've been a great day for making a documentary titled "Why you should take the package tour", haha. In the end we had to stay at the expensive hotel and catch the morning bus back to Kuching.
Tonight we are off to Jakarta, Indonesia for a few weeks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We made it back into Malaysia without any incident. Jake had actually left early, hitched to Miri and got there ahead of us, found a cheap hotel and met us at the bus station to take us there. Talk about service!
Miri is the main oil town of Malaysian Borneo and was quite developed. We only spent the night in Miri before moving on. Miri is in Sarawak state, the only other state that Malaysia has in Borneo. Both states have unique histories relative to the rest of Malaysia and I think Sarawak's is the most interesting. In the mid-1800's a British guy named James Brooke sailed into Kuching (the capital of Sarawak) and helped the local authorities put down a rebellion against Brunei rule. As a result he was granted land in the area and became the first White Raja of Sarawak. There were a total of 3 Raja's, they built a palace in Kuching and expanded their territory to the present size of Sarawak. They ruled until the area was overrun by the Japanese in WW2 and after the war when the last Raja realized that he could not afford to rebuild and gave the whole area to the British as a protectorate. Sabah at the time was British North Borneo and both areas (and including Singapore, who was kicked out a short time later, and almost Brunei, who backed out just before the agreement was finalized) joined Malaya (the peninsular part of Malaysia) to form Malaysia and gain independence. To some extent Sarawak has more autonomy than the other states of Malaysia and even stamps your passport when coming in from other parts of the country.
Sarawak is famous for it's jungle and lots of tribal groups which can be visited in their longhouses by taking trips up the various rivers. We didn't bother with such things but went to visit Niah caves, another one of its main attractions.
Niah caves is a national park that would be more famous if not for the fact that there are bigger and better caves further inland at Gunung Mulu that, unfortunately for us, were harder to get to. Niah caves was great though. We stayed in a really nice hostel on site and were relieved to find that unlike Africa, we can afford the entry fees and accommodation on site.
Niah caves is a collection of caves that actually are more like hollowed out hills than caves that actually go underground. There is a walk out to the caves through the rainforest along an elevated walkway. It's a 9km round-trip walk but didn't feel like that at all because it was so interesting. We saw so many different types of strange bug that we kept stopping to take photos. The caves used to be major producers of guano and the bird's nests used for making bird's nest soup. We saw a few locals doing the traditional collecting of nests but there are not nearly as many birds (or bats) around anymore. The caves are not lit inside though with multiple entry points some light filters through. Cool effect but definitely needed our flashlights. Along the ceiling in places you could see a guy with a flashlight and a long pole hanging from some ropes and trying to scrape the bird's nests off. With all the darkness and powerful smell of guano in the cave, it's not a job I'd be signing up for any time soon.
Niah caves is also the site of some archaeology work as human inhabitants seem to have occupied the area for the last 40,000 years. That makes it the oldest site for humans on the islands of south east Asia. Some of their more recent descendants left us some cave paintings too.
Niah is a little bit difficult to get to still so we managed to get a free lift with a local back to the main road to catch the bus. The buses were full for a while so we tried hitching. As a group our size, that just wasn't going to work and all we managed to do was get a little more tanned. Finally found a bus with some empty seats and got down to Sibu where we spent the night.
Rather than taking the bus from Sibu to Kuching we went by ferry. It was nice as the first part travels along a river. Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and as such is the place that has the most tourists and the palace of the Rajas. There is a really nice riverfront walk and we are lucky to be able to stay with a couchsurfing host here for the next few days.
Since we've just arrived I'll have to write more about it later :)

Friday, March 06, 2009


We picked up Jake in Kota Kinabalu the night we arrived there from Sandakan. We stayed that night and the following morning jumped on a ferry to Brunei. To get to Brunei we had to take a fast ferry to a small island called Labuan. It's still part of Malaysia but a special duty-free zone. We had a 2 hour wait and then another ferry to Brunei. Brunei is arguably the most expensive country in south east Asia so we were only planning on visiting the capital for a couple days and then moving on.
Brunei is interesting for me to visit because growing up I remember hearing that the richest guy in the world was the Sultan of Brunei. The Sultan is also the world's currently longest reigning family monarchy line (he's the 28th) and he rules over the last absolute monarchy in Asia. It is a wealthy country because it's such a small one (even though historically it was much bigger and included all of Borneo and parts of the Philippines) and has lots of oil. The citizens of the country have a high standard of living, pay no taxes, have free health-care, schooling and a number of other nice perks. The problem? Well, the sultan is a bit vain, his brother has managed to unwisely spend billions on retarded things and the people can't vote, alcohol is banned and probably a few other things I didn't find out too.
Overall though, I'd say the country was really nice and quite well run from the looks of things. The capital is really small so we spent the afternoon and evening of the day we arrived and all of the following day just wandering around checking out the place.
A few of our discoveries:
1. Despite being a conservative Muslim country, it was quite difficult to find a mosque. They don't have one on every corner like a lot of other countries do.
2. The people are really friendly and nice with the exception of the boat guys who hassle you for tours when you are near the water.
3. They have KFC, DQ and Jollibee (a Filipino fast-food place) but no McDonald's.
4. It was quite hard to find cheap street food because there is little on offer in most areas.
5. The best thing we did was wander through the stilt villages. (story to follow)
6. The US embassy guards royally suck. (story to follow)
7. It is pretty expensive but with Jake to help us, we did it cheaper than most people would and the youth hostel is quite nice and clean despite what the LP might say.

Ok, stilt villages. Very cool. Beside the central mosque (the most famous landmark in the country and very picturesque on it's own little artificial lagoon) is the beginning of something like 28 villages (housing ~30,000 people) over the water. The capital has 2 rivers running through it and although most of the stilt villages are across the river, we had a good time walking through the ones on our side. These villages are literally built on stilts and pylons out over the water and connected by wooden walkways a few feet above the water. Homes, schools, shops, everything. You might think it would be pretty ghetto and poor but most of the homes were huge and looked really nice inside. They have water and power (including some "streetlights") but we aren't sure about the waste plumbing.... The only problem is that there is a lot of garbage washed up on the shoreline with the tide. It was fun to just wander around and watch all the little motorboats zipping around at full speed from one village to another. So long as your wooden flooring holds, your newborn kids always wear a life jacket and you aren't prone to stumbling home drunk late at night, it could be an interesting place to live :)
Our other major story is that while Jake and mom went into a bank, to change some money for their collections, dad and I decided to stay outside and wait. We sat on the "curb" and I was watching the people walk by while dad was looking at the guide book. The US embassy was in the upper floors of a building across the street. After a while I noticed that one of the guards (which we hadn't noticed at all before) was sneaking photos of me from across the street and once I caught onto it, a pair of others came over and started to hassle us. "Who are you?", "Give us your ID", "Where are you staying?", "What are you reading?", etc. Totally uncalled for. Here we are, clearly non-threatening, western (clean cut I might add) tourists doing absolutely nothing, on the main street in the capital of Brunei and they come over and hassle us and tell us to move on. I think in the end there were about half a dozen guards involved and I didn't even say anything that might start something. Imagine if I lifted the wrong finger... If the US is going to start being that paranoid then they have serious problems. I might add that the French embassy was also across the street and we didn't see any sign of them. The US embassy in most countries is usually a huge fortified compound outside the city where they can do whatever they want. In this case it seemed like they were wielding a lot of power right in the centre. I should've told the Sultan someone was after his power....
Our other bit of tourism was a visit to the Royal Regalia Museum. Like all the museums it was free but this particular one was just about the current Sultan and all of his gifts from foreign heads of state or articles from his corronation and celebrations of himself. There were some interesting gifts but most were quite pointless. The strangest part I think was that we had to take our shoes off so we were walking around the museum in bare feet. Pretty sure that's a first for me.
The following day we left by bus heading west to Miri in Malaysian Borneo again (but the other state, Sarawak). On the way we passed through the main oil producing region and could see plenty of proof of the industry. Pumps and processing side by side.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


We flew from the Philippines to Sabah, a state of Malaysia in north eastern Borneo. We were picked up by a Japanese guy that was going to host us in the capital city of Kota Kinabalu. There were some immediately obvious changes when we first arrived. For one thing we are back to driving on the left side of the road again. It's been just long enough that that is probably going to be really screwy for a while. Another change is that we are back in the Muslim world and a lot of girls are once again wearing headscarves. I'd say maybe half the girls are wearing them but people have told me that here in Sabah it is significantly more liberal than in other parts of Malaysia. We will see. The street food is good and if you like Indian (which mom does not) then there is lots to choose from.
So far Sabah has not been the Borneo that you expect to see. Borneo is supposed to be jungle wildlife and headhunters in a lot of people's imagination but both the cities of Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan have been very modern, organized and clean (they had to be completely rebuilt after WWII so that might have something to do with it). In fact, it's a little strange (and kind of annoying actually) having to look for a bus stop to catch the bus. We are so used to just flagging them down anywhere.
From Kota Kinabalu we made a trip out to the east coast of Sabah to Sandakan. Sandakan itself doesn't have a lot going for it that is very interesting to the casual tourist. Historically it was the site of an infamous Japanese prisoner camp with lots of death marches and very few survivors. The bus ride out to Sandakan passes by Mt. Kinabalu, the tallest mountain between Papua New Guinea and the Himalayas. We're going to skip the climb this time around. It's too much like the Mt. Cameroon route for our tastes. There is some jungle out there in the hills but a lot of the land is now used for palm oil plantations. It actually looks a lot like Cote d'Ivoire (at least as I imagine it before the civil war). The real nature is a lot further away and quite expensive to do because it has to be by tour. Also in the area are the caves where people collect the nests to make the famous bird's nest soup.
The real reason anyone goes to Sandakan is to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC). We were there today. There aren't many orangutan centers in the world since orangutans are found only on Borneo and Sumatra (Indonesia). They are 96% related to us and are the largest animal to spend their lives entirely in trees. Ok, you know what an orangutan looks like so I won't go into it. Anyway, the jury is still out on which is cuter, the orangutan or the chimp. Baby orangutans are really cute in that "I look like an old man that just stuck my finger in the socket" kind of way. The SORC is pretty touristy as it is the best known of all places to see orangutans. They have 2 daily feeding times that we are allowed to visit and about 100 people showed up when we went. The orangutans are being rehabilitated to the wild so aren't really supposed to have much contact with people anymore and the feedings are just to supplement their diets as they learn to adjust to the wild once more. A few showed up to feed briefly and we could see them from quite close although from a wooden viewing platform. When the orangutans are finished the macaques come in to clean up. They are the common obnoxious monkeys found all over Asia and are fun to watch as they goof off.
There are a few walking trails in the area but the ground is total mud at the moment so nobody can use them. It would've been nice to get out and see a little more of the jungle as it is quite nice here. Apparently there are more species of trees in Borneo than in all of Africa combined! We didn't see any other wildlife other than a pair of hornbills. The disappointing aspect of the visit is that they really limit you to what you can do and see in the park. You are not allowed to hang out at the viewing platform for all that long and although they have lots of babies and juveniles in rehab buildings somewhere nearby, you can't visit them. You are limited to the 2 feeding times only and they are over so quickly that it almost isn't worth the price of admission (wow, am I greedy or what?).
We are leaving Sandakan tomorrow to go back to Kota Kinabalu where we will meet up with Jake, who will be travelling with us for the next couple of months if all goes well.