The trip to Semporna, Borneo took 39 hours. We had 4 flights: Christchurch to Auckland, New Zealand, Auckland to Gold Coast, Australia, Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Borneo Malaysia, and finally KK to Tawau. Would you believe that the flight cost was around $250?! After much arguing with the locals trying to scam us (always fun after being awake for almost 2 days), we took a taxi followed by a public mini bus to Semporna, the hub for scuba diving around Sipadan Island. As the hub for some of the best diving in the world you would think that they would have tourism figured out. But no, the city was quite possibly the most disgusting place we have been to throughout our travels – it even rivaled parts of India, which is seriously saying something. At least in India you could always find decent food. In contrast, the edible food scene in Semporna was bleak. Surrounded by trash and sewage, your food options consisted of rice (or course), oily roti (bread), KFC, or half dead seafood kept alive in dirty tanks where each lived in a plastic bottle until it’s eminent demise via rude Chinese tourist. Like I said, it was bleak. The accommodation scene was no better. We stayed in a grungy 8-bed dormitory which provided little to no sleep most nights since our roommates thought it appropriate to stay up talking and drinking in the room until the wee hours of the morning. Not only is keeping up 5 people ridiculously rude, but Malaysia is a strict Muslim country where drinking is seriously frowned upon (which explains why they were drinking in the room and not in the common area). One night, Andy allowed his frustration to simmer until eventually exploding at them to shut up in an epic way – I had to keep myself from exploding with laughter.
|Photos from around Semporna. The top right picture was taken at the market. The orange tarp on the ground on the right side of the photo has fish for sale among the spooge (at least they used a tarp I guess...).|
|Our hostel in Semporna. The free breakfast was typical: white toast, margarine, and jello-esque sugarfull jelly.|
|Photos I borrowed from the web to show pooping bump head parrot fish (top left), a close-up of a bump head parrot fish, a turtle and bat fish at Sipadan, and a grey reef shark.|