Yesterday we took the four-hour coach journey from Mukah to Bintalu. It’s a Chinese influenced city running alongside the Sangai Kemena river and we manage to negotiate a great price for a lovely room overlooking the water. A great view point for ‘the boy’ to watch the many colourful boats passing by and a TV for mum and dad to catch up on the news (hurricane Irene is the top story and it’s the first we’ve heard of it).
Anyway, this morning we decided to head to Similajau National Park, thirty kilometres east of Bintalu on the coast. Being budget conscious travellers we had hoped to jump on a bus, but alas, the only way there is by taxi. We find a taxi driver outside the boat terminal and negotiate a reasonable price for a return trip.
On first entering the car we were taken aback by the amount of limited window space. On every window huge stickers had been placed, many of which to advise you of safety messages. ‘Don’t forget to buckle up’ was plastered over the passenger side of the windscreen, but surely it’s safer for the driver to be able to see out of the windscreen!!?? The car mirror had a family size calendar hanging from it (always handy when you’re driving!) and numerous lucky charms were hanging from the steering wheel, gear stick and indicators. All the lucky charms in the world would not help this ancient old man be a half decent driver. His foot was pulsing on the accelerator the entire journey, revving the engine in a way that I never knew was possible. We chugged along in the fast lane of the dual carriageway and he was oblivious to the cars that were swerving past us on the inside lane to overtake. When he overtook on a single lane road and continued to drive on the wrong side of the road until we shouted at him to pull in we realised that this guy was a liability. Luckily we survived the return journey, hence the blog update, but the moral of the story is never trust a taxi driver with a car adorned in lucky charms. One day the luck will run out…
On another more positive note the National park was fantastic (only slightly marred by the thought of having to get back in the same car for the return journey). We went for a trek through the jungle to a viewing point overlooking the sea. With ‘the boy’ in the sling we crossed wooden bridges over salty croc infested rivers, (Interestingly, Borneo is the only place outside of Northern Australia where you find the large estuarine salty crocodiles) listened to the loud unfamiliar noises of the many insects and birds and watched a family of long tailed macaque monkeys swinging in the trees above our heads.
It was a really great experience and ‘the boy’ loved watching the monkeys. That’s the really amazing thing about travelling with a baby. Everyday he’s experiencing new things and every new pit stop is a new adventure playground to him. As they say in the ad ‘priceless’
Tip of the day:
As well as videos and photographs make sound recordings of the places that you visit so that you can play them back alongside the photos. It will be an amazing record of your baby’s trip.