Sep 252006

Well I’m now sitting in Labuan wandering WTF I’m doing here. You see I posted a load of stuff home this morning as I figured I wouldn’t need it til NZ. I then realised I still had my trekking poles, and my bag was way too ridiculously heavy. In my quest to do something different though I opted for the adventure to Brunei via Labuan, whereas I should have flown to my sister’s in Manila, dumped a load of stuff like erm, waterproofs, and headed back there in Jan to collect it all. I also remembered that my sister was in Singapore this weekend so should’ve hooked up with her there really, but I wanted to have a few nights in KL. I also posted home my Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore guidebook before I realised that the SE Asia in a Shoestring only has half a page on Labuan…..

It was quite hard leaving KK this morning, but I think that was as much to do with the weight of my backpack than anything. The ferry here was nothing like the horror stories I had heard, and I caught up on some sleep.

I watched the news for the first time in four months tonight. Another wonderful twist in my travel planning – the holy month of Ramadan started yesterday…yes, a couple of days before I decided to head to frickin’ Brunei. According to the Brunei Government website : “The Brunei government also shows its respect during the fasting month of Ramadan….. while all entertainment and sport activities are temporarily suspended.” Looks like I’m in for a whale of a time.

Anyway, the one good thing about Labuan is that it is duty free. A large bottle of Tiger is only 3.50RM (50 pence) here which is less than half of what it is in KK. A 1L bottle of Bombay Sapphire is 7.50 UKP! A pack of Malboro Lights, 65pence. I went a wander around town tonight – not much happening but I stumbled on a local market of food stalls selling noodles, bbq’d meat and fish, so a box of noodles was 15pence 🙂

Their tourism industry could be done with a kick in the nuts though – everywhere you read about here it mentions the fantastic wreck diving, but it’s not easy to find anyone to take you there. The two people I asked here about where to get the ferry to the Marine Park (yes, the National Park!) for snorkelling didn’t know, and one of them was the hotel. I think I’ll head to the tourism office first thing and decide from there. I thought I may just end up heading to Brunei if I can’t go snorkelling but the thought of maybe not being able to sit around and have snacks during the day doesn’t really turn me on.

But the main thing? All this doesn’t really matter. Apart from the weight of my rucksack nothing else matters – I don’t have to be anywhere at any time before MOnday morning. I spoke to my mate I’m meeting in KL who has looked into Myanmar quite a bit and it turns out she knows someone there the start of October who knows their way around, so I think it may be up to Bangkok, grab a Myanmar visa, take a few pictures of tanks in the streets, dump all my electronic gear at her mates in Bangkok (to save the immigration sending me back, or keeping it at the border), then hot foot it to Myanmar for a short spell.

Apart from all that, all is well, except missing not having a compact camera!

 Posted by at 12:24 pm

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