Borneo Sounds Great! Now where the Hell is it?

A long time ago, in a land far away, Spouse and I concocted yet another scheme designed to pique the interest of our Offspring in lands and people beyond the cul-de-sac. Offered at the feet of these future UN leaders was a trip anywhere in the world at the age of 13. I recall fondly looking forward to the long hours spent as a family researching locations and cultures, perusing the shiny blue globe for exciting destinations.

Offspring #2 gave two criteria and then delegated the sourcing back to me.

“Beach and rain forest.” May a swarm of ravenous blood sucking insects invade the skirt of  the 6th grade teacher who sparked an unwavering interest in saving the rain forest and its carnivorous inhabitants. I would have preferred a more relaxing destination- like Hawaii.

The Venn diagram she`d concocted narrowed down the choices significantly. Given our location in the Eastern Hemisphere, we – I – chose Borneo.  And so began the journey to Borneo whose exact global position I was uncertain. Offspring #2 then amended her criteria to include an Eco Friendly experience filled with sightings of Orangutans, Pigmy Elephants, snakes and all of the other biting forest inhabitants studied during a semester long immersion in rain forest education with this same cursed 6th grade teacher.

Still fuzzy on the exact coordinates of Borneo, I discovered two previously unknown facts:

1) It`s part of Malaysia

2) It`s south of Japan.

Map Courtesy of Lonely Planet

I downloaded 20 useful phrases in Malay and Offspring #2 and I headed to the airport for the overnight 7 hour flight. Mt. Kinabalu popped out of the clouds as we began our descent in to Hell`s un -air conditioned playpen- I mean our eco-friendly adventure.

I turned from this to the immigration form which announced,

“Drug traffickers will be hanged.” Would the 50 individually wrapped packages of Maxalt  needed for the upcoming headaches in my suit case cause an unfriendly welcome?

Traveling with a teenager having just experienced her first red eye flight meant a low key first day. We immediately jumped on a city tour of Kota Kinabalu.

KK`ers were very proud of the first stop. A circular government building built around a central pillar. We and several hundred Japanese and Chinese tourists dutifully took pictures and I resisted the urge then- and now- to make unsavory comments about its size and shape.

Luckily for OS#2 and I, other photo ops presented themselves at this location which were much more entertaining.

Unlike Indonesia, the population is predominately Christian with the balance rounded out by a 40% Muslim contingent. Offspring #2 got her first look at “The Floating Mosque.”

Accommodating up to 10,000 worshipers, this house of prayer makes it easy to donate by providing an ATM beside the front entrance.

We admired the unique display of modern art displayed at a park near the waterfront.

The art work so well represented in our photo montage was all that`s left of a building that was abandoned early in its construction. I thought the cab driver should dab them with paint and charge admission.

When in Asia, temples of various denominations are always part of the hit list. Kota Kinabalu`s famous Buddhist Temple, Puh Toh Tze, was the next stop on the whirlwind tour. Unlike Japanese temples, this one packed in all the diety`s each decked for a full frontal color assault.

A Giant Goddess of Mercy.

Several Greek Goddesses welcomed us on the path to Buddha.

A crouching lion provided endless photo opportunities all of which were irreverent, therefore not included here.

And finally, the Happy One himself:

One couldn`t help but leave feeling happy with all this giant, jovial celestial loving around.

And of course, the piece de resistance – the beach.

A peaceful end to a very long day.

The next day our real adventure started.

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28 Responses to Borneo Sounds Great! Now where the Hell is it?

  1. Michi says:

    Beautiful!!! It’s so good to see young children already bitten by the travel bug! You took such fantastic pictures, and it looks like you had some great mother-daughter time. 🙂 You can bet this will be one of those really cool memories of mom offspring #2 will carry with her forever.


  2. Michi says:

    P.S. Cheers and welcome back!


  3. Lordy! I had no idea you went without air conditioning. I’m thinking a little less eco-friendly might have gone a long way to preventing heat stroke.

    Can’t wait for the orangutan part!



  4. I am happy to see you back and full of photos!
    LOL!I missed traveling vicariously through you!
    Great pix and commentary!


  5. You’re back! 🙂 See I’m going to be learning a lot on this trip . . . Borneo is so not where I thought it would be . . .


  6. Tori Nelson says:

    Ahhh! It looks relaxing and lovely. You know, minus the Welcome: WE WILL HANG YOU, SUCKA! greeting.


  7. What beautiful know if it wasn’t for your adventurous ways, I’d never get out! 🙂


  8. Welcome back! I missed your posts. What a fun adventure! ….and the offspring #2 looks very happy too.


  9. amblerangel says:

    TX PT! OS#2 definitely had fun… I just got worn out.


  10. Lu says:

    Perhaps I’m being ignorant, but I have to ask:
    Why has “Oh Happy One” got what looks like an over-sized genie’s arm coming out of his backside?
    Looking forward to the following posts 🙂


    • amblerangel says:

      Good question- it might actually be a wind bag- seems like a lot of deities carry those around- for blowing wind- and such. When I looked at it, I thought it was some sort of bag although it does look a lot like a hand reaching from the netherlands….


  11. jacquelincangro says:

    Welcome back! I had no idea that Borneo had such beautiful beaches and colorful Buddhas. It looks like you had great weather too. Did you only take offspring #2? Was offspring #1 upset?


    • amblerangel says:

      Thanks Jacque! Offspring #1 qualified for the Junior Olympics in the US for track and field in two events. SO, he chose to do that instead of going on the trip. Spouse went with him. So- while we sweated in Borneo, they sweated in New Orleans!!!


  12. sweffling says:

    So that’s where it is!
    Lovely to follow you on your mother/daughter trip: what memories to share in the future. And a good age to do it too before she regards any suggestions from you as totally uncool and boring. What a darling laughing Buddha!! Can’t wait for the animals, keep the photos coming and thanks!


  13. Dana says:

    Coming late to the Borneo train!! What a great idea to travel somewhere together when the OS hit the age of 13. When I was younger, I was pretty excited when my parents gave us each $5 to spend on anything we wanted at the grocery store (sugary cereal, all the way!). Compared to world travel, though, those $5 now seem kind of lame… I will blame my future inferiority complex on you, miss.
    Can’t wait to read more about your adventures in Malaysia. Did you eat lots of delicious food?


    • amblerangel says:

      I have to say that the food was not my favorite part- too sweet for me. But- OS2 loved it! And we never went anywhere as kids- my kids will probably never leave home when they`re grown from us dragging them all over kingdom come…


  14. teddyoshea says:

    Great little read and beautiful photos, keep dragging your kids all over the world at least that way when they grow up, even if they don’t want to they can tell friends what it was like to travel, maybe pass on the travel bug to them. So keep up the good work.


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