January 26th 1984

posted in: The way back | 0

Otherwise, an undisturbed night, + we managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep.  We left on the dot of 8.30, with the video providing in-flight entertainment.  But as one couldn’t hear it above the roar of the engines, it was fairly useless.  All in all, it was a tedious journey, + uncomfortable too, being very crowded, + having a gale rushing in at us thro’ the open front door.  The Yellow Guide describes these express launches as “monster speed boats” + that is as good a description as any.  They plough thro’ the water at, I would estimate, 20 knots or so, which has the decided virtue of keeping the journey-time down.  Even so, it was getting on for 1 before we arrived in Marudi – we were pleased to be off.

We went first to the hotel that Tom + Jan had recommended, + it was indeed a mere $14 for a double room.  Seeing as that room had a large double bed, a fan, + its own bathroom, it was remarkable value.  We were both pretty tired by now, + as many of the shops appeared to be shut in any case, we took a siesta.  I’m not sure this was a good idea, however, since we dragged ourselves from the bed a couple of hours later feeling as tho’ we had  barely laid down our heads.  But we wanted to leave tomorrow, so had business to attend to.  The MAS office was first, where we were confirmed for the flight with no trouble at all.  There were only 2 names down for it in fact, which made us suspicious – did everybody else know something that we didn’t?  We would have to wait + see.  In the meantime, we trekked around the shops, buying things to give as presents in the longhouses we hoped to visit.  The final tally was: 6 tins of vegetables, 2 tins of fruit, 1 bottle of Dettol, 1 large bag of sweets, 2 packs of cigarettes, 2 mirrors with stands, + 1 large bag of sugar.  This last we divided among the various plastic containers we had decided we had no further use for.  In addition, there were a few things that we already has that we were happy to part with – a couple of shirts, some jewellery + badges that we had bought at a jumble sale in Sydney, + (vanity) pictures of ourselves.  We were also able to buy Val a wedding ring for $2 – one never knows when such things may not prove useful.  And by the time we had bought a meal + treated ourselves to an ice cream, it was time to head back to the hotel.

Street in Marudi

There they told us that there hadn’t been any flights to Bario for days, so Val trotted up to the airport to check, but there was no-one about, so we would still have to report at the correct time tomorrow, + find out.  We liked Marudi – it was a pleasant little town, with its own quiet charm.  And having a reasonably-priced hotel is a big advantage too, of course.

And suddenly our flight into the interior seems to be in doubt, leaving us with… no plans at all, really. We certainly want to see more of Sarawak, so will have to find a way to travel inland, if the flight does not transpire.

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