Two-and-a-half months in the Malay world — Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah. Had intended to stop off in Brunei for a few days as well, but, ultimately, couldn’t justify the exorbitant prices for accomodation.
Well, now that it’s possible to use one card for all the different transit options; and now that I’ve found (after much searching) a hostel to replace my beloved/departed Cosmopolitan (it’s not in the same ZIP code in terms of meeting interesting people, and it’s more expensive, but in some ways it’s better — best of all, it’s about forty paces from a Coconut man who’s always got good quality stuff); and now that I’ve found a place within walking distance to get a bus to/from Penang (the city very stupidly built a miles-from-anywhere replacement for the old, conveniently located main terminal, and the new train service is $20 for the four-hour passage); and now that I keep finding new places to get reasonably priced good-quality Watermelons…I guess I can say that I don’t totally despise KL anymore. It used to be that every time I visited, it had gotten more infuriating; but now is the first time it’s actually gotten less infuriating. Cool enough.
First time visitng Singapore, and I didn’t even make it through Passport Control before having my dimpled ass hauled in. After thee scanning machine got jiggy with my backpack, I was carted off to the Customs interrogation office, and, eventually, defrocked of my status as a switchblade (AKA “folding knife” AKA “flip knife”) owner.
After about twenty minutes’ waiting, I was informed by one of the three clerks handling the case that this type of knife is not allowed in Singapore. “Will you hold it for me, so I can retrieve it when I leave the country?” I wondered. He took my question to mean that would it be okay for me to leave the office now and be on my way?, and laughingly estimated that “the process” — which consisted, on their part, of filling in and stapling together form after form after form of paperwork (sheesh, couldn’t they just have saved us all a bunch of pain in the arse, done a goddam retina scan, and known my whole entire history tout de suite?) — would take about an hour. I didn’t know whether that meant an hour from then, or an hour from when I’d been apprehended, but figured that either way it would be a tricky situation getting back onto my bus — if it weren’t there waiting…well, that’s self-explanatory; but even if it were still waiting, that would mean all the other riders of that bus would be royally pissed off at me, and pelting me with broken bottles and used barfbags and some stuff.
“In case the bus has already left, come back here, and I will find you another one,” he reassured me. But when I offered what I thought was a helpful suggestion, viz., to contact the bus bay and let them know of my whereabouts and whyfors, he brushed off said suggestion like as it was the tiniest fleck of dust in all the known Universe. When I asked what would become of the knife, I was told that it would eventually be “destroyed”. Noting the look of surprise on my face, the clerk shrugged his shoulders and lamented, “What else could we do with it?” My helpful suggestion that at least they could sell it in Malaysia and make a little bit of money was met with the same disregard as had been my first helpful suggestion.
But despite they didn’t care, none of them, for my helpful suggestions; and despite I had to show two different people how to open the knife (and one of them had to show a third); and despite I was asked the same three questions — Where did you purchase the knife? (KL); How much did it cost? (30RM); What did you use it for? (Opening fruit) — by five different individuals; and despite the whole “process” actually took about two hours; and despite my knife (which, by dint of having survived intact a change-of-management housecleaning bid at the KL hostel in which I had left it for safe-keeping whilst I was in Nepal, had gained some amount of sentimental value to me) is now slated for destruction…it really wasn’t so bad a time, mostly on account of the staff were all very friendly and easygoing (even downright affable, some of them).
Friendliest of all was the Malayan (as opposed to Malaysian, note) chauffer appointed to ferry me to-and-fro’ the Customs office and the Police Force office — about a five-minute walk — several times as it turned out on account of the former had failed to fill in some of the forms to the latter’s satisfaction. “They’re very particular,” the chaperone duly informed me as we departed the office.
She had married a cracker from the United States and subsequently lived in Houston for twelve years; but once their marriage busted up, she high-tailed it back here to SG. So, anyhow, she was rather keen to hold forth in re livin’ in the USA. She also, once I’d broached the subject, let on that Durian is her favourite, too; and sat and kept me company at the two offices’ waiting areas — which was welcome and all, although she did ask a couple of pretty odd questions. Firstly, she wanted to know when I would be coming back to Singapore; and I was like, let’s see if I’m even allowed in the first time before I begin making plans for the second. Next, she wanted to know whether I liked Singapore; my answer, as honest as I could make it, amounted to, “So far, it’s nothing too special…”
Before being permitted to ever see my goddam passport again, I was required to sign my name, in six or seven different places down the page, to a form setting down the aforementioned whereabouts and whyfors of the aforementioned SNAFU and authorising the aforementioned Police Force to undertake the aforementioned destruction of the aforementioned contraband item of aforementioned sentimental value. True to his aforementioned word, the affable Customs clerk seconded me, free-of-charge, to a Golden-Mile-bound coach about ready for takeoff, and my eleven-hour passage (as per the schedule) soon concluded some seventeen hours after it had begun (thanks also to the ineluctable Malaysian bus operator delays along with an amount of ungodly traffic on the Causeway)…but not before the clerk took it upon himself to make me good and aware that, “It is very, very rare for a white man to enjoy eating Durian.” I tried explaining him that it’s not so uncommon as local peninsular mythology would have one believe, but he wouldn’t hear of it; instead repeating at least three or four times, “It is very, very rare for a white man to enjoy eating Durian.”
Singapore itself is a kind of nirvana for barefooters, I am able to report: The sidewalks being as they are broad, tree-lined, numerous as, and wholly free from obstructions. Moreover, there appear to be more parks and beaches here than can shake a stick at. Also, the totally awesome vices — gambling, prostitution, et al. — are legal, while the totally idiotic and nuisance-causing vices — motorcycling on the sidewalk, smoking at the bus stop, et al. — are all illegal.
What’s not to love?? Well, after my little dust-up back at the frontier, and considering the country’s authoritarian reputation, I’m now afeared to jaywalk here (gotta admit, it’s kind of a small price to pay for the thrill of doing jalan jalan in what’s got to be the most pedestrian-friendly city in all of Asia). Worse, it’s about twice as expensive as any place I’ve been in Asia; while the two Coconuts I tried to drink were the furthest thing from the sweet/fizzy melange of awesome that slakes those hot/humid blues like nothing else possibly can be able to do. And though there’s a Durian stall about every block or two, I’ve yet to spy even one single biji approaching what I’d call “decent quality”.
Oh, spitting. I don’t know about spitting here. Spitting is, of course, the most awesomest vice in the known Universe, but I don’t think I’ve seen anybody doing it here; making me think it might be illegal. So, we’ll see. We shall in all likelihood certainly see…
Because nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite so cheerfully as lasgun-wielding state militia thugs standing guard over yon Xmas tree.
Do you like leaves and/or trees? Then, what are ye waiting for? Bring your dimpled ass to Singapore already!
In re the pictured gazebo and its accompanying description, it took me a good three or four minutes’ time after having snapped the photo — puzzled and amused, and wondering, “But where’s the Gardens’ least conic architectural and ornamental feature?” — before realising that the sign is supposed to read iconic. I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes…
Plus ça change — even in nineteen and eight (as seen here in rule #6), the sharing with neighbours of cultural ephemera procured with one’s own funds was considered, by the money-men, to be offensive behaviour — plus c’ est la même chose, ain’t it?
First off, who wouldn’t want to live in a city which circulates public advisories regarding otters and otter spraint? But, also, Advisory On Otters is a band name waiting to happen!
Well it seemed pretty incongruous for the city planners to have invited an Ecuadorian ensemble to Singapore to perform the big Christmas night concert, but, anyway, it was certainly a rousing set. And, after all, they did mix in rather spectacular, salsafied renditions of both “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and “Feliz Navidad”…
My Singapore scorecard…
- Jaywalking: Early and often. Oh, I did wait a day or two before my initial foray; but after that, it was all systems go. Zero police whistles heard.
- Spitting: Early and often. Not on the sidewalks, to be sure — but then, I never spit on sidewalks anyhow. Zero police whistles heard.
- Pissing in the bushes: I only did it once, as public restrooms abound. Nevertheless, zero police whistles heard.
In all, I think Singapore’s reputation as the nanny-state non plus ultra is rather undeserved. Is it clean? Yes, very — but that’s because it’s very wealthy (is my guess), and can afford to spend lots of energy relocating all the discarded plastic out of sight. But it’s not like the fuzz are standing on every corner with truncheons drawn, or nothin’.
Fuckin’ KL Durian pigout got thee year started right. All-you-can-eat Durian is never as good as you think it’s going to be; but this one was pretty decent, and the staff were very friendly. Can’t complain.
Checked in to my guest house here, met up with my bro’ Lauri Ilves, began digging in to the mountain Durians he’d procured from a local stall, thought of my bro’ Mads Tobias Gisle Johnsen’s mad feat of consuming only Durian flesh and Coco water for six weeks straight (which he pulled off in ought-fourteen), and made a note to myself that perhaps this could be the place to try to duplicate said feat. I mean, that’s some fucking good Durian right now! Somebody remind me again why it took me so long to finally touch down here?
First time eating Dabai, one of the famous Borneo jungle fruits. It’s about 80% seed, tastes like Cheez Whiz, and doesn’t digest so well. In other words, totally addictive! You soak them in warm water to soften them up enough for mastication.
But Durian is the star of the show here — they’re selling them just about everywhere you look, and while there are plenty of shit ones for sale, we’re able easily to find some extremely great ones at very reasonable prices.
People say Kuching is reminiscent of Penang, but to me it feels more like Chanthaburi — except that instead of rabbits, here they’re obsessed with cats.
Spoilt for choice at Kuching’s weekend market. You want it? It’s here…
The Durians are better in other parts of town, and the Watermelon I et was just decent. But…
- Dragonfruit ~ best I’ve ever eaten.
- Papaya ~ best I’ve ever eaten.
- Soursop ~ FAR the best I’ve eaten since Hawaii (which is seven years ago now).
- Rollinia ~ First I’ve even seen since Hawaii, and almost as good. The Rollinias win best in show for me: Pine Cone Pudding for the fucking WIN, ain’t it?
Didn’t even get around to trying the Sapodillas, Bananas, Citrus, Cempedaks, or Marangs yet. As far as jungle fruits go, along with the previously noted Dabai, there’s one that’s tangy/bitter with an aftertaste of Marinara sauce (pictured directly above), and one that looks kinda like a mushroom thing and tastes like Avocado (pictured directly below).
Also, the vendors and fellow-market-goers are incredibly friendly, warm, good-humoured, and welcoming; and there’s a big dining area with handwashing sinks aplenty — along with, for thee entertainments, easily the lousiest karaoke practitioners you will EVER hear. Plus, best of all: No motorcycles or cars in the aisles! Come on and check it out, why don’t you.
Very appreciative hat-tipping thanks, as always, for the intrepid legwork of Ms. Lindsay Gasik (the owner of my hostel said he’d never heard of a white person knowing of the existence of MJC Market before, and was flabbergasted when I reported to him that we’d met two other Americans there as well; causing him to surmise that, “Maybe there is something to this Durian blogger…”).
Oh, hai, I’ll have one of those, one of those, one of those…oh! and one of those.
A group of three very friendly retired Sarawakians (okay, true, Sarawakians are all very friendly) buying from the same vendor as me and with nothing better to do — their words — offered me a ride back into town. On the way, I asked them whether they recommended my visiting Brunei. They all immediately and vehemently reacted to the negative. After a pause, the lady explained their reasoning: “No beer!” (It’s illegal in the Sultanate.) Later, I walked past an Australian dribbling a basketball along the Esplanade, whose greeting took the form of the words, “Hey, buddy, how are you?” I’ve just never been sure how I feel about being called “buddy”.
I ate that.
Crazy days in Kuching. Every time we show up at MJC market, it starts raining cats and dogs. But the Durians here seem to be the best quality and cheapest prices of all the different markets around the city. Kuching Durians — okey, they aren’t in quite the same ballpark as Penang’s, but they’re fucking good, mang. Moreover, it’s just about impossible to overstate how friendly and engaging the people are here. In fact, the population appears to have been overtaken by a general giddiness at the sight of these two white idjits mowing through quantities of Durian all over town.
Besides, when our driver arrived to take us back to the riverfront (we wanted to see how easy it would be to hitch a ride, but it was already dark and still raining by the time we were ready to leave), he was jamming out the first Rage Against The Machine album from his car stereo’s speaker system. Yeah, we livin’ it large here on Sarawakian shores…
Et der Sprouted Coconut for thee first time — pretty interesting! Truthfully, I kind of didn’t like it; but then I couldn’t stop eating it…
Fuckin’ GREAT entertainment at thee Food Court to-day. The guitarist impressed muchly with his Malaysian Surf stylings, while the five or six singers through whom the band cycled (including a coupla ladies with gorgeously soaring vocals) held their own as well. This-here gent near to stole the show, channeling Klaus Meine like nobody I’ve ever heard. I’m still royally bemused by Southeast Asians’ unquenchable Scorpions infatuation — but one’d certainly never hear yours truly complaining about it!
Like moths to thee flame arrived Kuchingers to the nightly feeding frenzy at eMart’s Matanga branch. Wasn’t too impressed with the quality, frankly — but lo and be-fucking-hold, just as we was fixing to beat feet back here to downtown, we finally done and got our grubby mitts on a reasonably priced cache of the ever-elusive Graveolens Durian. Cutest goddam sight you ever did see, but we couldn’t reach no goddarn consensus in re what they ever even tasted like: I said Jakfruit, Lauri thought cheese, and Chris was all about fricken Hazelnuts.
That’s me shouting, “Kuching, baby!” from offscreen — meant every god damn word of it, too.
Ben LaSalle and Merry-Ellen flew back to fuckin’ Humboldt while Lauri Ilves and Chris Hind moved on to motherfuckin’ Sibu. Jordan’s still here, but he fuckin’ couldn’t care less about fruit. So that left me to eat up all the fuckin’ Durians in town (maybe leave a few for the motherfuckin’ locals).
I started by schlepping my dimpled ass up to fuckin’ Third Mile and there found a most pungent specimen being proffered by a fuckin’ Chinaman whom really could’ve passed for a goddam fuckin’ Japanesian. When I pointed out to him the two wormholes near the bottom of, he bade me select another fuckin’ fruit but I was pleasantly fuckin’ surprised to find him amenable to my counter-offer to purchase the very same motherfuckin’ fruit for fuckin’ ten Ringgits rather that the fifteen he’d fuckin’ quoted. A pretty fuckin’ good tradeoff for the both of us, I thunk: The parts that were good were really fuckin’ good, while the parts that the motherfuckin’ worms had got to were not so really fuckin’ good.
I went back to his motherfuckin’ stall to inquire about possibly purchasing another motherfuckin’ Durian, but that friendly motherfucker fuckin’ gave me one for free in-fucking-stead! God damn it, motherfuckin’ Sarawakians are thee best!!
Walking back into town, a old man stopped me and demanded to know my fuckin’ country of origin and, once divulged, my motherfuckin’ opinion about Donald fuckin’ Trump. He prognosticated that like Bush I, but unlike Bush Jr., Trump would fuckin’ be unseated on motherfuckin’ re-election day. He then asked whether I agreed with his motherfuckin’ prognostication, but didn’t wait for my goddam motherfucking reply; fuckin’ electing (har har) to steer the conversation in other fuckin’ directions instead. When it started to fuckin’ rain, he opened up his motherfuckin’ umbrella and indicated to me that I ought to do the same goddam fucking thing to my motherfuckin’ umbrella. As he was taking my leave, he shouted over his shoulder, “One-term President!” making me laugh out fucking loud, but then it turned out that Lauri hadn’t moved on to fuckin’ Sibu after all. Weird.
Ha ha ha ha — Lauri Ilves decepted this naughty motherfucker with a hollowed-out Papaya, giving him time to stash thee unused ones safely away inside his rucksack. Turns out, those thievin’ sons of bitches ain’t quite as wily as advertised!
Welcome to tha jungle.
Mother Nature will fuck…your dimpled ass…UP (in a good way), ain’t it? Funny thing is, though I received plenty of mosquito bites down at the (Bako National) park HQ area, I recorded nary a one out on the trails…
The tide went out earlier than expected this morning, so we were stranded at the park for several hours ’til it returned — enough time to hie our dimpled asses all up into a few more hikes. The last of which emerged, in point of fact, as my favourite of them all; so praise be to the Tide Gods, god dammit!
Last day in Kuching; I et/drunk: A great Coconut, a great Papaya, a great Rollinia, and…thee showstopping finale of my fortnight hereabouts — Durian In Black, fresh from the Borneo Highlands. O la la, that’s some quality degustation! While I can’t say that I grok Kuching quiiiite as readily as I do Penang, I am certainly reluctant to leave here.
Anecdote: The big-deal spanking-new tourist attraction in town is this pretty neat footbridge over the river; constructed in such a manner that it sways to and fro’ in the middle. At night, it lights up real purty and all. Anywho, after sunset I walked across there for old times’ sake, and just on the other side, sitting in the shadows on a concrete barrier thing, was a guy in a Batman suit and mask. Just sitting there doing nothing — no free hugs or anything. “Where are your shoes?” he asked me; and I’m thinking, “‘Where are my shoes?’ Why the fuck is your dimpled ass sitting here in a fully pleated Batman outfit, and you’re not even giving free hugs or anything? ‘Where are my fucking shoes?’??” Later, I passed by a bearded Britisher sitting on some steps polishing off a Durian and some Rambutans while some goofy meshugana Dutchman was busy lambasting him for not eating a steak.
And with that, I depart Kuching.
Fuckin’ tantalising five-hour passage from Kuching this morning. You know what I’m saying? It’s like fuckin’…tantalising — clippering through the South China Sea and then upriver here to Sibu and so forth. (In point of actual fact, I haven’t the foggiest clue what a Clipper ship is, or what differentiates one from, say, a Schooner, or a Galleon, or a Man-O’-War, or what have you. And I’m far too fucked up on Durians right now to try thinking back to those oodles of misspent hours during my youth with my dimpled ass sitting parked in front of the teevee screen, endlessly watching My Three Sons reruns from dawn ’til dusk, to try to clue meself in. But, “Clippering through the South China Sea” just sounds like something one ought to be doing in these parts, ain’t it?) Shit-howdy, maritime travel is so much better than the stagecoach bullshit — almost even as good as riding the rails, if I may say so.
Now, point me to the goddam Dabai!
Dabai! Dabai! Dabai! Dabai! Dabai! Dabai! Dabai! Dabai! Dabaaaaaaaai!
Tamboi — Borneo’s answer to the Mangosteen. Is tasty, but nowhere close to the transcendent experience that is Mangosteen feeding. Also, it’s even more expensive than Mangosteen. This Cempedak, on the other hand, represents pretty unbeatable value for money. At 15RM for the biji, it was almost too big for one hungry fruitlover — who’d just walked an hour in the sweltering heat to present at the market, no less — to eat in one go. Chocolatey, too! I’ve eaten lots of chocolatesque Durians, but can’t remember tasting it in Cempedak before now. I kind of turned away from Cempedak a few years ago, after having eaten one that didn’t sit so well. But after this one, and a very nice small one I chowed in Sibu the other day, I think I’m back in thee Cempedak fold.
Bintulu, like Sibu, is all right, if kind of boring. The people are friendly, and the fruit is great — as is the shoreline access. Actually wouldn’t mind staying another day or two, but, there aren’t any dormitory-style accommodations in town, making it impossible to stick to my daily budget. So, locomoting one’s dimpled ass onward to Miri shall it be…
OH MY GAWD DURIANS TRUCK MIRI!! They’re perhaps a teeny tiny bit on the pricey side; but thee product here is of very, very, very high quality. As is the Dabai — the best I’ve tasted, in fact (and I think I’ve eaten Dabai every single day since arriving in Sarawak).
Also, the owner of the hostel has a friend whom owns a Kedongdong tree, and she (the hostelier, not the friend) shared them around with us. Now, the Scandinavian girls from my dorm are making up songs about Kedongdong. Yea! heavy and a bottle o’ fuckin’ bread, we doing it up big style here on the world’s third-largest island…
p.s. “Banning Of Styrofoam For Food Packaging Use” is my new favourite sentence in all of the English language. I do of course acknowledge that my visceral hatred of plastic and Styrofoam packaging isn’t quite consistent, considering the frequency with which I partake of aeroplane travel anymore. Nevertheless, ban that shit forevermore, say I!
Oh boy, can’t wait to fry me up some goddam Chicken By Product for supper tonight! Bitch, I can smell your envy from here…
The Thorn Birds. World’s champion Durianist, Miss Lindsay Gasik, has joined our merry little ruffian band here in Miri — meaning, natch, that our dimpled asses are now officially en fuego. Hear now our frightful call: From here on in, no Durian is safe from our probing eyes and attuned noses. We WILL find you. We WILL painstakingly asses your merits. And, oh yes, should you prove worthy, we WILL devour you forever.
Apparently Nana prefers to eat out…
Fucking Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Canistel AKA Eggfruit AKA “Avocado Cheese”, where in thee name o’ Jehova have you been all of my freaking ragamuffinin’ life?? It smells exactly like Pumpkin. I want to say it tastes like fruitcake; but the texture is more like chalk (if chalk were much softer). Yes, I do believe I am totally in lust with you, my cher Avocado Cheezey Cheese.
Difficult to imagine a more appropriate juxtaposition than this: The habitat destruction enabled by all the oil in those tankers’ hulls in the background is the very reason we’re reduced to trying to appreciate, in the foreground, artificial representations of the wildlife which once populated the area in abundance. They oughta put up a statue of a camera-toting, kebab-eating, plastic-disposing, shopping-mall-patronising, baby-having human person — our type is much more endangered than we know.
Ah, well, there are some nice views here, ain’t it?
Anybody tries convincing you that Chinesians and/or mannequins are not paragons of style, you tell them to FUCK their undimpled (not to mention uncultured) ass OFF, ain’t it?
Just so you know, should they ever decide to replace this with a Tugu Peringatan Triple Six, I’ma set up a permanent encampment here, and you won’t ever see me again (unless you were to come and visit, of course).
Every once a while, one finds oneself in a location of such pleasing mien that the humble passer-through would just as soon sit his/her dimpled ass down on thee floor, and remain there seated ’til the goddam cows come home — if not later. Kampung Tanjung Aru, here in KK, is one such a place.
What did it? ’twas the beautiful blue-green, whitecapped sea, unmarred by those ugly tanker ships visible further upcoast; ’twas the eerie, wind-whipped whistling sound permeating the area, ’twas the days-gone-by nostalgia evoked by the sight of the waves crashing through the houses’ stilts; ’twas the kids gaily splashing around in the roiling water; ’twas the exceptionally friendly locals, not the least bit uptight over seeing a shirtless/barefoot cracker wandering around their neighbourhood — just a few hundred metres from the mosque, no less; ’twas the freshness of the wind-blown air; ’twas the glory of the egret; ’twas the gathering clouds, readying themselves for their daily afternoon raindump; and like that. Natch, it was also thee complete and total absence of those nasty mean Malaysian annoyances, whose unrelenting presence daily causes homeboy to want to out with temper-tantrums untold. You heard right: Here be no motorcycles, no cigarette smoke, no mosquitos, no exhaust fumes, no sidewalkless roads or pedestrian detours to navigate through, and no construction noise. Fucking excellent days indeed!
“And it’s a quarter to four on the other side of the world…”
The northernmost point of Borneo Island. Probably, it wouldn’t be terrifically prudent to up and opine that it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever instructed my dimpled ass to visit. But I’m pretty sure I’ve never been as gobsmacked upon arriving in a given location. I mean, of course I expected it to be cool — but I wasn’t at all expecting…this. Shit-howdy!
Uh, and you also get miles-long stretches of nice, sandy, rubbish-free beaches from which to witness the gorgeous green bigwave ocean rolling by. AND it’s low season, so the place is almost totally deserted. AND there’s no loud, bumping music or loud, roaring longtail boats to harsh your naturevibe down. AND you can boop across the traffic-less street whenever you want and go tromping through the jungle (just be careful you don’t get your dimpled ass fricasseed by the local mosquito population).
The only problem is there’s no fruit around here, so I’ve gotta eat cooked food for a few days. There are plenty o’ Cocos to ease that particular pain with, at least. (N.B., the ol’ pictures-don’t-do-it-justice-alert is in FULL effect here.)
And just a FYI: There’s a Uruguayan girl staying at my same guest house who’s done Ayahuasca give-or-take one hundred times over the last six years. Oy, backpackers are the best!
A very, very, very, VERY thankful tip of thee hat to Michaela Krejcí for piquing my interest in this place. I’m already dreaming of someday returning for a longer stay — just gotta get hold of a bicycle to go finding some fruit stands with…
Locomoted my dimpled ass out to the Tip Of Borneo for already about the twenty dozenth time, found a rocky seat on the promontory, and rolled a Coconut into the sea. Having completed that particular labour, only one as-yet-unaccomplished goal now remains to be checked off of my life’s list — to wit, being selected to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at thee Grand Vizier’s Garden Party and busting out with “Hair O’ The Dog” instead. (A bit cliche, to be sure. But what can one do — our dreams choose us, and not the other way around, ain’t it?)
Yo, this spot, this Borneo tip, this very topmost jut of this very large island? It’s so compelling, so unknowable, so shot through with allure that I find myself desiring to while out the last and final tranche of my allotted born days right here in this very same place; just rolling Coconuts into the sea one after another after another until the man arrives to inform me that my terrestrial parking meter done got expired and it’s now time for me to skedaddle my dimpled ass from off of this most mortalest of coils. Got a few errands to run first, but then I’ll be back.
Last few snaps from thee Tip Of Borneo. Supersad to leave there, but, flight had already been booked, consarn it.
Here’s one for your I-knew-I-was-old-but-I-didn’t-know-I-was-THAT-old file:
Three of my guest house colleagues I had previously acquaintanced at the hostel here in KK — a German gent, a British gent, and a Uruguayan lady (she of the hundred hits of Ayahuasca). Had a lot of fun hanging out with them and all, and happened to mention that the British gent’s fl0wing, curly locks reminded me of Chris Cornell’s. Not only was the remark met with three pained stares of absolute blankness, but it took them a good three or four minutes’ coaching before they were able to correctly pronounce the word “Soundgarden”. Fuck, I’m old.
Since I know your dimpled asses will never be able to get to sleep until I give my KK fruit testimony, well, here it is…
This place is thee Papaya paradise of all time (at least that I’ve ever seen)! There are tonnes of ripe, quality, non-GMO fruits, from many different vendors, at very good prices, every single day from morning ’til late afternoon.
It’s right in the top tier for Coconuts — along with Makassar, Indonesia and Kampot, Cambodia. Great quality, quite good prices, conveniently located, vendors keep reliable hours. Nothing could be finer.
Watermelons — both red-fleshed and yellow- — are a bit on the pricey side, but are quite good and very consistent.
Cucumbers very sweet and very cheap.
Mangosteens are about four times what one would pay in Thailand, and the quality’s not as good; but the strike ratio is much better. And, god dammit all, it’s Mangosteen.
The only place I’ve ever seen Canistel, which is delicious and inexpensive. I’ve finally figured out what it tastes like, too — frickin’ very sweet Graham crackers (and the texture may best be compared to rather soft Graham crackers).
Mangos I never tried, ’cause they’re ten times the price as in Thailand. My first day in town, I (probably a bit haughtily, ’tis true) mentioned the fact to one of the vendors, and they all started making fun of me after that, calling me “Thailand Boy” and whatnot.
Bananas I never tried during my entire stay in Borneo! I always intended to, but there was so much other good shit on offer, I just…didn’t ever get around to it.
Best of all, the markets are close to the waterfront, so not only do you get to take your meals whilst basking in the marvelous view, but also can toss your leavings into the ocean without feeling guilty about fucking over their compostability when putting them into the goddam bin.
Great fruit, supercool hostel, fresh air, almost no motorcycles, pedestrian corridors…KK gets a pretty god damned big thumbup from yours truly.
Last photo from Borneo. Fuck’s sakes, I love it here…