Day 3 (July 3, 2007)
We encountered some difficulty making a decision. Well, we should be heading to Kota Merudu before continuing doing some more project visits around the district of Paitan on the next day. I couldn’t bring my car to covering such a long distance (local car bah). I could just park my car in Ranau but I just couldn’t imagine having to come all the way back to Ranau to take it. So, we split with the other group. They carrying on with the Kota Merudu plan while us driving back to Sandakan. We stopped for lunch in Telupid, and later for dinner in Sandakan. We invited another friend to join us for a steamboat dinner at a Golf Club Chinese restaurant. We were all tired so we made our outing a brief one. By 10.30pm, we were already on bed. Soooooo… tired wohh..
Day 4 (July 4, 2007)
Having done getting adventurous with the not-so-virgin rainforest in Ranau-Paitan, we were set to go on another journey. This time, to an island called Tetabuan located a 40-minutes of boat ride from the Beluran township. We were to meet up with the other group at a motel called The Legend (one of my favourite ‘perching’ spots on the East side of Sabah) where we would stay in for the night. The admin was expecting us when we got there. Somebody had booked two twin-bed rooms for the whole four of us. While waiting for the other group to turn up, we took some nap under the full swing of the air-con. Later in the evening, we went out to an adjacent restaurant overlooking the sea to get some fresh air. It was fully a restaurant during the day, but it’d turn into a karaoke in the night.
I happened to see the boat that we used when we got stuck for 18-hrs while doing a project visit a few weeks ago. I got some flashback in my head. That was real scary. Haha. It was almost dark when we returned to our room. We needed to get ready for dinner. By then, the other group had arrived. We returned to the restaurant, this time a table had already been prepared for us. I’d say, it was quite a fancy dinner. We talked mostly about our impending trip and how we were going to arrange it. Later on, we moved to another table where we could see the stage more clearly. Some of us had ordered beer, but I’d be too vulnerable to the prying eyes to take some alcohol, so I decided to order a glass of orange juice. Well, it turned into a happening place really. People were taking turn to sing and quite most of the time; somebody would dance on the stage. Some of the visitors seemed to be too drunk to stay around. People were still having fun when we left at about 12am. In fact, the karaoke was still on when I woke up to go to the toilet at about two in the morning. Jeez, don’t they sleep at all?
Day 5 (July 5, 2007)
We met up with the ‘participants’ over breakfast. We re-arranged our schedule and started off the day by traversing along the river of Beluran to a jetty built at a Muslim cemetery. It was a very old cemetery and I was told that a prominent pre-War leader called ‘Pengiran Sharif’ was buried there, along with some of his loyal followers. Well, there was something odd about the cemetery. I mean, I had some odd feeling when I first visited it before the jetty was rebuilt. But upon reaching there a second time, the jetty was built up in a quite striking color, casting out a new look and the odd feeling was no longer there. Flowing steadily sea-bound, Beluran river was believed to be once infested with wild crocs. Even though people could hardly see them nowadays, most of the local people still believe that a number of crocodiles were still there, hiding deep in its brownish murky water. I was shown a house where some of the best crocodile hunters in the whole state was residing. They were said to have been called in to the vast operation of capturing the famous “Bujang Senang” that killed a number of humans along the Rajang River in Sarawak. Of course, they failed in their venture since Bujang Senang had never been captured up until today.
So, off from the cemetery, we took a boat from the Beluran main jetty to a fishing village in Tetabuan Island. It was my third time there and I would say, there was something fascinating about the village that captured my attention ever since my first visit. People there had their own identity as a community living in ‘seclusion’, as though a world apart from other communities. They have their own leaders who have some unspoken power over the other residents. Some of them were known to put up a fight against each other to get any government-sponsored local projects to be implemented there.
Education-wise, they have a primary school which is located some 1 km from the village, and interconnected by a long wooden bridge, which ran through a beautiful stretch of swamp area. Jeez, traversing along the bridge is like walking through a vast display of flora and fauna. I missed going to that bridge this time, so I didn’t take any photo. I was there on a formal mode, so making my time to drop by the bridge would be quite questionable to the others, or so I thought. May be next time. The village itself is divided into two by a tiny bay. I could see that most of the grounds under the houses were covered by vast piles of cockles. The local people actually worked on them to get tiny pearls for commercial purposes.
After doing our things there, we bought a few kilos of prawns to be brought home, fresh from the sea. It was almost 1pm when we returned to Beluran jetty. There was another project to visit, so we were so eager to get over with it. We did that last one under the sweltering sun before cooling off over lunch at The Legend. Hmmm, it gotta be The Legend. Hehe. It was almost 2pm when we pulled out from there, and arrived at home in Sandakan at almost 5pm. Hmmm, had meant to see a doctor friend who was in Sandakan attending some conference but I was too tired to hang out. May be tomorrow..
A boat in the making..