Monday, June 28, 2010

Kuching, Malaysia

I arrived in Kuching after a miserable 15 hour bus ride. What made matters worse is that I became ill shortly after the bus departed for Kuching. My head hurt, my throat hurt, and my body just simply ached. I felt like death as the bus slowly transported me down along the coast of the country. I arrived in Kuching at 1:30am. And of course, the bus dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. I mean for God's sake, you just drove 15 hours, do you think it would be possible to drive a measly 20 extra minutes INTO town??? Seriously.

But seriously, he did not.

So as I exited the bus and retrieved my bag, still feeling sick as a dog, I found myself alone in the dark, desolate streets of the city. As it was quiet, I could hear the friction of the rocks beneath my shoes as I began walking. I saw a taxi driver parked in the distance. And as I approached him and told him where I wanted to go, he gave me the "I'm stranded and all alone in the ungodly hours of the morning, and is in no position to negotiate" price. He had the opportunity to do the right thing, to perform a deed that would have been returned to him twofold. But no, greed had consumed this man's soul. And that's why he'll continue to wait outside, all alone in the middle of nowhere with no customers. I didn't say one word, but simply turned around and began waking.

But to where?

As I approached the road again I panned left to right, right to left. I had no idea where I was.


I literally stood at the street for 5-10 minutes, gathering my thoughts while searching for the signs. A couple of cars would pass every few minutes or so, and the wind created by each passing vehicle would send littered pages of newspaper tumbling down the road.

My intuition was vising me NOT to walk down the main road, but to cross the street instead. So that's what I did. It was a bit disconcerting walking down the alley behind the vacant businesses. A dim street light casted a long shadow of me and my backpack as I slowly walked down the alley, passing a few onlookers who were sitting on the street smoking, gazing at me as if they hadn't seen a backpacker before on this side of the tracks. And as I approached the end of the street, out of nowhere an open cafe appeared before me, like an oasis in the middle of the desert.

One man was sitting outside, enjoying a smoke and a cup of tea. It couldn't have been clearer who I was suppose to speak to. So I approached the man and asked him if he spoke English.

"Eh . . . a little bit, " he responded.

"Okay, can you tell me where I am?" I asked him.

"Please, please. Take a seat," he told me, with a cigarette hanging off his lips while pointing to a chair. Afterwhich, he whipped out a phone with a GPS system.

"What the . . . ?" I thought. What are the chances.

When I told him where I wanted to go, he replied, "Ohhh . . . very far, very far."

"You wouldn't be heading in that direction would you?" I asked him, thinking I would take my chances.

"No," he said, as he put out his cigarette in the ash tray before letting out a puff of smoke, "but I can take you."

"You will?" I said, feeling ecstatic. "Hallelujah!"

"Sure. Come, come," he said to me, as he waved for me to follow him to his truck.

So I tossed my bag into the bed of his truck and hopped in.

I felt so tired and sick as he drove me to the hostel, that I felt as if I was floating along. My body at this point was running off of fumes. I had nothing left. Nothing.

I thanked him a million times after he dropped me off at the hostel. And I told him that he had some good karma heading his way. Damn good karma.

The 3 days I spent in Kuching I did . . . well, nothing. I really didn't feel well enough to do anything except a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. My friend, Remi, who I'd met in KK, gave me a list of things to see and do while here, as it's one of his favorite cities. But I didn't do any of them. I did, however, see that new Tom Cruise movie Knight and Day. And it only cost me $3. Nice. It's so flippin' cheap in Southeast Asia. I love it.

I had 22 well spent days in Borneo. I may not have seen as many attractions in Borneo as other people have, but I guarantee I had just as many great experiences, if not more. And I have many more adventures that await me just beyond the horizon.

[Singing] "This time tomorrow, where will I be...."


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