The Adventure of Chlöisu in Borneo Episode 1: Curious Klaus Arrives Kota Kinabalu!
Prior to Klaus’ arrival, we made arrangements with our business contact cum friends in KK, Auther and Wilson from Trekfinder Tours. Cycling addicts like Auther and Wilson who are both genuinely friendly and warm natured guys made all the necessary arrangements for the bikes, helmet and support vehicles to take us to Tuaran for a scenic ride through the tropical rainforest, passing through humble villages, small towns, suspension bridges and rubber plantation.
Klaus and Simon arrived Kota Kinabalu at around 8.45pm just a day before, and we set off on the adventure on Friday! We were also joined by another seasoned local cyclist Mr Alex Adam. Together with their years of experience in the Kota Kinabalu region, we were sure that we were going for a great cycling adventure!
When Friday came, Klaus adapted very well with the heat and the adventurous Chlöisu was up for the challenge. As we begin pedaling through the villages, the locals automagically waved their hands as a sign of welcome. Having the first encounter with the locals there, Chlöisu was impressed with such humbleness and friendliness the locals had to offer.
It was not long before we entered the jungle that we came across a primary school. At that point the students were just about to resume their class after their morning break, but this did not stop them from saying “Hello! Hello! Orang Putih how are you?” Klaus turned to Simon and asked “orang putih, was isch das(what is that in German)?”
Having been in Malaysia long enough now, Simon was confident to explain that the locals refers to white men and women in Malay as “orang putih” or “mat salleh” or in Cantonese as “gwai lo”. “Ahhhh” goes Klaus understanding the new local terminologies for white men.
He was also curious about the education settings in Borneo and wanted to see more. With Auther’s tactful negotiation skills we were allowed into the school compounds to take some pictures. I realized that kids all over the world are the same. They are always genuinely excited when they have people visiting them.
Huge grin plastered across their faces. Loving the attention of us observing what they do in school. Our presence there proved to be a distraction for the kids who were about to start their lesson and their “Mr Potato” look alike teacher was getting rather agitated and so we left after snapping a few photos.
The trail took us to outskirt of a rainforest before approaching the rubber plantation. As we cycled on the dirt road going through a few narrow uphill and descending to be cooled down by the generous on-coming wind, our wheels found its way to the middle of the rubber plantation. Klaus started to crinkle his nose and tried to figure out what was that pungent salted fish like smell! Realizing this funny facial expression, Auther and Wilson was quick to explain that this was the smell of rubber or how the local refers to it as “the smell of money!” because the plant contributes the economic wellbeing of the country.
We continued pedaling and right smack in the middle of the jungle it started pouring with no mercy! Considering that the weather was hot and we were sweating out guts out earlier, the heavy rain was surprisingly rather pleasant and helped cool us fairly quickly. Though it rained heavily, it did not last long, but long enough to drench us from top to toe! As soon at the rain stopped, the air was powered by the beautiful scent of wet earth and foliage, and on the saddles we pedaled through muddy dirt that made its marks on our ankles, faces and cycling gears – after all what is an adventure without getting dirty right?
I think it was the company that we were with plus the picturesque view, the 20km ride or so seemed to past quickly. Before we know it we were exiting out of the jungle to the main road! Auther asked Klaus “Päpu are you ok? Welcome back to civilization!” Still craving for more adrenaline rush, Auther and Wilson took us to cycle on the narrow, wooden suspension bridges, much to Klaus’ delight. It was surely a balancing act, some succeeded. Some (like me) decided to take it easy by hoping off the saddles and pushed my bike across the bridge. After all we were there the same time as the school ended and it was in my best intentions not to cause long queue on the hanging bridge!
As we burned the calories for the past few hours, hunger started to creep. My stomach started growling like an angry tiger deprived of food for weeks. I needed my carbohydrates! “Being a typical Asian” as Simon says, I needed rice or noodles! I looked at Klaus and I think he could use some energy replacement too!
We told Auther and Wilson that we wanted something very local not seafood as we were saving that for dinner with my dad later that night. So they took us to one of the local joints that sold yummylicious Tuaran Noodles aka Mee Tuaran. The Mee Tuaran is one of the famous hawker dish in Sabah served with soup or fried. It is known for its noodles that is made from the batter of egg yolk and flour. Ahhh what a way to gain back those calories! We topped that up with “kopi susu ais” which is Sabah’s local Tenum coffee mixed with condensed milk and ice. Pure bliss after the 30km of riding the two wheels. As I turned to see Klaus at the other end of the table, I caught him slowly drifting into la la land. The jetlag kicked in again!
Ps: Special thanks to Auther & Wilson from Trekfinder Tours for the cycling adventure in Tuaran!!! You guys rock!!!
The Borneo Eco Ride is a 10 days tour that begins in quaint town of Sandakan and ends in the gorgeous island of Mabul. The cycling tour under Borneo Eco Ride goes beyond the wheels, as it includes other activities such as river cruise, trekking and snorkeling. Whether you cycle with family members, friends or with a group of other individuals of the same interest, the Borneo Eco Ride gives you the opportunity to discover and appreciate the beauty of Borneo Sabah while you hit the pedals.