Monday July 11
Lea feeling much better today. We joined John and Kerryn for the day exploring KK and shopping with a hire car. Bombed out getting some replacement ducting for the starboard engine room. They had 6 and 8 inch but I need 7 inch. Tonic water has become a Rally Fleet currency as there was none to be found on Labuan so everyone was running short. We managed to find some and stock up.
We took the scenic route back, south and inland ending up in Papar for a delicious late lunch at a small Warung favoured by the locals. Not a word of English was spoken but we managed to get fed and watered well.
Back at the Marina for a 1km swim then back into town for dinner. Enjoyed an excellent Korean Restaurant on the waterfront with its own swing chair.
Tuesday July 12
Headed off early with the car to visit Kandasang War Memorial and Porung Hot Springs. Traffic was busy heading out of the city and almost at a standstill on the other side of the road coming in. Infrastructure is not quite keeping up with increasing affluence here and roads are choked as there are more cars than motorcycles. Lots of high density living on the outskirts with no public transport.
As we climbed higher into the hills we got our first glimpe of Mt Kinabalu with a halo of cloud around its middle. Finally found the War Memorial. We watched on video the moving 60 Minutes report on the Sandakan Death Marches done a few years ago. This filled us in on the history of the forced marches that only 6 Australians survived out of about 2000 Allied prisoners. It highlighted the cruelty of the Japanese and the tradgedy of wrong intel that meant a rescue mission by the Allied forces was aborted.
The Memorial itself has been rejuvenated and is now in lovely condition with 3 high walled, seperate gardens of rememberance for the Australian, British and locals that died as well as an honour board with the names of the dead. Most of them are now buried in the Labuan War Cemetery. There were also memorials to locals who had risked their lives to help the soldiers by giving food and hiding escapees. A very moving and saddening visit.
After a Roti Cheni and pancake for morning tea we headed off to the thermal springs. The complex surrounding the springs was built in 1965 and has been very well maintained and developed. The first hot pools are too hot to bathe in, so the water has been piped to a number of bath houses with individual tubs or small public pools to choose from. At the bottom of the park is a larger public pool with slides for the kids.
Going back through Ranai, Lea spotted the sign for the memorial to the last camp of the Sandakan Death Marches.
The weather closed in and the rain was very heavy for the drive back to the marina. We had hoped to check out some of the new buildings on the north side of KK which looked very impressive from a distance but time was getting on. We did admire this beautiful Mosque we drove passed.
We found the water filter shop in the Kurmungsung Complex. This place reminded us of Sim Lim Towers in Singapore with multiple stories of electrical shops. We got our filters and headed to the KK nightmarket for dinner. We enjoyed some great BBQ'ed chicken wings and Red Snapper.
Wednesday July 13
Today was our journey on the North Borneo Railway, a preserved and restored section of the old steam railway. We were collected by bus and driven to the station where we were met by our conducter who was dressed in true British Colonial style with Safari Jacket and Pith Helmet
Our locomotive was Vulcan 2-6-2 wood burner, one of the few still functioning in the world.
The journey was not far but were fed breakfast on the outbound trip and then lunch on the return.
We passed pre war houses and shop fronts, a forest reserve and mangroves. Also a large brickworks that is still operational and a 450m tunnel built in the early 1900's by the British.
The highlight stop was the Chinese Temple which was still incomplete.
A 90 minute stop in Papar while the train was turned around on the turntable.
Then back on the train for lunch served in individual Tiffin's, a stack of 4 SS containers with a lunch course in each.