Saturday, April 8, 2017

Borneo Day 4 - Mt Kinabalu

The cold and nasty weather lasted all night.  The wind howled so much we could hardly hear all the frogs calling.   So, when the alarm went off at 4:30AM, I think we were already awake.

We met the others and drove back to the Timpohon Gate to see what would be around when the sun came up.  We hung out a bit at the lookout just past the gate and could hear lots of birds calling.

But, the first critter to come into view was this cute little Bornean Black-banded Squirrel:
Bornean Black-banded Squirrel

Unfortunately, it was a little too tame and was looking for handouts that it obviously had gotten in the past.  Sorry little dude, you won't get any from us.

While we did see some new birds in the area, good photos were hard to come by except these.

Bornean Treepie:
Bornean Treepie

Temminck's Sunbird:
Temminck's Sunbird

After a nice buffet breakfast, we took a new hike up the hill from the park HQ.  It was a pretty hike with quite a bit of ups and downs.  Luckily, we had packed a walking stick which I needed to help out with my bad ankle.  Since I was moving slow and looking down a lot, I was the first to spot a leech.  We only saw a few during this hike which was good because our leech socks were still packed away in our luggage since we didn't know we would need them here.

I only have one photo to share from this hike.  It's of a Bornean Mountain Ground Squirrel that seemed to have a parasite of its own tagging along:
Bornean Mountain Ground Squirrel

We had time for another hike before lunch and this one was relatively flat along a small creek.  It was during this hike that we finally saw one of the Whitehead's trio.  It was a female Whitehead's Trogon and every jungle photo frustration came true when trying to take a picture of this bird.  Whether there were leaves in the way, or her head was blocked by a branch, or she would move right before taking the picture, I was lucky to come away with anything at all:

Whitehead's Trogon

Not long after seeing the Trogon, the rain came.  So, we high-tailed it to the Liwagu Restaurant for lunch and didn't get too wet.

Travel Tip:
The bathrooms are interesting in Borneo.  We had done enough research to know about eastern bathrooms (AKA the Squatty Potty) but thankfully we were able to find western toilets just about everywhere we went.  What we didn't realize is that they don't dry their hands.  At least, it didn't appear people did. The only paper available in bathrooms was toilet paper (if we were lucky) placed by the sinks in dispensers.  If you ever tried to dry your hands with cheap one ply toilet paper you know that's a losing battle.  But, it took me a while to realize this.  So, for the first few days I left the bathroom constantly picking small white TP blobs off my hands.  Eventually, I learned to just use my clothes.  It's a good thing I wore quick dry shirts and pants.

Our lunch stop today had both food and entertainment.  Most of us ordered the Chicken Satay because we knew it was good.  But, it wasn't a lot of food as previously mentioned.  So, Karen wanted some bread to go with it. Consequently, she asked the waitress for a baguette with it.  They have a baguette sandwich on the menu so this seemed like a reasonable request.  However, once again the language barrier reared up as the waitress got really confused thinking that Karen wanted the baguette sandwich too.  Things go more confusing when she described it as a "roll".  I think asking for "bread" would have been better but it was too late.  Suffice it to say we tried for 10 minutes to make this order and it wasn't working. Luckily, we were able to locate John and he came over to translate.  The great baguette fiasco of 2017 was over and we all got fed...eventually.

The afternoon activity was road walking for birds and we did see a few plus a Prevost Squirrel which was a new mammal for us.  But, the activity was cut short by fog and then rain.  So, the photo ops were few and far between.

I was able to get a picture of this fantastic looking Bornean Green Magpie.  It was one of the birds of the trip for me:
Bornean Green Magpie

It was soon after, during another downpour, that we all made bee-line for the van.  I was in such a hurry that I failed to duck sufficiently and banged my head super hard on the van door frame.  So hard in fact that I saw stars for a fraction of a second.  That hurt!  But, it did make me forget about my ankle for about a half hour.

The rest of the afternoon got rained out.  We did have another nice buffet dinner with the now requisite green cake dessert chaser.  After dinner, the bad weather continued and we just rested the rest of the evening which was fine with me since my ankle was swelling up now.   Today's home remedy was ice AND elevation which was about the best I was going to do under the circumstances.

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