Vacation vs. Mrs. Stockdale Part I I I . . .

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Try and guess which of the following signs Mrs. Stockdale did not read:

If you guessed that Mrs. Stockdale somehow managed to read ALL THREE signs and actually abide by their various rules and regulations, then congratulate yourself and Mrs. Stockdale.  We finally had an injury free vacation, to Borneo of all places.

Now, Borneo is not a country, it is just the name of the island.  If you consult your maptlas, Borneo is an island in the South China Sea that is East ( that is metric for right ) of Singapore on the equator.  Three countries claim portions of the island.  They are Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.  The Stockdales went to a city called Kota Kinabalu in the northern chunk of the island that belongs to Malaysia.

Just like our trip to Panama City/Phuket, going to Borneo/Kota Kinabalu isn’t that much different from going to Mexico Beach, Florida.  Not everyone has heard of it, not everyone knows precisely where it is, but you know there is a beach and you’re pretty sure there isn’t a war going on. 

The Stockdales actually had a reason to go to Kota Kinabalu.  That reason was the Borneo International Marathon.

First, let’s get the formalities out-of-the-way.  Guess you what get if you run the Borneo International Marathon?

Also, guess what you get if your spouse runs the Borneo International Half Marathon?

If you guessed tote bag, GUESS WHAT, you’re a winner! 

With that gag out of the way, Borneo isn’t all marathons and tote bags, it is so much more.  For example, orangutans.  There are only two places left in the world where orangutans live in the wild and Borneo is one of them.  So, just as if you were to go to Maine, all the gift shops sell cuddly stuffed lobster stuffed critters that your kids demand, in Borneo all the gift shops sell cuddly stuffed orangutans that your kids demand.

In addition to the cuddly stuffed variety of orangutans, our hotel actually had some real orangutans.  Whereas the elephants in Thailand were brought in daily for the show, in Borneo the primates actually have their own ‘rehabilitation center’ at the hotel. 


Basically, the hotel has a nature reserve on the property.  When an orangutan is rescued from captivity ( pet, poacher, etc. ) the animal is brought to the center and taught to readjust to the wild.  That, and they charge you to watch them feed it and hold it and for an ADDITIONAL fee, you child can become a ‘Ranger’ and they can clean the cages and ‘assist’ in the caring of animals.  ( Thankfully, you need to be 10 years old to qualify as a ‘Ranger’. )

Of course, after you see the orangutans, but before you run the marathon, there are other things you must experience in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.  Like sunsets.

The only reason this picture looks peaceful is because you can’t hear the little Stockdales screaming at each other.  They may look like they are about to hold hands in a sisterly embrace of warmth and harmony, but in reality the big little Stockdale and the middle little Stockdale are about to throw the crazy little Stockdale into the South China Sea where giant seamonsters will eat her brains.

And the local dress.

Where they put gobs of makeup on little Stockdales while unsuspecting parents sit at a dimly lit outdoor bar listening to John Denver covers played by three Malaysian guys dressed like Jimmy Buffet.

Until you wake up the following morning to the white sandy beaches with the crystal clear blue water.

Sorry, nothing funny here.  It was actually much whiter and sandier and clearer and bluer than it looks.

But, then there was the local cuisine:

Who could possibly understand why Procter & Gamble would sell the Pringles brand with such hit flavors as:  ‘Seaweed’, ‘Grilled Shrimp’, ‘Softshell Crab’, or ‘Blueberry and Hazelnut’?

So, congratulations to Mrs. Stockdale on her first injury free vacation since we arrived in Singapore exactly one year ago ( that is 52 weeks in metric ).   At some point in the near future I’ll put together a well thought out and educational essay covering our time overseas.  Or, I’ll drink too many overpriced cheap beers and type whatever happens to come to mind.

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