Anyway, what have I been up to? On Wednesday (day two) I took the chance of the 'Cultural Evening' in the Tepi Laut restaurant. There I was, sitting on my lonesome with a plate of noodles and veg, miles away from the stage and a figure appeared at my side 'Would you like to join us? We've been given this huge table right by the stage...'but I jump ahead...
Back to Karen :-)
I met Karen on my first day when wandering on the beach - she and daughter Addie were playing in the sand and we got chatting - how glad I was to meet Karen, as I found out over the coming days.
Day two I pretty much lived in the pool - I love it, so easy for me to get in with arthritis and WARM - and reclined in the shade. And who should say hello in the pool, but Karen - this time with son Jacob. We caught up and she kindly suggested adventures for me. Not wanting to appear the clingy Brit, I chatted then swam off with nice words in my head.
For lunch I decided to ditch the Brit and enjoyed veggie vermicelli and spring rolls (using chopsticks of course) - so delicious and filling without being filling, if you know what I mean (nods to girlfriends).
More lazing by the pool people-watching...Mostly oriental, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and Antipodean (Aussie and Kiwi)...I have come to the conclusion I am the ONLY Brit here.
Day over, cue 'Cultural Evening' and feeling lonely at my little table for one with Black Dog already whispering,,,,and then a cheerful voice 'Would you like to join us? We've been given this huge table right by the stage...'
So I spent the evening with Karen, husband Nick and kiddies Addie and Jakey. The culture was fun - singing, dancing, blowpipes, and fire-eating, and so much more entertaining for being with someone to talk to and kids playing. I know I usually manage fine on my own, but I think Karen was sent to ease me into Borneo more gently than I was trying.
Day Two dawned and I was in a bad place. I had been awake until past 3am worrying and slept right through breakfast waking nauseous and sore, smothered in sandfly bites and burnt. I was so careful too - but the Malay sun got to me. Not really sure what to do, after a brief swim I retired to my room, and slept, drank water and slept some more. Black Dog was in his element, whispering how I deserved this, how stupid I could be to think I could do this, I was covered in bruises, even my face, I was all alone 7,000km from home and it was all my fault, I should act my age and not expect so much from life. I slept and cried, and slept some more
So,,,,day four has dawned....I was up for breakfast, and as I was choosing my danish a familiar cheery voice said 'How are you doing today?' Karen was back and I explained about the bad day, bites, burns etc. She directed me to the pharmacy, and the shop and was incredibly strong for me. And Jakey told me all about the animals he had seen on the nocturnal walk, stirring those desires in me again - the main reason I was here, animals. Spurred on by a decent breakfast I got antihistamines for my bites, calamine lotion for my burns, and new sun cream. I sat in reception for a long while reading and looking out over the China Sea reminding myself how lucky I was...as Black Dog slowly faded into the background again. I sorted my money, worked out local currency enough to give the right money in the shop and finally I stopped at the trips desk and booked my Jungle Walk and Nocturnal Walk (thanks Jacob x).
So now I sit here on room-rest - ordered by the pharmacist - and feeling much more positive about this adventure. The antihistamine is kicking in quickly, my a/c is on and my calamine lotion is already working...I sure don't look pretty but it is working!
And I have jungle time and animals to look forward to - tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...