Who doesn’t love a national holiday?! Certainly not the good people of Brunei who seem to have them every other week. You’ve also got to love the Sultan for spreading about the birthday cheer as a good many days off have been held in that very honour. Altogether now; “for he’s a jolly good fellow…”
With another long weekend on the horizon you and Hubs decide to head to Miri, a small town in Sarawak, Malaysia. It’s a 2 – 4 hour drive (depending on the queue at the border), close to plenty of attractions and most importantly of all; there are numerous restaurants and bars where they serve liquor.
Regrettably (for us) it seems a few others had the same idea and so as Hubs drives up to the crossing you find yourself at the wrong end of a 3.5 km long queue. It’s a tad tedious but you’ve done this before and this time you pee’d before you left (unlike some of the men at the roadside) and you brought snacks. The absolute worst thing about queuing is having to endure queue-jumpers and there are plenty of them about. They brazenly drive up the wrong side of the road and squeeze their monstrous pick-up trucks into a gap some too-slow driver has unwittingly left between bumpers A few come close to driving into the roadside trenches when avoiding oncoming vehicles but, alas, none come close enough. You and Hubs, well mostly you, take to honking the horn every time one of these hateful drivers passes but that’s no deterrent. Next time, you’re taking a paintball gun.
Once in Miri you check into the tired looking hotel, leaving the road rage behind. You’re planning on spending the weekend eating and drinking but Hubs, as usual, has more active plans. He’s been going through that Lonely Planet guide again (must put an end to that) and he’s found a nearby National Park, Lambir Hills. “OH but I haven’t got my trekking boots! WHAT A SHAME!” you say. That doesn’t put him off, “We’ll do the short 1K trek- it leads to a waterfall where you can swim!”. Admittedly the thought of swimming in a natural pool does have some appeal but you try getting out of it anyway “BUT it hasn’t RAINED so the waterfall will be DRY!” Obviously, he didn’t fall for that.
Thankfully the car park is pretty empty so at least you won’t have to endure too many tourists. Aren’t tourists just the worst? You pick up a map, find out where to start and head off.
You pass a small waterfall, definitely not deep enough for swimming and you almost feel smug. But that turns out not to be ‘the one’.
Annoyingly the mosquitoes in Miri seem to have developed resistance to your bug spray which means several pit stops to add another coat much to the amusement of the locals. Eventually you make it to ‘the one’, Latak Waterfall. And admittedly it is glorious. You make Hubs go in first to check how deep the water is. It’s deeper than it looks.
It’s (yet another) hot day and so you decide to join him, even though you’re not very good at treading water and you didn’t pack the lilo. You take a step into the water. It’s freezing. Another step, still freezing. Hubs comes over and takes you into the deep end. The water is ice cold. The current is surprisingly strong. Despite your hardest efforts to stay in one spot somehow your legs keep getting dragged across the no-swim line. “This is it” you think “This is how it ends for me”. Admittedly, as ways to die go, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque spot for the job but you cling on- to Hubs; and somehow you both manage to stay afloat. You even secretly enjoy it. Despite what you told him.