24 Oct - 26 Oct 2009 Kota Belud

Malaysian Borneo
Sabah aka Land Below the Wind
Bangunan Tai Seng, Lot 1 and 2, Peti Surat 41
KB Lodging House +6088972559
Clean and adequate double room with air-con and wifi for MYR 50.- or US$ 14.80 per night.
Fortified moonshine aka lihing for only MYR 7.- or US$ 2.- per 1.5-ltr bottle.

Friendly and helpful staff.

Click below for an interactive road map of the KB Lodging House in Kota Belud and for directions:
N 06° 21.36' E 116° 25.83'

Witnessing Sabah's striking racial, cultural and linguistic diversity at the Great Market aka tamu besar which is held annually in the quaint west-coast town of Kota Belud, the region's biggest open-air market where Bajau, Iranun, Kadazan, Dusun and Chinese farmers, fishermen and vendors offer their produce, originally a vehicle for seafaring coastal folks and lowland agricultural peoples to trade goods and make a living, and enjoying tremendously the wonderful folkloristic dance and music performances, above all the ratu sarempak, the traditional beauty contest for nubile young ladies.

Watching the Bajau horsemen, known as Cowboys of the East, parading on their beautifully adorned horses, extravagantly decorated with colourful fabrics and jingling bell collars, and displaying their artistic riding skills, a Wild-East experience with a Bornean twist, and, later on, cheering for the brave participants of the afternoon's unprotected climax, the risky bare-back water-buffalo race.

Matt: Bargaining in a remote corner of the tamu with seasoned Dusun women who were selling ripe betel nuts aka areca-palm nuts (Areca catechu) together with sirih leaves, secret spices, gambir paste and mineral lime, the later serves as a catalyst, chewing up my tailored bite together with a wad of locally grown tobacco (MYR 3.- or US$ 1.- for the fun package, complete with instructions), which together almost instantly turned into a thick, deep red paste between my gums and cheeks, and almost immediately getting stoned with a rather pleasant emotional amalgam which is only comparable with combining a double Scotch with a fine Amsterdam jolly and which lasted for more than half an hour; boy, oh boy!

Taking the public bas mini from Kota Belud back to Kota Kinabalu and paying MYR 8.- or US$ 2.40 per person; the same price, the same bus and the same driver as two days ago on our journey up north.

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