A roadtrip to Semporna : Semporna 1
   
  Other than the 30 minutes wait at reception to enquire about room availability, all else related to our one nite stay in Sandakan seems without any huge hassle. It was approaching the end of the week, the hotel was swarmed with staff from the Defence Ministry having a conference. It must have been something to do with the budgetting or finance folks from the ministry and not our lean, mean fighting men and women ... those at the hotel that day all looked rather pale and pudgie ... cubicle dwellers perhaps. Bean counters of the Defence Ministry.

We secured a suite ... a bare one at that ... not a single printed reading material in the room, decor was mostly on the sparse site. The staff at reception sounded rather surprised (perhaps annoyed) that we requested the day's English paper at 6pm. After a bit of dusting up from our lon drive, we headed downstairs ...
   
 
   
  First stop was the hotel bookstore ... "No! We do not carry any Sabah maps in our store!". Well, we won't be asking anywhere else then. A short walkabout around the pool and coffeehouse later Ali ended up with a small tub of Haagen Daz's Macadamia Nut ... that's all they have. A small house special electric blue cocktail later we packed up four packs of assorted sushi for a quiet dinner in front of the tv.

We went straight to bed after a our concise sushi sit down dinner. Nothing good on tv anyway ... all they had on Astro was the news and some Taiwanese meditation show.
   
 
   
  We got up promptly at 0700 am to pitter patter of warm coastal rain. It lasted for about half an hour. We had our breakfast (mostly rather uneventful and boring food ie. boiled sausage, mee goreng, nasi lemak, fruits, congee and assorted cakes and fruits). We checked out about a quarter past nine. Our approximate timing for the Sandakan-Tawau leg:

0900 Sabah Hotel.
0930 Crocodile Farm
1045 Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary.
1205 Lahad Datu.
1715 Tawau Heritage Hotel.
   
 
   
  We made it to the crocodile farm ... it must have been quite a place in it's heyday ... almost a forgotten relic now with dried up aquariums and totally obnoxious display arena, some filled with mangled Kinabatangan crocodiles. Most of the displays and pens were broken or in urgent need of repair. Plenty of crocodiles mucking about in really smelly mucky water.

The arapaima, koi and catfish ponds were rather nice ... we bought more than our share of pellets to feed the kois and the whiskered slimy residents of the catfish holding pen. We ended up buying quite a few packets of the pellets, by the time we realised it we know we were too late to make it to the 1000 am feeding time at Sepilok.

Yep, true enough by the time we reached Sepilok's Orang Utan information center, everybody else was just about ready to board their tour buses back to the hotel. Rats!!!

We decided to just drive on to Lahad Datu ... quite disappointed about not being able to see the orang utans though
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  The drive to Tawau was again mainly thru plantations with plenty of corners hugging the hillocks around the coast. Dodging massive lorries and road maintenance crew kept us awake all the way to Tawau.
   
 
   
 
We reached our destination around 1745 ... after stopping for 15 minutes in Kunak ... we did not quite stop in Kunak, we did a short detour into Kunak's really busy port/wet market and out again. Kunak looked to be abuzz with activity ... someone wrote that it was a sleepy town, they should drop by again for a second look, the road leading to the jetty was pack with cars, lorries and people ... the market was teeming with people.
   
 
   
  We checked in to our suite and just had enough time to change before we were called up for dinner by the gang.
   
 
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