Have you ever heard of TravBuddy? It’s a thing where you can find out how much of the world you have been to by ticking the boxes of all the countries you’ve ever set foot in. Of course, what it doesn’t measure is how long you were there, the places you went while you were there, the amount of fun you had etc so it’s a bit of a weird statistic. I’d prefer to think about the cool things I have experienced, rather than which countries I have briefly set foot in.
That said, when the opportunity came to pop over to Borneo for three days I thought “It’ll be another Worthing Versus the World I can write” so I jumped at the chance. If you love strong opinions on a country, it’s culture and people based on 72 hours of exposure (including sleep) then read on.
1. Is the weather better than Brighton?
Regular viewers of this blog will be pleased to note that whilst pretty much everywhere scores highly on this one because everywhere is hot and sunny, Borneo wasn’t playing the game.
Drizzle was, if not the order of the day, certainly the order of the afternoon and it kept starting earlier as if to intentionally catch us out. Cheeky weather eh? The rest of the time it was really hot and the only thing to do was go swimming, which was nice.
A wise large woman once sang ‘Joy and pain, is like sunshine and rain’ which you could probably sing the other way around with similarly profound meaning – 6 points
2. Proximity of the sea
I’m lucky that I have family in Borneo who were lovely enough to let us stay (thank you Darrin and Sally), and even luckier that their place has a view of the sea. The sea gave us some lush sunsets, but the places where there might have been something a bit like a pier – bars on the beachfront – were being knocked down and rebuilt so we’ll have to check back in a couple of years.
We were super close to the sea, but with no pier it can only be – 6 points
3. Friendliness and attractiveness of the locals
On the first night we went for dinner on the seafront and we had a lovely waitress who earns Borneo points in the friendliness stakes but I have to dock some attractiveness marks for the moustache.
Elsewhere we found people nice – especially taxi drivers. The one that brought us from the airport was chuckling the whole way, which we thought was quite sweet until we realised it was because he was basically driving us 100 metres round the corner at which point we all went from chuckles to full on laughter. Maybe you had to be there. The driver that took us the other way had pimped his ride on the inside so it was just like a creme leather sofa from floor to ceiling. Actually including the ceiling. It was weird, but really comfortable.
Nice people all round, though I’m pre-emptively docking some points for the cheeky beer man you’ll hear about later – 7 points
4. Quality of food and local delicacies
Being so close to the seafront meant that we were close to the seafront market too. The seafront market had a range of eateries, the most exciting of which was the barbecued chicken. They stoked up the coals about lunchtime and I was always getting the smell in my schnoz and trying to think of an excuse to pop down there so I could wangle some chicken bits.
Proper nice, genuinely finger-lickin good chicken – 9 points
5. Availability and quality of ale
Check this out – it’s an ice bucket for a can of lager. What a great idea.
The chicken man sorted this out for us, and I thought he was doing us a pretty decent service until I realised he was going to a stall out of sight to get the beer then sticking it in one of his soft-drink cups with the ice and charging us double what he’d just bought it for. Fortunately, that still wasn’t too much so I decided to applaud his entrpeneurialism as I walked to the beer stall and bought direct.
I already deducted some points for this fella’s cheek and you can’t be tried for the same crime twice (except these days you can, but I’m not going to) so for the mini-ice-beer-bucket it’s – 8 points
In conclusion we had a great time in Borneo even though it was short. I would really love to go back and explore some more but I can only base this on our lazy three days in Kota Kinabalu. Even still, Borneo scores a thoroughly respectable 36 points.
You can see more about what we got up to in Borneo on The Travelling Mallorys.