Monthly archive for January 2010

Borneo Diaries Day 3

18/12/09 Kota Kinabalu and surrounding islands

It certainly does.


And also thus:

TOUT MAN: Hi Guys! Welcome to Pulau Mamutik! Can I interest you in a number of overpriced and strenuous activities? We have a special this month on ‘being dragged behind a large inflatable banana’.

US: No thanks.

TOUT MAN: You’re sure I can’t interest you in our world famous ‘put on this silly hat and walk on the seabed?’

US: No thanks, just gonna do some snorkelling (indicating gear hired for this purpose) and lounging on the beach.

TOUT MAN: Ah. Just snorkelling. Okay. No kite surfing?

US: Nope. Just snorkelling. And the aforementioned lounging.

TOUT MAN: Oh well. Maybe next time. The best snorkelling is over that way.

US: Thanks

TOUT MAN: Be careful of stone fish

US: Yeah we wi… what?

TOUT MAN: Stone fish. Be careful of those.

US: Stone fish? Like the ones that…

TOUT MAN: Yeah they’ll kill you. And  watch out for Jelly fish. It’s their breeding season right now.

US: …and Jelly fish. Got it.

TOUT MAN: And sharks. You PROBABLY won’t see those. Still.

US: Uh okay. So this way then?

TOUT MAN: Yep, that way. Take a brochure. Enjoy!

Actual dangers we weren’t warned of:

1. Monitor Lizards*

2. Skin Cancer

Fig 1. This exact thing happened to Sarah. Minus the dog and the inappropriateness.

*Okay, probably not very dangerous (unless you are a snail, small insect or crocodile’s egg.) But not to be trusted either. Wikipedia says they can count.

Borneo Diaries Day 2

17/12/09 – Singapore to Kota Kinabalu

Side effects from tetracyclines are not always common, but of particular note is possible photosensitive allergic reaction which increases the risk of sunburn under exposure to UV light from the sun or other sources. This may be of particular importance for those intending to take on vacations long-term doxycyline as a malaria prophylaxis.

They may cause stomach or bowel upsets, and rarely allergic reactions. Very rarely severe headache and vision problems may be signs of dangerous secondary intracranial hypertension also known as Pseudotumor cerebri.

Tetracyclines are teratogens due to the likelihood of causing teeth discolouration in the fetus as they develop in infancy. For this same reason, tetracyclines are contraindicated for use in children under 8 years of age. They are however safe to use in the first 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Some patients taking tetracyclines require medical supervision because they can cause steatosis and hepatotoxicity


Photo: Refurbishing sacred cows, Temple St Singapore.

Borneo Diaries Day 1


After passing the signs that said “SELAMAT DATANG!” (“Welcome!”) and WARNING DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW (“Warning death for drug traffickers under Singapore law”) I had the following delightful exchange at Singapore airport:

POLITE, SMILING MAN IN UNIFORM: Excuse me sir, could you please come with me?

ME: Sure.

PSMIU: Would you mind putting your bag on the xray machine.

ME: No problem.

PSMIU: Where have you come from today sir?

ME: Most recently? Uh Colombo, just for a stopover (apparently this is the wrong thing to say)

PSMIU: Ah. And you are aware that it is illegal to bring empty bullet casings into Singapore sir?

ME: Uh… okay.

PSMIU: Please put your bag on the table sir .

(I do so)

PSMIU: Do you have any bullet casings sir? Any knives or guns?

ME: Uh… n…

PSMIU: How long were you in Colombo for sir?

ME: About two hours? I got on the plane in Bahrain

(PSMIU gives me a quizzical look)

ME: …it’s in the Middle East (this is definitely the wrong thing to say)

PSMIU: Ah. Because as I said it is illegal to bring empty bullet casings into Singapore

ME: Okay

PSMIU: And guns

ME: Yes…

PSMIU: And knives.

ME: ….Okay. Because I don’t…

PSMIU: Okay? No bullet casings.

ME: Yes, sure but I don’t…

PSMIU: Just so you know. For next time. No bullet casings.

ME: yes of course…

PSMIU: Thank you sir! Welcome to Singapore!

ME: Uh, thanks, I… what?