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Suddenly I made up my mind and took a short
vacation at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah state in
Malaysia. $B!!(BI was lured by an advertisement:
45,000 Jpyen, 5 days, flights+3 nights in
a deluxe class hotel with breakfasts. Actually
my expense finally went up to 60,000 yen
but still within the size of my budget.
This short vacation was triggered off by the coincidence, that the cherry blossoms in Tokyo started much earlier than normal average year, I live just next to these famous cherry blossom areas as "Chidorigahuchi Park" and "Yasukuni Shrine" and I have wished to escape from the "Ohanami uproar", and the schedule of the journey accurately fitted to my purpose.
The location of Kota Kinabalu is south-southwest
of Tokyo, 4,000km over the Philippines, northeast
end of Borneo Island.
This area of the world unfortunately happened
to meet the western civilization being colonized
either by the British Empire or by Kingdom
of the Netherlands. And there was a period
between the colonized era and the independence,
when Japanese Empire occupied the area.
Kota Kinabalu is situated slightly north of the equator (N.L.6 degree). It was the beginning of the dry season after the rainy season. The temperature was around 35 Celsius, not so terribly hot. But the sunrays were sharp. I felt a bunch of extra size needles pierced my skin through my shirt. A whitish or light colored shirt was useless. Fresh and fine promenades are possible only early morning before 9 am or after 6 pm. The very rich nature of Borneo/Kalimantan is famous. Orang Utan. Rafflesia flower. Mount Kinabalu. And a lot more. But this time my trip was just an impulsive 3 days without studied plan. I concentrated on snorkeling to enjoy the clear seawater.
There are a few small islands with very nice beaches. It takes 10 to 20 minutes by high-speed boat, taking 8 passengers, leaving from the town harbor. A return ticket costs 17 MR (Malaysian Ringits), 500 yen. When 8 passengers to a same direction gather, the boat departs. The same boat and same boatman fetches them back. For him one tour gives 4000 yen. The fetching time is not fixed but must be fixed. Therefore the passengers, American, German, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, very international community has to discuss and come to agreement. Democratic! On the boat each of us got a snorkel. I thought it was free but was not free. The rental fee was 20 MR, 600 yen.
The first activity on the island, it was Manucan Island, was to protect my weak urban skin from the strong sunrays. I carefully put the sunburn protection cream all over my body, wondering if the cream might pollute the nature. Today this sort of the cream is very effective. You can achieve a clear significant pattern of sunburned skin exactly the same pattern as you smeared the cream.
A real deep green jungle formed a background
and coulisses. Sparsely standing big trees
gave cool shadows on a nice soft grass field.
A white sand beach itself was not so wide.
The sea had rather steep bottom giving easy
steps for swimming depth. The water was very
clear and not so cool but not at all warm.
There were many different sorts, various
sized fish swimming among the coral reefs.
No fish is ugly, just beautiful. My bare
soles did neither feel burning on the sand
nor be stuck by the coral bottom. The beach
length was approximately 500m with a few
people. Good size. Ideal beach. I enjoyed
snorkeling for a half day. When I returned
back to the hotel, I really felt satisfied
and tired out. I took a shower. I screamed.
The lukewarm shower shocked me with a sharp
burning unbearable pain. But I was very careful
and thorough in my skin care against sun
burning. I was totally sun burned. Not my
back. Not my shoulders. I got damaged my
top, my occiput.