A mum, dad and their three kids from Tasmania, go on an epic adventure in Borneo for 3 weeks in December

Permai, photography and the pitstop

After another wake-up at 5.14 by 7.30 we’re hanging out for food. Happiness at the open air beachside cafe. The all you can eat breakfast is nasi lemak which is coconut rice, roasted nuts, fried whitebait, boiled egg, sambal (chilli paste) skinless frankfurters (odd) sweet tea, sweet black coffee and juice Croissants and danishes also appeared. Mark is wary of the sambal suspecting it’s not fresh. Sambal can’t go off can it? He tells me that a 50/50 mix of the tea and coffee is called ‘chum’. I don’t tell him what we call chum but it has to do with shark fishing. I eat everything and feel happy being so close to nature.

We make plans to go fishing and ponder how deb would cope with 6 kids. I notice a squirrel in the tree with a delicate tail like a birds feather. Mark says now is the best time to hunt them because there is no breeze and they’re easier to spot.
Photography pissing competition.
Canon are hosting a photography competition so entrants are prowling everywhere jumping into and out of bushes. They swarm on the kids like paparazzi. If a photo of my kids wins I want royalties. In a way it’s a bit of a pissing competition with some guys sporting massive lenses. Then there’s the guys who are like “I’ll see your lens and raise you a massive tripod”. The losers have to slink aside and let the alpha photographer have first snap.

Down on the beach I feel my bowels mounting a high level evacuation. Was it the sambal or the fact that I’d eaten three times more food than normal for breakfast? I headed for the cabin and realized like the bride in Bridesmaids (watched it twice) I wasn’t going to make it. Fortunately there was a public toilet near the cafe. I ducked in. Seated, I noticed no toilet paper. Ha! Undeterred I reach for my Coles baby wipes. As I pull on the resealable flap I notice the hose that Deb said she never touches. I think “what the hell – you only live once”. I stash the wipes and reach for the hose, lean forward on the seat and reach behind. With the other I crank the tap …. this is good. This is very good. The cool spray irrigates my sphincter and really gets in there… I feel clean and fresh. I stand, shake off the drops and zip up. I am a new person.

A group of muslim women wander past for a swim. They wear full length bathers that cover their heads. I call them burkinis. They should catch on down under because I bet they’ll never have the misfortune of finding out what a melanoma is.

Shaven headed male and female monks walk slowly carrying umbrellas garbed in traditional brown robes over one shoulder and down to the ankle. A very practical color I muse. After watching the Last Airbender the kids reckon they could be the real deal. I ask to photograph one with Abbey. He agrees so I ask if he can step a few meters to his left but he declines. Ok I’ll just photograph you where you are then. I don’t suggest Abbey show him her air bending moves.

The kids swim alternately in the mountain freshwater infinity pool made by concreting rocks across a stream and body surf the South China Sea down at the second beach (named Beach 2). It always amazes me how children need so little to be entertained for hours outdoors.

Back at the beach the tide is coming in making the mud skippers mud skip. Like a cross between a lizard, frog and a fish they race across water and squat on rocks with beady Kermit eyes perched on top of their heads and gecko-like fingers. They look so comical and full of personality that I think their name doesn’t do them justice. I move closer for a pic but they take off and stay just out reach. I wish I had a bigger zoom lens. Suddenly I feel inadequate.


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