There the adventures begin. Sarawak and adventures have been used interchangeably. If you were to travel outside Kuching and Miri, it is only on bizarre occasions that you escape the adventures of travelling through Borneo. Even when you think you are prepared, something is just beyond your control and things happen. And my trip to Bario is not without some adventures.
Days before we took the flight to Miri for a transit to Bario, we received a notification of Kuala Lumpur-Miri flight cancellation and that we had to take the next flight available at 10.30 am. The downside was we would miss our flight to Bario. MAS HQ handling the prized tickets informed us it was too last minute for her to request for change of date. The best we could do was to board the next available flight to Miri and arrange with Mas Wings staff at Miri airport.
My friend, Cik Pora (check her awesome blog here) and I did just that; accepting the fate of the missing flight connection and possible 5 days in Miri. We went to the counter as told. The staff told us the flight to Bario was fully booked for the next 2 days. We left the counter lost. Sitting at the nearest waiting area, we began to brainstorm for Plan B. As I had just scrolled the Skyscanner apps on my phone for Miri-Mulu flights, the Mas Wings staff summoned us back to the counter.
“I would do everything possible on my end to help you to go to Bario. But I have to weight you because the flight to Bario depends on the weight of all passengers and luggages.” Said the staff.
I mounted the huge weighing machine first with my backpack on the bag and a camera bag on my side. Everything came to 75.5kg. Cik Pora and her luggage, 70.0kg. After filing in the waiting list, we were given a hotel voucher with meals and taxi coupon. The staff asked us to be present at the airport at 8 am the next day. We left for Mega Hotel by 12.30pm. A shabby looking hotel in the middle of Miri town surprised us with a nice and large room.
By the time we finished eating and refreshed, it was already 2.30 pm. When I called a car rental services, I was told I could only get the car at 4.30 pm. It was a little too late as by 6 pm, Miri would get dark. We had no choice but to wander around town aimlessly. First, we went to Imperial Mall and Imperial Hotel. We ended up buying some clothes on promotion for the cold weather in Bario.
You have to eat Mee Kolok when in Sarawak.
When we saw a taxi waiting at the lobby, we spontaneously asked how much was the return fare to go to Canada Hill for sunset. The driver quoted RM35 for a round trip. He was willing to wait, he said. Desperate for something worthy to do, we agreed to pay for the price without making a bargain. I had been to Canada Hill before. But I did not notice the nice architecture of the Oil and Gas Museum against the blue sky. Maybe I didn’t bother to check the building the last time because it was too rushing and it was already dark when I arrived.
After Canada Hill, we made a stop in Bintang Mall to kill the time. I spotted few money changers at Bintang Mall, Miri. From Bintang Mall, we walked back to Mega Hotel and we passed by my favourite seafood restaurant, the Meng Chai Restaurant. We had an earlier rest right after we reached our hotel and prayed that we could make our way to Bario on the next day. We had to be there at 8 am.