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Comers Corner
9th Apr 2017
Semporna

My alarm went off at 6.00am, and amazingly it wasn’t too difficult to drag myself out of bed.  I got myself organised, jumped in a taxi and got back to the bus station to find two bus companies touting for business. One was quoting me white person price, and the other were charging the price I had investigated. Three guesses which one I went for! 

It was a comfortable bus ride, and arrived in Semporna on time at 1pm.  The drive was initially very pretty with mountains rising in the distance, and as the journey continued so it flattened out to rolling hills covered with palm oil trees, interspersed with occasional wooden kompong houses. 

Semporna itself is an interesting town.  Still very local, it has a couple of blocks down on the seafront that are very geared towards tourism, with hotels, homestays and hostels on every corner.  Add in half a dozen restaurants, some with western food, and about a dozen diving businesses within these two blocks and you will get the picture.  Amongst it though is still a delightful local feel, especially with a Sunday market creeping it’s way in to the seafront area, up on to the main road, with fish, chicken, fruit and veg, and dozens of traders selling little hot chillies.  It had a very vibrant feel to it, but it wasn't very helpful when I was carrying my bags! To add to the chaos it had recently rained, the good old fashioned tropical rain storm, so there was water and consequently mud all over the place.

I found my homestay, which is more of a hostel to be honest, and relaxed for a couple of hours, before heading out to find my dive shop., conveniently only two blocks away.  Registering today means I don’t need to be there quite so early tomorrow, so I’m all paid up ready to go, and my equipment is sorted.  

I decided to go exploring, and do a bit of walking to ease my slightly tight muscles which hadn’t benefited from enforced sitting for six hours today, and yesterday evening, after my climb on Kinabalu.  An inevitable consequence of 8Km of steps up, and back down again.  Even so, on the whole they aren’t bad and it’s just the first couple of steps that are hard work!

I walked through the tow, passing a little mosque and play area.  I’d seen an area marked on the map which showed an intriguing pattern on the coast, so headed to see what it was.  It turned out to be a very local stilt village on the sea, with hundreds of little wooden homes.  From the response I received this is not an area used to seeing foreigners, but the locals were all very friendly, and I stopped at a small restaurant to have a cup of tea, where I found myself with an audience of a dozen children who were captivated by my being there.  I felt like the pied piper as I left, with a small trail of children following me back down the wooden walkways.  The sun was setting, so it was time to head back to my homestay and find some dinner.



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