Hitchhiker in Borneo

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In the middle of May, I went to Miri in Sarawak, Borneo Island.

It was 2.5 hours flight from KL and required the immigration to enter the islands even though I was not going out of Malaysia. I understood that Borneo was governed quite separately from Malay Peninsula. My purpose of visit to Miri was Borneo Jazz Festival, which took place in the city on the weekend of May. I remember that was the first weekend after the election(GE14), so we had like 5 public holiday in a row(since the new prime minister promised to have the next 2 days after the election as public holidays if his party won). At the time, the country was still very excited and shaken by the first ever political change, I felt. I was the one who got so excited too, though I am a foreigner here. Anyway, on that weekend, I went to visit Jazz Festival in Miri.

Borneo Island is a very huge island and has the area of which is almost as the twice size as Japan! The norther part of the island are Malaysia and Brunei, and the southern part is Indonesia. Yes, you have 3 countries in the island. Miri is the city located in the north beside the China-South Ocean. Going to Miri from KL was felt to me like going Okinawa from Tokyo. It also takes about 2.5 hour by flight and the difference of atmospheres are similar. Okinawa is a southern island in Japan. At the hotel in Miri, however, I saw the poster promoting the visit to Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan which is famous for snow and skiing.

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Borneo Jazz Festival took place at Copa-Cabana, which is located just by the sea. It was a beautiful place with great view of the ocean.

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The festival and music itself was “so-so” to me actually, but the sunset on the day was so beautiful that I got out of the venue to take photos with my smartphone…

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There is a Jazz club called “Motion Blue” in Yokohama, Japan. The venue in Miri, Copa-Cabana, seemed quite similar and reminded me of that. Motion blue is a very stylish live house located just next to the ocean. They have various local(Japanese) and international artists performing at the club.

After leaving the Jazz Festival, I visited the night market in Miri. It was very local and everything looked so nice(and cheap)! Here I just had some satays(as always).

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When I was walking in the market, I encountered one guy.

He was sitting on the street and putting some photos in front of him. I thought he was selling photos and asked him “what are you doing here?”. Then he said “nothing!”. So I asked again “how much are there photos?” and he answered “up to you”. Well, I see.

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This is the guy I met.

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He also had some card boards beside him like below.

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Wow, he is hitchhiking from Poland to Malaysia! Can you believe that?

I asked him how many cars he had hitchhiked so far, and he said “I was counting (the number of cars) at first but quit soon…”. I understand. So many, right? I was so impressed by his journey, but what’s more, I loved the way he decided to go for the journey.

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I love his comical drawings as well (so cute, isn’t it?).

“I was working for an insurance company and staying at the office all day… I wanted more life” he said. I understood his feelings because I was feeling the same way when I was working in Tokyo. I was busy working at the office just watching the display of computer. I wanted more life. I wanted to do something more human. Now I feel much better with my freelance jobs, but still busy sometimes. Thus, I respect how Kamil (the hitchhiker from Poland) quit his job and started his long adventurous journey.

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One lady came next to me and she bought a photo for 7 RM! Well, it is not a bad business.

The photos are taken at various cities in various countries on his journey. I looked at all the photos and took 2 of them. Which one? Of course the one he took in KL (in front of Petronas Twin Towers). And one more, the one he took in Johor Bharu. I will show these photos later on this post.

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Somehow he got local kids around him and played some game with them.

I asked him to write some messages on the other side of the photos and he wrote down some sentences for me. I will show them later, too.

On the next day, I walked around the city of Miri and went to Crocodile firm.

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Here, you can see a thousand of crocodiles. Thousand! Wow.

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Scary…

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No, it is not the world most dangerous bird.

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Who would swim?

Then, I went to Esplanade, the popular long beach.

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They are dancing Zumba with “Havana”.

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At the market on the beach, I was walking and found a photo under my foot. A lady cooking satay stepped on it, picked up and put it on the table. I was like “wait, this photo is…” and yes, it was Kamil. The hitchhiker from Poland I met the day before. Maybe somebody got the photo like I did and dropped or threw away? Anyway, I was like “wow, I see you again”. The photos also had the message written by Kamil to somebody who got the photo. Now I got 3 photos and still have them in my room.

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It was almost 3 months ago but I still remember this strange coincidence I experienced. Mr. Kamil, a hitchhiker in Borneo, thank you so much. I hope you had a good trip then.

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