Malaysia phone number

Hi Guys,

We are back to using our Malaysia SIM card with the same numbers we had before.

Ruth 0146739049                   Randal  0146739029

The country code is 60.

clip_image002  Our slip is A 44 but we have about 40 neighbors, many of them folks we know from Sail Indonesia.

  I’ll write up a blog mail with more photos.  Sungai Ringgit is the closest town and the marina offers a shuttle for about $2 per person round trip.  It’s where you buy your fruit and veggies.  Johor Bahru is the big town nearest us in Malaysia.  I’m hoping to find a dentist there for my chipped tooth and new glasses.  If not, it means a trip to Singapore with all of the cost and country changes that involves.  There is a clinic in the tiny town of Sungai Ringgit and there is a dentist there, but we’re not sure if that’s too iffy.  It would make the most sense though since it’s so close by.    We’ll see.

Won’t write more, have to save it for the blog.

Love Ru

blog mail

Hi Everyone,
  Email access has hit a new all time low.  No boat access and I can’t seem to attach any word documents to this internet cafe computer.  I have written up several about our time in Kumai learning about the orangutans, the rain forest and the modern day Dayak people.  Hopefully I will be able to send them before then end of the month when we will be at a marina  in Malaysia near Singapore.  No details here, sorry.
   My Red Sox are in a scary place but I haven’t given up hope!  Go Sox!
Belitung is a lovely little island.  People are welcoming, friendly and try to be helpful.  Randal and I did a school visit with our new friend Hairmardi who teaches English and is also the  vice-principal,  We visited his home and met his wife and children.  They came to visit our boat.
   Have to run to catch the bus back for the 40 minute ride to our anchorage.
ps Thanks for the Birthday Greetings.  I had to go up on stage at a Sail Indonesia event and have everyone sing for me!  Hairmardi’s students sang for me to so they would have to use their English


October 7th 9:40 am  Kumai River, Kalimantan, Indonesia, Borneo  02′ 44.566 S   111′ 43.917 E

Just finished three loads of laundry and shrinking 500 photos.  And I deleted a bunch so you can imagine how many I took.    The overwhelming theme of our 2 adventures combined is the destruction of the rain forest.  The orangutan conservation area is one small part that is being saved.  The orangutans we saw live in their jungle, but it’s hard to believe that they haven’t been changed by their contact with humans.  It is like seeing them in a huge zoo.  The proboscis monkeys won’t interact with humans.  The gibbons did somewhat and the macaques also.  But when you get close to an orangutan, you feel the frustration of not being able to communicate.  Depending whom you read we share 95 or 98 % DNA with the orangutans so maybe they just are attracted to their human cousins.  I will start working on my real emails. 

We also went to see a native Dayak village.  It was a 3 hour bumpy ride through what once was rain forest and is now palm oil tree plantations as far as the eye can see.  ( And a 20 minute speed boat ride at the end.)   Also, small parts of the forest are burned down so rice fields can be planted.  The people in the Davak village chop down and burn the forest to plant rice.  They have to eat.  In this area of Borneo you can work for the logging companies and chop down the forest.  Or you can work for the gold mines and pollute the rivers with mercury.  The people in the Dayak village are poor but like everywhere, the kids seem happy and playful.  The old men seem happy.  The women work hard and the wife of our host never smiled.  The kids go to the small local school.  They are in the process of building a library with government money.  Our host is a teacher there.  He went to the local teacher training university in Pangkalan Bun.  We saw his 10 year old daughter reading and he said she was very smart.  Izzy, our orangutan guide and our Dayak guide translated between us and the villagers who spoke no English. Randal and I hosted (paid for) the traditional ceremony held in our host’s longhouse the evening we were there.  It is how the village makes money.  It was interesting, not too long, and Randal and I even took part as we danced the bird dance.   Randal was draped in a giant sarong and I looked more like a scare crow to scare away the birds with my arms stiffly out to the sides instead of gracefully floating in the symbolic breeze.  I was ok until I heard Izzy’s infectious giggles.  Then I almost lost it. Thankfully it was only almost.  Well they had made us drink a glass a rice wine in an early part of the ceremony during which they sprinkled rice in our hair and tied a traditional folded leaf bracelet to our wrist.  The whole experience was a mix of the ancient, recent past, and modern since they had a satellite dish and a cell phone, a generator for the night time electricity and a squat toilet installed for when guests come as well as a head hunter buried not far from their house.  Yes a real head hunter from their village so he still had his head.  Our host showed us his blow gun but not the magic arrows.  The blow gun was to protect the children from the head hunters who prized the heads of children.  Pretty much a thing of the past. 

Some thoughts

October 1  6:40 pm Kumai River    (Off tomorrow early for a 3 day trip up the river to Camp Leakey to see the orang utan conservation area.)

When we lived in China, Hong Kong, Subic, and Kota Kinabalu all for extended periods of time, it was easier to write emails because, mostly, days were uneventful. When something unusual happened, there was time to write about it because the next day was probably filled with routine, leaving lots of time to think about and write an email. I’m only now realizing the luxury of having enough time in one place. And even with the time we had, we both wish for more time in China, places in the Philippines, and Kota Kinabalu. I’d like more time in Hong Kong and Randal in Subic Bay. Now it seems as soon as we arrive, it’s time to go. Tana Toraja and Ubud definitely needed more than 3 days. And we hardly saw Makassar though we were anchored there 8 days. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed with sights and sounds. I guess I am having to become more selective about what I can share. Bits here and there; not long stories about kids and school visits and such. Sometimes, like special trips to places like Tana Toraja and Ubud and our up-coming orang utan conservation area visit, are so special they demand more time and space.

Added to the new anchorages we see, some on a daily basis, are the new Sail Indonesia participants we meet along the way. We cruised from Lovina to Kumai in the company of 5 other boats. During a night passage radio communications is very reassuring. Like when bikers warn each other about pot holes or gravel in the road ahead; cruisers warn each other about fish traps, towed barges and anything else not easily seen at night. It’s easier to interpret a radar screen if someone can say, “yes, those double bits of light are a barge being towed; it already passed us.” Or Peter, from The Southern Cross telling me it’s a squid boat fishing in one spot, so no need to wake Randal to ask what to do. Actually, though Peter was reassuring, when our radar said, DANGEROUS TARGET for the second time and it was within the mile radar ring of our boat, I did wake Randal. But my 3 am to 7 am watch I did completely on my own. The boat Tonic is cruising along too; that’s tonic spelled with a tilted cocktail glass replacing the i. There is also Just Jane, Saraoni, Sea Bunny, and Solan. Jo from Just Jane has the knack for saying the exact right thing. You can hear cruisers speaking to each other over the shared Indonesia Sail channel 77. It’s as if she has read, memorized, or possibly written, one of those “what to say on any occasion” books. Caught off guard or on the spur of the moment I might say something inappropriate, or hopefully just become catatonic in response. Jo says something clever, complementary, or just matter-of-fact. We will all be here on the Kumai River for about 10 days so hopefully I’ll get to know faces to put with the voices and names. I have met some of these people before. But having listened in on shared conversations, sometimes with us too, I have gotten to know them better.

It is now many days later and we have in fact gotten to know Peter and Kathryn from “The Southern Cross” and Jo and Arnold from “Just Jane”. They came for a Happy Hour(s) on DoraMac one evening last week. Really nice, friendly, interesting people; all Australians. All of us were about the same age, though Randal, at 60, was the oldest. Peter was in politics, though not a politician he was quick to point out, Kathryn worked with the people who had suffered brain injuries, Jo was a special ed teacher of emotionally challenged elementary age children and Arnold managed a company that dealt with electrical concerns. We tried to talk him into climbing our mast to fix the anchor light, but no luck! We talked cruising, boats, books, world politics….the time flew. We only knew bits and pieces of their stories when they left. Hopefully we will have more chances along the way for another Happy Hour. I did lend Kathryn a Jane Austen biography so I know we will meet up again. I hadn’t read it yet so couldn’t give it to her. But I did pass along eat pray love since I had read it and they had also been to Ubud. When I mentioned the library Kathryn gave Peter a “how did we miss it?” look. I told her I had already read about it so knew it was there to look for. It really isn’t on the list of tourist stops in any literature about Ubud.

They asked if we knew much about Australia and its politics. “No.” Though I did get some points for having read Jill Kerr Conway’s Road from Courain and had seen” A Town Like” Alice on Masterpiece Theatre. Crocodile Dundee gets you no points. I pled New England provincialism. If it wasn’t happening in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont or Massachusetts (eastern Mass that is) than I didn’t really know about it. Except for Viet Nam and Russia which I did study at U Mass. And the time I spent in Chicago. Aussies and Canadians either don’t see us as idealistic though (sometimes bumbling) do gooders trying to help the world’s people. They see us as having a nationalistic and economic agenda and basing our foreign policy on those principles. I don’t argue because how they see us comes from their Australian or Canadian view of the world. I guess I still believe someone has to stand up to tyrants. As everyone was leaving I asked about the name, “Just Jane”. I happen to like it; sounds like a Young Adult book title. Far from it!!! Joe and Arnold bought the boat already named by its original owner after a British stripper named Jane. She would take off her clothes and then it would be….just Jane! Since it’s bad luck to change a boat’s name, Just Jane it is still. The Southern Cross was named for the stars. Randal and I both called it Southern Comfort, much to Peter’s chagrin.

The little water front town of Kumai has little to offer but its warm friendliness and cute smiling waving kids yelling, “hello Mister!” Hello Mister!!! When Randal and I got separated on the main street while shopping for food (me) and hardware (Randal), the locals pointed the way I should go when they saw me looking around and around for him. The kids call out, teens call out and ask, “where are you going?” and the old people, shy, steal looks until I look back and smile and then they give a big smile in return. No beggars, no one trying to sell you something. We eat in the same restaurant every day, where the locals eat. Wash your hands first at the sink by the door, because that’s what the Muslim people do, get a plate, get your rice and point to the other food you want. My favorite is the corn fritter. Eat too much, pay very little.

And how ‘bout them Sox!! Going to the playoffs!!! We will be up the river on our way to the Urang Utan Conservation area when they start playing the LA Angeles. But I have done all I can do; bought lucky charms, made an offering to Neptune, and will even be wearing my red 2004 World Series socks when we start off tomorrow. The rest is up to Theo, Tito and the team.