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An international career change

I think it was the moment I heard the announcement aboard Royal Brunei Airlines flight BI0098 telling us that our plane was about to be blessed before take off that I began to concern myself with some of the potential issues arising from moving to a Muslim country for a minimum of a 2 year contract. I had agonised over the conservative (some say strict) dress and social code of conduct, the ‘dry’ conditions rarely seen outside the Middle East, and the fact that every single person I spoke to seemed convinced that Brunei was located somewhere off the coast of Dubai, rather than its true location perched on the northern coast of Borneo.

Published in interchange

Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, is known for two main attractions that draw curious travelers to its shores. One, Kalimantan is Joseph Conrad country -- The land of rivers where his romantic stories of Lord Jim and Tom Lingard, Kaspar Almayer and Axel Heist, took place.  It was a much different Borneo in those days but there are still plaques everywhere telling visitors that they were standing where Lord Jim once stood.  The second appeal to visitors is that Kalimantan is also home to the only red-haired primates in the world. My interest in Kalimantan? Nothing against Joseph Conrad, but I went for the Orangutans.

Published in insight
Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Warm Heart of Borneo: Sarawak

Dense jungles, bats and blow-pipes. As our accidental party of four cheerfully unkempt backpackers and a quietly intrepid, forty-something Canadian couple travelled further up the Betang Rejang river and into the heart of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo’s southern province, this otherworldly combination gradually became an altogether more tangible reality. We had sped out of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, on an 80-seater catamaran which boasted a super powered air-conditioning and a steady loop of James Bond classics. Five hours later, we left the inland town of Sibuh on a vehicle older than Sean Connery himself. As the open sea changed from estuary to swirling brown river, rutted muddy tracks came into view. These jagged scars revealed the obvious presence of machinery in the previously untouched Malaysian jungles.

Published in indigenous

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