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Wish you all a fantastic 2011!
May all your dreams come true! May the travel gods smile upon you! May your bikes take you places! May your cameras click wonderful images! May you live the life you always wanted to! May there be more leaves when you want to travel! 🙂
May your life be wonderful!!!
2010 through the rear-view mirror:
2010 to me was fantastic in terms of travel and photography!! Initially, I thought I would do a full fledged year review, but thought year reviews are too personal and hence wanted to save you the trouble of reading through yet another boring review.
So, I thought I will just list a few memorable moments of 2010.
The Nilgiris Laughing Thrush (also called Black chinned Laughing Thrush) is an endangered endemic bird found only in and around Nilgiris.
A noisy bird with a distinctive laughing call and striking features (black chin, sharp black beak, white brows, reddish brown feathers, etc), though relatively easier to hear (provided you are at the very few spots it is found at), is pretty tough to spot. It keeps mostly to thickets.. foraging for insects, fruits and nectar, esp at lower levels. And it moves alone most of the time, though other NLT’s might be foraging in the vicinity. Continue reading
I was in Melkote recently.
The time was 7pm and it was quite dark. I was at the top of the hill near the temple trying long-exposures of the landscape below.
Seeing me click pictures without flash in the dark, a perplexed passer-by approached me… with advice on photography.
“Light haakoli, kathleyalli enu baralla,” he said. [use light (flash).. else you wont get pictures in the dark]
I smiled and thanked him for his advice. He left, satisfied at the acceptance of his advice.
Okay folks! Time to wind up living in Borneo!
This is mostly a meta-post about previously written posts to give a better perspective of my trip. Also, I will try to cover a couple of things I haven’t spoken about yet.
First, thanks to the people who made this trip possible and a successful one.
- My wife who was pretty cool about me leaving her and going to an exotic location for 10 days
- Adarsh for being a wonderful companion and for all the painstaking research on Borneo
- The kind-hearted taxi driver who helped us at Kota Kinabalu
- Tong Ali, our amazing and friendly guide at Uncle Tan
- Lan, Olong and other friendly guys at Uncle Tan
- Yunus, our soft-spoken and gentle guide for the Mt Kinabalu climb
- Jenny, the energetic guide at Gunung Mulu
Here is a list of our sightings in Borneo (mostly at Uncle Tan’s, few at Mulu and Mt Kinabalu) .Thanks to Adarsh for sharing his list with me.
“Nann hesaru Basappa antha, illi thumba varushadindha iddinee (my name is Basappa, I’ve been here since many years)”, the Dasayya at the Kalyani (pond) in Melkote tells me, polishing his brass vessel with lemon.
Every morning, he comes to the Kalyani near the temple and performs religious tasks for devotees at a small fee. His day starts early… applying the Vishnu nama on his forehead, polishing his brass vessel and plate, cleaning the shanka (conch) and jagate (stick to hit the plate)… and then approaching devotees offering his service.
Living this way is the only thing he knows. Clearly, life for this Dasayya revolves around the temple. Before I could ask him more questions, ‘clients’ arrive and I thank him for his time and leave.
Am not a foodie! My experiments with food are… boring! Yet.. thought I will give you a quick idea of the food I had in Malaysia.
The collage above is numbered. Let me walk you through it.
‘Younus! How do you think we managed the climb?’
‘Hmmm… okay’, muttered our guide. More silence…..
‘Hmmm…. you guys took a lot of time’, he added.
‘Aaarghh! No, you are not supposed to speak like that in our video’, I told our honest guide!
A video for self glorification was being shot at the top of Mt Kinabalu at a height of 13400ft. What the guide just told in front of the camera was not exactly what we wanted the world to know.
“How much did the Borneo trip cost you?”
“How did you keep your expenses low?”
These are two questions many of my friends had asked me. This post is an attempt to answer these questions. I hope you find it useful too.
The 11 day trip (from Aug 27 evening flight to Sept 6 evening flight) cost me INR 52018.5 including the visa application, insurance and other expenses that I incurred even before starting the trip. You can download an excel sheet containing the entire list of expenses here.
Most of the planning was done by Adarsh Raju, my good friend. It was indeed his effort that really helped in keeping costs low at the same time not skipping on the good things that Borneo has to offer. So, all credit to him!
At first thought, it might appear not so cheap, but considering the number of things that we did, I think we did fairly well to keep things tight.
- 8 flights, 2 of which were international
- Kuala Lumpur (transit), Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu, Miri (transit) and Mulu covered
- Food, accommodation for all days including stay at places like Sutera lodge atop Mt Kinabalu, Gunung Mulu national park, Unce Tan adventures, etc
- climbing Mt Kinabalu, guide fee, permit
- 4 boat safaris
- 3 forest treks
- 4 cave explorations
- 1 canopy walk
- connecting travel (taxi, boat and bus rides)
- visa, travel insurance, trip related purchases
The flight expenses were INR 23992 and non-flight expenses were INR 28026.
The average cost of acquisition of a Malaysian Ringitt to me was 15.3 INR. Every MYR expense was converted to INR by multiplying by 15.3.
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Given below are a few reports that indicate the expenditure trend. Since the flight expenses are much higher than anything else and skew the report (one bar will be much higher than all of the rest), I have excluded the flight expenses.