In Transit – Day 1

Early morning international departures usually necessitate an overnight in Vancouver. After several years of spending the pre departure night off airport and having to catch a shuttle at 0 dark thirty – the last few trips have found me at the fairmont airport hotel. It can be pricey but here is the deal. Book the cheapest room you can at the property – i do that on points – and then ask for an upgrade when you check in. I got an upgrade to a fairmont gold room for $70 – top floor, run way/mountain view, with a complimentary members lounge that serves appetizers at dinner time and a breakfast from 6:30 am onwards. The evening appies included a lovely dim sum spread  – I ate well – and saved a ton on what the room and food would have cost booking it the usual way.

It is 18 hours now post departure with another 6 hours to go before I reach the transit hotel in Kuala Lumpur where I spend the night before the final push to Borneo. Tomorrow morning starts with another early wake  up call,  a train ride and  passport stamps before an early morning departure to Kuching.  The 14 + hours Cathay Pacific flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong went smoothly – good service, plane not too full and surprisingly good Chinese food. My premium economy seat was comfortable and it was nice to catch up on some movies – The Favourite and Green Book are both outstanding and well worth your time. The flight path into Hong Kong is stunning – directly over the city and on to the island where the airport is built.

Hong Kong airport is huge and never ceases to impress me re: how quickly and efficiently people are moved around. My own journey to my next gate at the other end of the airport involved multiple escalators, plus an underground train ride. All accomplished in under 15 minutes. 

A 28 hour travel day is now complete. We chased the sun most of the way but a glorious evening sky accompanied us during the last few hours of the flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Have found the transit hotel and ready for a rest. Temperatures are around 30 degrees 😀

Borneo

The unparalleled natural history plus the sweep of 50,000 years of world history over the island of Borneo has long fascinated me.  From the earliest inhabitants to later indigenous peoples such as the Dayaks – headhunters of fame – to the seesaw of Dutch, Spanish, American, British and Japanese attempts over the centuries to control the third largest island in the world and its rich natural resources – Borneo is an island shaped by many influences.  Located north of Australia and south of Vietnam and Cambodia it is at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia

Three countries make up the island of Borneo: Malaysia (the states of Sabah and Sarawak) and Brunei where I will be travelling and the country of Indonesia. 

This trip will not be spent at luxury resorts or in heavily travelled tourist areas. The focus is twofold: 1) to locate and photograph some of the rapidly disappearing unique wildlife on the Island and 2) to meet with and learn about the lives of some of the indigenous peoples of Borneo.

For those of you interested in following along with me here is a map of my journey.

 

Camera Equipment

Over the years many people have asked me about the camera and lenses I use. My trusted companion during my early travels was a Canon Rebel T3i – a wonderful light camera that I still carry with me. My current workhorse is a Canon EOS 7D Mark II. Although a heavy camera it is truly a remarkable piece of engineering. Changing lenses on the fly as circumstances change can get old and hard on equipment when in a boat or other wet conditions. After some research I settled on a Canon  EF-S 18-200 mm as an all purpose travel lens.

I was quite pleased with it in India and Mexico and used it 90% of the time. Although there is some distortion at 18-22 mm range, all in all it does the job well if one is restricted to a single lens and wildlife shots are not the main objective. On this trip My Canon EF 70-200 mm zoom will accompany me for wildlife,  as will my trusted 10-22 mm lens, unbeatable for landscape shots, which was one of my go to lenses in the Arctic.

I leave on Friday on a journey that will take 2 days to reach Kuching on the island of Borneo. I will be blogging (Internet dependent) with post notifications appearing on my Facebook Page. The blog can also be accessed at http://www.travelswithanne.ca   Looking forward to sharing the adventure with you!