Thursday, August 20, 2009

Almost marooned in Borneo

KOTA KINABALU -- Dark clouds were approaching the harbor at noon today when I took a launch out to Sapi Island. I swam a bit in the warm water and watched exotic fish wiggle around the corral. (One irate fish attacked me, no doubt an escapee from the fish-chew-feet salon in Kuala Lumpur.)

The clouds overhead got darker, and thicker, then dumped rain. Then came lightening. Shuttle service to Kota Kinabalu was shut down because of the risk. Were we all about to die? And how long till Sally and Michaela, shopping for knick knacks in town, would notice my absence?

Naturally, I panicked, fearful I would spend the rest of my days semi-alone on a desert island, stranded in solitude but for several dozen Japanese, Australians and French, plus a small restaurant with cases of cookies, chocolate and ice cream. No matter, panic crawled up my spine like a poisonous crustacean (I've been reading cheap novels). I looked around for a volley ball which I could name Wilson, while I made plans for losing weight, growing a beard and preparing for "Castaway II: the Sunburned Edition."

Recalling survival training I took in high school, I kept calm, placed my clothes where they would dry, developed a strategy for making fire and cooking fish. And yes, I ate a chocolate bar.

With an hour, the storm had passed and I had not starved. I might have gained a pound. Even so, I faced down the THREAT of the IDEA of death. Attached is an image of Sapi Island.

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