We ventured way past Ranau on the road to Sandakan and found the Sabah Tea Gardens where we had a tour of the tea factory. I have never thought much about the contents of my teabag, apart from liberating the dregs over the side after use. I now know that the tea from this company is organic and contains no yellow dye , which is a common addition to less superior teas. Tea bags should only be dunked for 30 secs whereas leaf tea should be brewed for 5′. The top three leaves are picked by hand from the plant and after various drying processes ( the machinery is pretty ancient) it is packed ( by more recent machinery and ladies). We ajourned for for tea and scones at the very picturesque tea house. The tea was very nice but the scones were..well…green and a bit rocky. I will have to send then Catrinas recipe with lemonade.
The next stop was Poring Springs, which is part of the Mt Kinabalu Park. We skipped the smelly springs , though the pools looked quite inviting, quickly did the canopy walk. Any hope of seeing wildlife was dashed by the screaming of a petrified child. We then , luckily, exhausted by our 30 min walk, elected to stay in the park overnight there as it rained for 5 hours straight.
Today, we did an epic drive from Ranau across to the towns of Tambunan , Keningau, Tenom and down to the coast to Weston, a village on the Weston River. There were times when the mighty Perodua Kembara struggled to get out of first gear, especially with the 1/14 gradient over the Crocker Range, but it never gave up. The roads were pretty good and any missing bits were marked with a sign.
There we did a mangrove tour to see proboscis monkeys (5) at a great distance , and fireflies (lots).
Back to the boat and the ESSCOM briefing , tommorrow.