When I landed in Borneo, I was oh so sad to find out that even a can of beer, usually hidden behind some soymilk in the fridge, can be found at the fewest shops here and always overpriced.
It’s not that I am not used to limited and expensive nightlife-supplies. Norway beats most countries at that, but I’ve become quite spoiled after spending three months in the country with the cheapest beer in the world (Vietnam). With the impression that Borneo is quite expensive, I had to put all my luxury habits aside, such as 3star hotels with air-conditioning, In order to survive on my monthly student-check.
After a couple of days, wandering the beautiful streets, taking photographs and cursing at all the ‘over-my-budget’ tours to see all the amazing things this Island has to offer, I got my biggest culture shock so far: A trip from Kuching city to Semenggho National Park, where you can see semi-wild Orangutangs, costs 2.60$ !! Thats the same as 4 under-the-counter beers here. Or 1/6 of a beer in Norway. How wild is that?
Fast forward, I left my cosy bunk bed, in the shared dorm with a fan and went straight to the park without any guide. The Orangutangs have been rescued, but later released into the wild ( national park, without fences, hence the name semi-wild). When food in the rain forest is scarce, they tend to return to a feeding spot in the park where they can grab some fruit which is laid out for them twice daily. This way people like me can find themselves with these creatures f2f.
How this experience can cost the same as two beers here, is just too far out for me to understand. One thing I know though, is that there’s definitely a lot more to do here that drink beer. I’m staying for a while.