Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
When I do not pose with sharks of SipadanI stay in Mabul, the neighboring island. I live in a "longhouse", a "long house" on stilts in the heart of the village.
A village full of life
The village of Mabul is a maze of huts on stilts made of badly trimmed sheets and planks of wood, a bit crado, with chickens and children running everywhere.
The place is rather miserable, but full of life.
The kids interrupt their games to cheerfully greet the passing tourists, "Hello! Hello!"they waved their hands, asked for photos, took the pose with their fingers extended.
And once again, I feel like the Queen of England visiting, waving to all these people I don't know. The adults greet you with a nod, a beaming smile.
The place is noisy, between the humming of the generators, the volume of the televisions pushed to the maximum, the cries of the kids, the roosters which cock-a-doodle-doo at full throat.
While the girls are washing or sweeping chores, the young guys meet at night at the volleyball court, where they play fierce games.
Some people are emboldened to ask me where I am going, when I cross the village to reach the resort of Borneo Diversbefore dinner time, to connect to the wifi. "Kalan, jalan...", I answer.
The magic formula still works. I go, I come, I walk, I walk.
Guesthouse on stilts
The comfort of my guesthouse, Arung Hayatt, is rustic, but it is nicer and less aseptic than the big chic resorts. And it is not only frequented by divers or western tourists.
A lot of Malaysians also come to spend a day or two in Mabul, and go down to these cheap longhouses.
I laugh with the children who jump into the water from the pontoon to impress the gallery, I sympathize with two young Malaysian women from Kuala Lumpur, who came to snorkel with their friends. Muslims and respectful of traditions, they swim without ever uncovering their legs or their heads!
But the atmosphere is tolerant and good-natured. And I gladly pose next to them, for their vacation photos, with my soaked hair, my wetsuit bottom and my bikini top. Funny contrast.
I am leaving Mabul tomorrow. I am a little sad to leave. It's that I begin to feel good here, after one week. Almost like home...