Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Day at the Hot Springs of Poring

Today we took a taxi for 45 min to Poring Hot Springs. It was built by the Japanese during their occupation of Borneo during WWII. Besides the baths, there was a bit of hiking, as well as a canopy walk, a type of rope bridge supported high above the forest floor. It’s advertised as allowing you to see animals, but all we saw were variations on homo sapiens. At least the view between the trees was beautiful. The obnoxious Londoners behind us weren’t so pleasant. We also visited a butterfly farm, where I learned that Sayaka is afraid of caterpillars as well.

The hot springs were fun, although not really “Japanese-style” as advertised. Usually onsen are large, shallow baths with hot water running in from one end, and out a drain at the other. Poring’s were a series of clusters of four baths, about waist-deep and rather narrow, with a hot and cold tap. The hot water was gravity-fed, coming from two large pools located uphill. Hot water came out slowly, so to speed the process, there were hoses provided where you would run it from the neighboring bath to yours, so long as no one was using it. Even so, it took forever to get even a bit of water in, by which time we were suffocating from the steam. That’s when we went for a dip in the cool pool.

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