Burns Night 2015

A few months ago I was asked to give the reply from the lassies at Burns night. Dinner in the Hyatt was mentioned so naturally I agreed. It was as easy as it sounded to write the reply but I did my best.

For those night familiar, Burns night is an annual, international celebration of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. Poems are recited, songs are sung and general craic is had.In Seoul, we celebrated the night in the Hyatt Hotel.  We had a piper, Garret,  and the whisky was flowing so it was all very Scottish.

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A group of my friends came along and it was nice to be able to dress up and go out!

 

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In my research for the speech, I found Burns to be an interesting character. He fathered 12 children by 4 different women. He was so fascinated by women that he had couldn’t choose just one and had several relationships with different women. He credits the ladies with his abilities as a poet. He wrote some beautiful poetry, my favourite being;

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

 

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We were treated to an amazing address to the Haggis. I’ve seen this done 3 times now, but this was the first time I’ve seen a woman do it. She nailed it  and I think it added a bit of flavour to the Haggis!

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That was followed by some recitations and song singing.

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Eventually, it was battle of the sexes as the Toast to the lassies and Reply from the lassies were made. In the toast to the lassies, Scott had everyone in stitches as he quoted some amazing dating tips from koreadatingtips.com. Check out this link http://www.korea-dating-tips.com/how-to-talk-to-girls.html Super funny stuff.

After all the speeches it was off home. Great event made better by the people who were there.

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Kinabalu National Park.

Anyone who wants to climb Mt. Kinabalu will be heading to Kinabalu National Park. This trip, I had no interest in climbing it and Michelle had climbed it before but it being a UNESCO World Heritage site, we went to do some trekking.

There are two ways to get to the National Park, 1) Go with a tour and 2) Go by yourself. Tours were expensive so we decided to go there ourselves. To do that you must;

Get the bus to Ranau. One way will cost you about 20 rinngit. The bus driver will know where to let you off. You should know though that the Malay way is that the bus doesn’t leave until it’s full so the earlier the better.

The journey will take about 2 hours or so. From the road, walk up to the entrance and pay the entry fee of 15 rinngit. From there, you can go to the office and get a map of the trails. There are some wonderful trails of different lengths.

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Unfortunately, the day we went, it was lashing rain all day. We might as well have been swimming. At the end of the trail, there were no signs to indicate which way the main area was. Brilliant, it only took us about 10 minutes to decide that down hill was best.

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After some food, we headed back to get the bus back to the city. Unfortunately for us, there actually is NO BUS BACK TO THE CITY. You literally have to flag a bus down and jump in. It took us about 15 minutes before we succeeded but we did.

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All in all, if I were going back, I would rent a car. We were hoping to visit the canopy walk in the Park but from the main entrance, it was another 1 hour bus journey.

Kinabalu is a great tourist site but it still has to catch up on itself in terms of tourist conveniences.

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Kota Kinabalu- The islands

Kota Kinabalu is a great place to go island hopping. Just a quick boat ride from the jetty, you can make it to Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Gaya.

During my visit, I went to Manukan and Mamutik. My friend had visited Sapi and the lack of anything other than a beach meant that I didn’t go. We wanted to go to Gaya but the jetty there was seemingly under renovation so there were no boats.

All the islands are beautiful. On the bigger islands, you can go diving, snorkelling and sea walking. From the jetty, you can buy tickets for the individual islands or for a day island hopping. The islands are part of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park so you must pay a fee when entering. On a day island hopping, you just pay the fee once and show the ticket at each island.

Mamutik Island- We spent a few hours snorkelling here. It has a long beach with restaurant facilities so everything you need for a day of relaxation. Unfortunately, the fish were a little nibbly and kept biting at us so I wasn’t all that keen to go back. While there were a good number of people there, it wasn’t over crowded.

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Manukan- My favourite place. this is a resort island so possible to stay for a night or two. The beach here is a lot bigger that Mamutik and there is plenty to explore. The night before we went to the island, there was a terrible storm and as a result a lot of debris had washed up on the beach. The water was also quite murky so we had to go far out to get decent snorkelling conditions. We saw lots of different fish and coral. It was a lot quieter here also. You can go trekking on this island also.

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Tips for the islands;

1. Go early. The weather changes in the afternoon and it usually rains for a few hours so the morning is the best time for the islands.

2. Instead of going with a company, try negotiating the price with the locals. We got the return tickets for less than what a company was offering and they picked us up at the designated time. (The company we went with to the first island forgot us and left us waiting at the island for over an hour)

3. Bring snacks & water

4. The toilets on the islands are rough so bring your own supplies of tissue etc.