No, we did not see a real honey badger (Honig Dachs for my German readers) when we escaped to a much needed tropical vacation last week.
But yes, this vacation was a real honey badger in the money department.
You see, when you live in such a harsh and terribly, terribly cold climate, breathe polluted air day in and day out so that your clothes and hair reek of coal, and when all of life’s challenges and frustrations suddenly pile up (cue in noncooperative kids, well just one in our case) and nothing appears to work out as carefully planned long ago and then your host country narrowly misses financial default thanks to a last minute IMF bailout (bet you didn’t read about those news recently?), you, my friend, deserve a honey badger of a vacation to the tropics.
- Tropical island get-away in winter? Check.
- Splurging on a nice resort complete with awesome pool, beach, AND kids club? Double check.
- Bonus day trip to explore the jungle and animal life? Why not?
- Giving the kids the surprise of their life with a trip to Disneyland? Of course.
Do you see the pattern here? This was a very much deserved vacation all around.
First stop: Borneo, you know the biggest island in Asia (yes, it’s true – I looked it up). We stayed in the Northern Malaysian part of the island and did not once complain about our beach spot … well, except for the early morning arrival (4am, sigh) thanks to Mongolian airlines changing its original departure by 7 hours (I mentioned day-to-day challenges sometimes getting old here, right?). But who can complain when you wake up to this every day?
Other than soaking up much needed sun and warmth (fun fact, we came in 4 for 4 with sunburns despite using lots of sunscreen) and spending our days lounging, we opted for another early morning wake-up (yes that would be 4am…again) to take a short but very bumpy and at times alarming plane ride over the Bornean jungle to Sandankan. We visited the Sepilok Orang Utan rehabilitation center to see these creatures first hand as they roamed freely around their habitats. Major photo opp!
To round out our day trip, we chose to visit another native Bornean animal – the proboscis monkey. I will state it here publicly – endangered or not, these guys are not my friends. No, they are scary and mean – don’t let yourself be deceived by their silly looking noses or the fact that they can sit perfectly still and look completely cute and innocent. They will suddenly and with no obvious reason round up all their friends and take charge at you (well, just me and the kids….John seemed to have a sixth sense and stood further away) – just because we happened to be standing in their way. Yeah, that happened not once but twice. Let me tell you – the fight or fright reaction is very real…
And just when the kids thought they were having the time of their lives swimming and playing all day after spending a day learning about Bornean animals, we casually told them when they asked what we would be doing in Hong Kong on our way home that we would be spending a few days with two famous mice…it took about 30 minutes of explaining of what was to come….all of which was met with high pitched shrieks of giddiness and excitement!
Disney doesn’t come up a whole lot in our house. Sure the kids know about Mickey Mouse and watch the occasional movie and cartoon but we have never discussed that there is such a thing called Disneyland. Luca later told us that his friends talked about it at school but he never truly believed such a place existed …oh the bubble!
For one, neither John nor I ever had any intention of going to Disneyland as the crowds and the commercialisation of all things Disney (especially the princesses, good Lord don’t get me started on that….can we please teach our daughters to embrace things other than beauty and looks and waiting for Prince Charming???) as well as the costs seemed less than appealing.
But when it’s a honey badger sort of trip to begin with and when you live in such an isolated place that there are only very few direct flights that often have terrible, terrible lay-over times, you might as well add on a few nights in one of those cities and completely shock and awe your kids into complete and utter happiness. So, we “honey badgered” it by staying at the Disney resort and explored the park for 2 full days… happiness galore, complete with cotton candy, giant Mickey Mouse lollipops, pictures with princesses (sigh) and Mickey, and of course souvenirs in the form of iron man (seriously for Luca – his favourite ride) and a Minnie Mouse art case for the aspiring artist (sigh of relief; she does not want to become a princess).
And that’s a wrap of the “best vacation ever”(true quote from the kids). And in case you’re still curious about the honey badger, just search for “nasty honey badger” on youtube and enjoy learning about this ferocious creature that just takes whatever it thinks it deserves. Parental advisory – you might want to move the kids out of earshot first 🙂