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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Accident Incident

We were involved in an early morning rush hour car accident in Island Park this morning. We were at a T-junction (approaching from the bottom of the T) wanting to turn left. As we made the turn, another car came from the left, driving on our side of the road (wanting to cut a long queue of cars). We hit the brakes to avoid a head-on collision, but this did not stop the car behind from hitting us from behind *mumble, grumble*.

[Our Warrior (Satria): Violated from behind...]

New Friends

We have new friends in the apartment.

Meet Sabrina, Kelly, Jeremy the Giraffe and the A&W Great Root Bear. Sabrina and Kelly were named after our recent trip to Sabah and KL. Thanks Mom for introducing them to us :o).

We were somewhat disappointed to learn that the name of the bear is Great Root Bear. What a name...! Think we'll call him AndreW.

[L to R: Jeremy, Kelly, Sabrina and AndreW]

Sabah The Thirteenth (Part 3)

On the fourth day of our stay in Sabah (18 May 2006), we rented a car and took a drive. Main destinaton: Kinabalu Park to see the highest peak in South East Asia. Along the way, we made a couple of interesting stops...

Stop 1: Tamu at Telipok
This is considered a 'small' tamu (compared to Kota Belud, which only opens on Sundays) but there was a good variety of things to see. After feasting our eyes, we decided to sample some local fare...

[Lepat Jagung from the Tamu at Telipok]

Stop 2: Tamparuli
Here, there's a fairly long suspension bridge across the river. A walk on it is certainly not for the faint-hearted!

[Bart on the bridge]

Main destination: Kinabalu Park

When we arrived, the weather was cloudy and the mountain top was hiding behind thick clouds. Somewhat disappointed, we drove on to visit the Poring Hot Springs, stopping on the way for lunch at Kundasang. This little town with temperate climate (like Camerons) offers a variety of flowers and vegetables. Fortunately or unfortunately, we had to wait out the rain at Poring so we only had time to see the hot water pools. (There's a waterfall nearby but requires some trekking...)

[Poring Hot Springs]

I think the rain must have been a blessing cos as we headed back, Dad suddenly noticed Kinabalu peak-ing out at us!! :-) Yippee!!! Our trip was not in vain after all... :-) After the customary photo shoots, we headed back for the city, stopping at Pekan Nabalu on the way to buy some pineapples (our guide the previous day told us pineapples here were sweet).

[Mount Kinabalu]

[Another view of the Roof of South East Asia]

[Pekan Nabalu Pineapples]

On our final day (19 May 2006), we took the opportunity to visit some places in KK which we couldn't get to on foot: The Sacred Heart Cathedral was gorgeous, the Tun Mustapa Building (Sabah Foundation Building) gave us a good view of the city and the islands beyond, and Tanjung Aru Beach was lovely.

After that, it was time to bid farewell to the Land Below the Wind... we shall return...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sabah The Thirteenth (Part 2)

The third day of our stay in Sabah (17 May 2006) saw us being picked up at 7am from our hotel on a 2-hour van ride southwest (again) to Beaufort (pronounced Bow-fort). What's this all about? Whitewater rafting on the Padas River. Woohoo!!

We arrived at Beaufort railway station at about 9.15am and we were told that we'll be catching the 10.00am train. This gave us some time to walk around the quiet town of Beaufort. Our train was delayed and we had little else to do except to observe curiously the way of the locals on the platform. This was time well spent.

[Chicken Fertiliser a.k.a. chicken feed Beaufort-style]

[Bus on rails: Our delayed train is similar to this one, as basic trains can get]

When our train finally arrived at about 10.30am, we started on a rustic train ride south which took us upstream. The train snaked along the Padas River, making its way into the interior of Sabah. Scenery along the way was quite charming. After about an hour, we made a 10-minute 'pit stop' at Rayoh Station. This was for us to keep our belongings as this would be the location where the rafting ends later.

After this, we had to endure another 30 minutes on the train before we arrived at Pangi Station, the starting point of our rafting expedition. The guides distributed life jackets, helmets and paddles (oars), and gave a briefing. There were some interesting rules and techniques to follow, e.g. about body rafting (when you're overboard) and how to use the paddles.

After the formalities, we were off!

[Our Raft]

[Here it comes... and...]

[Wooooo!!!! Hooooo!!!!]

We fought rapid after rapid, taking in the water and savouring every toss and turn the rapids made. They had funny names too like Cobra, Washing Machine, Scooby Doo, etc. There were instances when the raft was tossed so high, we could hardly paddle the water. There were other rafts on this trip and some even capsized (some done on purpose upon request :o)).

The rafting lasted about an hour, maybe more. The river was rather swift as it rained the night before. We exited the river at Rayoh Station and had a sumptuous lunch of barbecue chicken, roast lamb, sausages, fried rice, noodles, fruits, etc.

After lunch we caught the 2.30pm train from Rayoh Station back to Beaufort and from thereon a van back to Kota Kinabalu. Mom, Dad, Angie and I, we all had a really splashing of a good time. Woohoo!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sabah The Thirteenth (Part 1)

We finally conquered the only state we had not visited in Malaysia. From 15-19 May 2006 we completed our visit to all the thirteen states with a visit to The Land Below the Wind.

The trip started fairly eventfully with our flights being delayed. But since we were on holiday, we didn't really care :-) However, this meant we arrived later than expected and so our first day was simply sampling Sabah fare for dinner.

On our second day, we toured Kota Kinabalu City on foot. We visited the Filipino Market, the dry and wet markets, and a shopping complex (to look for souvenirs). We also stopped at the Sabah Tourism Office for information. Then we made our way up to Signal Hill via a short cut for a panoramic view of the city and nearby islands.

[Filipino Market: More of a handicraft centre now]

[Shark Fin: Available among many other types of dried seafood]

[Signal Hill: Panoramic view of the east-end of Kota Kinabalu City]

On the way down, we checked the time at Atkinson Clock Tower, and decided it was time for lunch. So we headed to a food court to sample more local cuisine.

[Seaweed Tempatations: Fancy some tampai-ampai?]

After lunch, we attended to some monkey business. We embarked on a guided tour which took us on a two-hour, fairly rough ride southwest to an area called Klias. After tea we boarded a boat that took us on a river safari (Sungai Teratak) in a mangrove. Task: spot the nose-y proboscis monkeys.

The first ruffle of the leaves... all in the boat craned their necks to see...a silver-haired langour (this is a rare creature as well - so it's a reward). The second ruffle of leaves...more craning of necks...several long-tailed macaques... *disappointment* The third ruffle...ah....we are third time's the proboscis!!!! But far away... how to see that nose??!!! Advice for future proboscis monkey watchers: bring a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens on your camera! Anyway, we did see some potbellies...

[Proboscis Monkey: Not all have the unique long nose... juveniles and females have short or pointed ones]

Moving on, dusk came. The egrets came home for the night. They actually make quite a spectacular sight roosting on the cotton in the tree.

[Birds of a feather, sleep together]

After a sumptuous dinner of seafood and pucuk paku *yum, yum :-P*, we headed back to the river to experience Christmas in May. We were not disappointed as the fire flies blinked their best for us. Then it was time to say goodbye to our wetland friends...

We were back at the hotel at around 2230hrs.

Dad In The News

Dad was in the newpapers today - the Star (North pullout). It reported on the welcoming ceremony for the distance learning undergraduates at USM Penang, highlighting the presence of 65 senior citizens. Dad was among the 65.

Dad, we're very proud of you. Wishing you all the best!

Please click here for the full article. If this link is no more valid for one reason or another in the future, please let us know.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Influenced by Influenza

No, we did not let an east european lady con us of our money or something like that but we were really knocked out by some mean bug.

I started feeling funny during the weekend of the 13-14 May but recovered to enjoy a nice holiday during the week. After our holiday, Angie caught the bug quite badly starting from 22 May (don't know if it was from me or from the holiday). She struggled for almost a week. Then, on the night of 26 May, I got the bug really badly and it lasted for a whole week. Was having 39.5C fever for a few days.

Finally, we are both, our (almost) normal selves, again.