Thursday, 23 February 2017

MIRI: The second largest city in Sarawak


Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak with a population of 230,000 people. It was founded in 1910 when the Royal Dutch Shell discovered oil in this area. It is located in the northeast of Sarawak just right next to Brunei in the north. I find the city very symmetrical and  a bit clean; just like Jesselton, except for the cleanliness.To me, Miri is much cleaner maybe due to the fact that they don't experienced massive influx of illegal immigrants.



The main economic revenue for Miri and Sarawak is petroleum, followed by timber and also tourism. Since 2014, the Malaysian currency had been depreciating and lately it was RM4.30 to USD1 and RM3.00 to B$1 and since then thousands of Bruneien had been flocking to Miri every week. That is why their shopping malls are also impressive (like the pictures above). Every month, the Bruneien will find the things in Miri getting cheaper and cheaper as the Malaysian currency depreciated without any end in sight. For Malaysian, especially for people like us from North Borneo; well! it is just like cities and towns around Malaysian Borneo.


Miri is the gateway to the famous Gunung Mulu National Park but it is very far away. A taxi driver told me, "why do you want to visit Miri? There is nothing much to see here." He told me he brings his family to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) every year because North Borneo (Sabah) to him is a sightseeing paradise. "The best place I can take you is the Luak Esplanade (picture above). The Hawaiian Beach used to be beautiful, but the sandy beach are now covered with scrapped metals and hardened cement!" So sad! What a nice name for a beach. At the Luak Esplanade, it was a trip worth it; because of the wide beach and wonderful sunset!



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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

PARAGLIDING IN EARLY 2017!


I felt that early February 2017 was the best time for paragliding. The temperature was cool; cold to some as it was 18 degree celcius. The wind speed was slightly strong, and despite the temperature being cold, there were numerous strong thermal waves boiling upward to help push the gliders higher. Example like the picture above. This is the highest point of the hill; the Paragliding Take Off Base, Kokol Hill near Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) at approximately 2800 feet above sea level. But yet the glider managed to fly two hundred feet above us with ease.




FLYING WILL SET YOU FREE! See Jesselton from the sky. My cousin, one of the paragliding pilot, Chris Lammert can also arrange to fly late in the evening to watch the sunset disappear over the horizon. I have flown three times with Chris and it was a wonderful experience. For more information, CONTACT ME AT donaldrosli@hotmail.com



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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

COLD SPELL IN NORTH BORNEO

Mount Kinabalu view from Paragliding Takeoff Base, Kokol Hill
Hello everyone! Sorry I had not blog for a long time. It was the early year and festival syndrome that I believe affected many people. We had Christmas at the end of December together with New Year Celebration, then everyone would be busy sending their kids to school by the first week of January and then came the Chinese New Year. So many people became dizzy with excitement because of all these. Anywhere.....

The view of the mountain (the picture above) was fantastically clear. It would be easy to conclude that this day, on February 8, 2017 would be a hot and sunny day. Many expected I would be sweating profusely. Wrong! It was very cold; cool to some. My cousin, Chris Lammert, the paragliding tandem pilot checked on his gadget and it shows the temperature was 18 degree celsius!

Watching the paragliders flying away with cold wind blowing into our faces
 According to the North Borneo (Sabah) Meteorological Department, it is a normal phenomena for February to be cold because of the east monsoon and this will continue until the month of March. In Mount Kinabalu, I was informed that pool of water became frozen as the temperature dropped to zero degree celsius! Some places in the interior of North Borneo such as Keningau experienced temperature as low as 11 degree celsius! Wow! That is cold.

 
In the afternoon, I rushed down to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) to play golf at Sabah Golf and Country Club (SGCC). I thought it was going to be hot and humid. I was wrong. It was cool and pleasant. It was more relaxing if we happened to be under the shade. How I wish we could experience this sort of weather all year round. I think the Meteorological Department was wrong when they said we will be experiencing this coolness every February. I don't remember last February (2016) being cool. Nor was the year before. But I do remember it was very cold when we played football back in February 1977. If that is so, it is unfortunate it has to happen once in every 40 years!




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Thursday, 12 January 2017

COWBOY TOWN OF BORNEO (Part 2)


A few walks away from the "cowboy saloon" of Sabandar, we witnessed a 360 degree change of scenery but nevertheless very impressive; walkways into the mangrove jungle! The view here is definitely breathtaking! Colossal trees so tall and massive roots exposed because of the low tide in this mangrove swarm.

Gateway to mangrove paradise





Young and old enjoying the view here
Looking at all this, I am very happy yet worried. There is a golf resort in Tawau that used to have thick virgin jungle all around the course. It was one of the most beautiful golf course at that time. I vowed to come back and play there again. But when I came back, I was horrified when they chopped off all the huge trees and planted oil palm! The same thing could happen here. They protected these mangrove trees and make it beautiful initially just to get hold on this property. Once they got hold on it and it is legally theirs; suddenly they chopped off all these trees and build concrete jungle! That's my worry. But at this moment, it is really beautiful out here.

Mangrove is an important part of the ecosystem. It protected the beachfront from erosion, and in certain countries against the destructive tsunami and cyclone. Mangrove jungle provide homes for several species of plants and animals; for example the Proboscis Monkey which can only be found in Borneo, live exclusively in mangrove wetland. Mangrove is also a breeding ground for many species of marine life.  


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Sunday, 8 January 2017

COWBOY TOWN OF BORNEO! (Part One)


My sister, Liza told me about a "cowboy town" in Sabandar, Tuaran, which is about 45 minutes drive to the north from the North Borneo (Sabah) capital, Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu). She told me it was a wonderful experience visiting this place. I was excited and made plan to see this "town" for myself. I have never been here, and it took some time for me to find it. Finally, I found the place at last, and indeed it was magnificent! If the place were swarmed by Caucasians, I could have sworn I am in Nashville, Tennessee! 


I was told foreign investors were the one that set up this place. I tried to find out more about this place in the internet, but didn't find any information. I think this place is very new. I also believe the reason why they built it here was because of its proximity to the Tambalang Horse Race Course just about a mile away. Besides Kota Belud, which is the capital for the "Cowboys of the East" is also close by.


But what was interesting were the horses. All are "horses" and not ponies! We are used to seeing the short stumpy ponies called Kuda Padi, which were rode by the "Cowboys of the East", the Bajau horsemen. When I was a teenager, I had learned that ponies is a stubborn stallion while "horses" are more docile and obedient. This was the first time I saw horses very close and indeed they are massive! 


I agree; since this place is very close to Tambalang Horse Race Course and also Kota Belud, home to the Bajau horsemen, it is then proper to build this Cowboy Town here. But there is another place, where a "town" like this should be built; and it is more relevant. She had a rich history to back herself up if efforts were made to build another Cowboy Town. She is called ELLENA (now known as Kimanis) a forgotten place 45 minutes drive to the south from Jesselton. What is worrying, this place will be turned into another concrete jungle in future. So it is expedient that we save this place see SAVING ELLENA and turn it into something like the SABANDAR COWBOY TOWN.




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Sunday, 1 January 2017

WELCOME 2017!


THE FIRST DAYBREAK OF 2017! What a wonderful sight to see the sunrise over Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) here at the Likas Sport Complex. The sun ray producing colorful view in the east, as the light hit thin particles of the morning air.

I have never experienced exercising early in the morning; but today, on January 1, 2017 it will be my new resolution. I promised myself not to waste time early in the morning and one of the way to make full use of it is by exercising. Right? Well! The question is; can we carry it through? Our resolution? I myself had pledged resolutions after resolutions for every new year that came. But it seems many of it were too difficult to fulfill.

One Borneo Shopping Mall
Anywhere! We are still in the holiday mood and what better ways than going for window shopping! As I mentioned before, there are many big malls in Jesselton, and the city is bustling with tourists especially from our Asian neighbors. The Malaysian Ringgit had depreciated so much and at this moment Jesselton and other Malaysian cities and towns became a shopping paradise.

So Happy Holidays to all of you and may 2017 bring better opportunities! 

Friday, 30 December 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR (Part 2)


In January 2016, I wrote on my blog post titled North Borneo: Shopping Paradise, that North Borneo was indeed a shopping paradise because of the depreciation of the Malaysian currency. At that time, it was USD1 to RM4.20 and tourists would be so happy with such a cheap currency in a place where so much can be offered.


North Borneo have so many wonderful places to visit. We have nice beaches, beautiful islands, fantastic hills and mountains and unique multiracial cultures; but haphazardly packaged and offered to visitors. More efforts should have been done by the government to make North Borneo attractive; like beautifying and protecting the environments. Nevertheless, our currency are now hovering around USD1 to RM4.40, and it should be a good opportunity for tourists to shop around in North Borneo capital, Jesselton.


Our currency also depreciated against the Singapore and Brunei dollars. Since Malaysian Borneo (North Borneo and Sarawak) are both bordered to Brunei, thousands of Bruneien recently flocked to towns and cities of these two territories; taking advantage of the weak Ringgit. Grand malls of Jesselton such as Suria Complex (all the pictures were from Suria), One Borneo and Oceanus became our neighbors destination.

Anywhere, this is my last post for 2016 and I wish everyone once again MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR. LOOKING FORWARD TO ENTER 2017! THANK YOU AND GOODBYE 2016!