Tuesday, June 30, 2009

MY LAST DAY IN MIRI

Tamu Muhibah

A few more hours before I had to go home, I made my way to the Tamu Muhibah, a market for the locals. They sold almost everything but there was no fresh fish to be seen. I only bought salak fruit and local cookies like kuih cincin and tebaloi. Actually I was here the day before to buy salted terubuk fish and dried prawns which were a must-buy from Sarawak.


This is the city fan. It is a park with the shape of a fan. I went to this place the night before, and there were people gathering to watch a band performance. Miri has a number of parks that the residents can be proud of. There were no people around as it was a working day but luckily they a few workers cutting grass. So, I had asked one of them to snap this picture for me and luckily, he agreed.

Miri Town


Only on the fourth day I discovered that the there was somewhat a big roundabout in Miri town centre. So I went along this big circle that took me back to the hotel. One thing that was hard when travelling alone was that I had to ask people on the road to snap pictures of me; did I have any other choice? By the way, the blue building at the back was the hotel where I was staying.

souvenirs hunting

I went to one shop that sold many souvenirs from Sarawak and Indonesia as well. There were not many shops selling handicrafts and souvenirs, unlike Kuching. But this one had a wider variety and the prices were cheaper. And the shopkeepers and salesgirls here (and in our country as a whole) were not tourists-friendly. They should go to Australia and see how tourists and customers are being entertained there.

Miri International Airport, just before departing

At last, it was time to bid farewell to Miri. I had a pleasant time there, hopefully I will get to come again some other time. Okay people, it is now time to get to work. Do not expect another travelogue to come up soon because I have doubt that is going to happen. Until then, GOOD BYE MIRI.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

BRUNEI: A VERY SHORT TRIP INDEED

behind me is the famous Kampung Ayer in Brunei

in Brunei Museum

Since I am here in Miri, the nearest foreign country, Brunei Darussalam, is only 2-hours drive away. So I have decided to cross the border just to have a glimpse of Brunei. Well, you never know when you will have the chance again. The trip was not that exciting though because it was really really short, more time was spent travelling. Not much to be seen along the way as well. I have to say Bandar Seri Begawan is surprisingly small (perhaps it is just a part of it). Managed to visit the museum for half an hour, saw the Kampung Air and went around the town before heading back to Miri. Next time, if I go there, I need to stay overnight so I have more time to explore. But again, I have been there, right?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

MIRI - A QUICK HALF A DAY TOUR

Once the mission to Miri had been accomplished, I was immediately ready to explore. That would explain why I was in my batik shirt, I did not even go back to the hotel to change. Lucky enough, the two teachers I met had volunteered to take me around. The first place we went to was Gua Longhouse Resort, a place where you can rent the rooms and experience staying in a longhouse.

outside the long house

and the view inside

As Miri is actually situated by the ocean, we moved along the coastal road, observing the mansions of timber tycoons on the left, right and on the hills. Their houses were really big and beautiful with large compound surrounding them, similar to houses of Hollywood's celebrities that you have seen on television. We stopped at two places by the sea; one was Luak Bay, and the other was Marina Bay. Both had spectacular view of the South China Sea.

Luak Bay
Miri Marina Bay


The sea horse - the symbol for Miri

Miri has one beautiful park in the city. A good place for people to jog, walk or just enjoy the green trees around. Inside, there is a pool for children and places for people to picnic where you can even have barbecue. The main attraction for me would be the canopy walk where you can walk above the trees for quite a distance and enjoy the scenery from the top.


Up in the sky, on the canopy walk

The last place we went to was the Grand Old Lady, an oil rig that was personified as a woman. It was an important discovery to Miri as oil was first discovered on that spot back in 1909 and the real oil rig was still there standing. It was kind of a museum. Apart from that, you could have an aerial view of the city and people came there just to climb the hills as recreational activities as well as to observe the sunset in the evening.

the first oil rig in Miri

I would like to thank two kind people of Miri, Puan Chai Soon and Puan Agatha Sia for taking me around Miri and getting to know the city better.

Friday, June 26, 2009

BLOGGING FROM MIRI, SARAWAK

Senai Airport, now everybody can fly.


As I thought that my travelogue would soon end right after I had returned home, how wrong I was then. Some things just happen unexpectedly. So here I am blogging from Miri, Sarawak. Hoping to see more of this side of Malaysia.

comfortable and spacious room in Mega Hotel, Miri

Actually my trip this time is semi-official. I have work to do tomorrow. So just hope the Miri people will like me. The person that I have to thank here is Puan Christina Chan for recommending me to come here. Thanks Chris!

Friday, June 19, 2009

10th JUNE - LAST DAY MELBOUNE

It was already the last day for me in Melbourne before I flew home. I had never felt time flew as fast as this in my entire life. With the few hours left, without wasting any second, we went to Harbour Town (again). It was still cold like the day before - never had I appreciated the sunshine more. Early this morning, the hailstones were pitter-pattering on the glass window.

 

St. Kilda Beach

The last place we went to was St. Kilda Beach. It was still cold, it rained a bit and the sky was cloudy. I bet the beach would look more beautiful if it was brighter and would even be much better during summer.

With cool dudes at Sharmin's place

about to leave...

I would like to thank Sharmin for the all his effort and trouble to make my stay in Melbourne a memorable one.

 
Melbourne Tullamarine Airport before boarding the plane 
GOOD BYE MELBOURNE
GOOD BYE AUSTRALIA



I guess that's all the notation of my perhaps once in a life time journey to the land down under. Landed safely, healthily at LCCT Sepang at 6:30 am 11th June 2009 and free from H1N1. Hope that you have enjoyed yourself reading as much as I have enjoyed myself there. I wonder what I will be writing about in this blog after this...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

9th JUNE - 4th DAY MELBOURNE (PART 2)



From Sovereign Hill, we walked to the Wildlife Park. At this time the temperature had dropped to 5 C which was freezing cold for me. With the rain and the cold wind, we also experienced hail stone luckily it stopped just after a few seconds, if not I would not be able to see those animals originated from Australia.


koala in the house


Pics with koala can only be taken from a distance. If you wish for a close-up shoot, then you have to pay for it.


wombats in the house

A wombat is just like a mouse, except it is much bigger and hairier. And the main attraction here is meet the kangaroos session. After buying a packet of food, you could feed as many kangaroos as you wanted. When we were there, there were no other visitors so the animals came running to us, which made it a bit scary. They were quite tame but too many kangaroos around would not be too good.

nice kangaroo, nice...


can you see a baby kangaroo in the pouch?


presenting.... the kangaroo movie


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

9th JUNE - 4th DAY MELBOURNE (PART 1)

The posting for the day's visit has to be divided into two sections as there are too many pictures that I want to put in the blog. I wish I could put all but I don't think that is a good idea. Anyway, Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is like a gold mining museum. Nevertheless, it is much more interesting than the ordinary museum because there are more than just exhibits and texts. There were real people acting as miners and people living in the community in that era. So you are actually living among these people who are carrying out their daily activities. The bakers do sell real bread, pastries and pies that you can buy. The narration of the mining history is told in a more interactive and interesting way and history has never been more alive. I have selected a few pictures for you to feast your eyes on and I have taken pictures with everyone, men, women and even animals, but do find more about this place here http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/

visiting an old folk's tent, listening (really hard) about his life in a tent but it was really warm to sit beside the fireplace.

the guy in charge of the underground gold mine visit




read the signs on the buildings yourself

the lady in the bowling alley

in the bakery

at last, i have found the one and true love


and was arrested after that

another lady in a shop

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

8th JUNE - 3rd DAY MELBOURNE

Melbourne Trams

That is the famous Melbourne trams that come in many different designs and colours; they even have the antique one which carries tourists around the city for free. The city has a very effective networking of transportation among the trams, buses and trains. And all the information is available on the Internet so you can move really easy and they arrive at the stations on time. The ticket prices are reasonable. A whole day ticket that costs AUD6.40 enables you to travel everywhere throughout the day, and on Sunday you can get it at half price.


Azwan Shaiza, husband, kids and I

The visit to Bundoora was not in the original itinerary but I was very excited to see an old friend who is doing her PhD at La Trobe University. So I met her husband and four kids and had lunch there. She was kind enough to pack some food for us to bring back home. Thanks Azwan and family for the warmth and hospitality.


In front of La Trobe University (compound)

Royal Exhibition Building

On the way home, we stopped at a few places like the Royal Exhibition Building which has been declared as a world heritage.


Look, no leaves!
And here we were in Carlton Gardens. At last there was a kind soul who helped to take our photoshoot together, or else Sharmin had to be the photographer all the time.


The Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance is built to remember Aussie's past heroes who died during the 1st World War. There were many other statues and replicas in the park which narrated different stories.



After pizza (which was dinner), we went to the Crown, a casino. Too bad, cameras were not allowed inside. But you could experience Las Vegas here, I think.

Melbourne at night


There was not a single night spent at home. So much to see, to explore and to experience in such a short time.

7th JUNE - 2nd DAY MELBOURNE

Sharmin's place

We made our way to Vic Market, a place where you can get things such as koalas and kangaroos that are made in China to bring home as souvenirs. We spent hours there just by walking the rows of stalls and observing items put on sale. It was actually difficult to find things which are originally Australian here. There were foreigners and locals alike, and most of them were looking for souvenirs, I guess.

in Vic Market

I found that the condition in Melbourne was more relaxed and thank god, people here walked at a slower pace. However, the weather got colder and it rained almost everyday since I first arrived here. Have I ever mentioned in my writing that it was winter time? The good thing was that walking would never be tiring and I had never stopped walking (literally) since the first time I set foot on Aussie ground.

the University of Melbourne

Next, Sharmin showed me around his campus, the University of Melbourne. Unlike Malaysia, where universities are located in fenced area or far far away from civilized city life, here in Melbourne, universities (note the plural form) are actually in the heart of the city. There are faculty buildings in between shopping malls and shop houses in the commercial area. Melbourne to me is like an educational hub; you have to go into the city if you want to attend lectures or classes. Interesting!


inside the campus