Monthly Archives: September 2010

There and back again…

We just got home from an exit run to Brunei. Now, I have permit to stay in Malaysia for another month . I had a hearty chicken spaghetti meal plus rice at Jollibee in Seria, Brunei. We were facing the glaring orange sunset on our way home. Good thing the road back is bordered by wilderness, the trees made a good cover. I was looking out the window the whole time hoping that I could catch a glimpse of hornbills hooping into their nest for the late afternoon. The last time, I saw not one but three hornbills flying from the other side of the forest across the road to the opposite side. They were flying low enough for me to distinguish the distinctive black and white feathers and the enormous beak. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe I’d see one (no, three!) in the wild. This time though, I had no luck. Surprisingly, just up ahead the tollgate approaching the border, I saw a group of monkey eating by the road! Now, how’s that! Oh yes, I was so ecstatic! It was quick but I totally spotted them.

By the moment we reached the border, the forest was gone. On both sides were wide planes of swamp grown with wild grasses, ferns, and shrubs. But the beauty is, the sky became so visible.  I was so amazed by the range of colors across the horizon. On the right side of the road, the sky is fiery. Hues of red, orange, and yellow painted the vast firmament. On the left side, the sunset reflected subtle shades of pink and purple highlighting the greyish cumulus clouds. And then the most spectacular sky display happened – a series of lighting strikes! It was jaw-dropping, I couldn’t help myself but gasp every 20 seconds the lightning strikes. It was so vivid, I could see the lightning jumping from cloud to cloud in different directions. So magnificent! Sometimes it moves horizontally forming a V or W, and then next it jumps up as tiny streaks or it hits the ground making a full touch down in a dichotomous manner. So far, my favorite is the “Ghostbusters proton gun”  or a “ray gun” – a long lightning bolt diverging across the sky in a horizontal manner in different directions! It lighted up the sky like fireworks on independence day. Wow, it was so beautiful, I was electrified with excitement!

When we got home, we rushed to install the camera on a tripod hoping to capture the show. Unfortunately by then, the sky began to clear and perhaps the clouds became less charged. However, we managed to catch a few sparks in the sky.

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Miri go round…

I have been coming and going in Miri for quite some time now. To be exact, every month I had to leave Miri. In fact I must leave Miri tomorrow!

Miri is a young city in northern part of Sarawak, Malaysia. When somebody asks me about Miri I had nothing else profound in mind but to say it’s an oil town (although I know it’s a city), it is where the oil industry of Malaysia came to birth. Apparently when I say  I’m in Malaysia, people most often think of peninsular Malaysia where Kuala Lumpur is; and then this is usually followed by a long explanation which starts with a demonstration of the geographical distribution of the Malaysian territory.

I came to Miri because somebody important drives me here. I took a break from my  laboratory research job and came here as a tourist without a visa. Thus, I spent perhaps five months in total unconsecutively, staying here in Miri with a compulsory exit each month. Conveniently, Miri is just an hour or less drive away from a neighboring country – Brunei.  Exit was easy, we drove to Brunei, eat at Jollibee and drove back to Miri with another month of permit to stay stamped on my passport. Occasionally, I’d go back to the Philippines, do my business there for a month or two especially during holiday season, or travel to Singapore. But tomorrow, we’ll do the nearest exit run, to Brunei.

Time in Miri seems to run so slow, heck I didn’t even notice I’ve been coming back here for an entire year now. Everything is laid-back – eat out, occasional club night out at CB, dinner at some hotel, crab nights at downtown near Ming’s, mall, and my favorite – watching sunset at the beach. There’s not much to do here in Miri, sometimes I hated going out because I didn’t want to pee at public toilets, even mall toilets. I don’t know, except in hotels, I haven’t been to a decent toilet that smells good with clean, and dry floor. I spent my days in Miri in front of the internet, facebook, online work, hollywood gossip, geeky stuffs and research for academic enrichment. I have not finished a single paper here – my long overdue papers for publication.  I don’t know, maybe this is just an excuse for my apparent indolence, or there’s something in Miri that made me lazy. But then again, perhaps there is something not in Miri that would make me otherwise.

Nevertheless, Miri has grown a part in me that I would surely miss when I leave this place.

P.S. I’ve started this blog maybe because being in this place just inspired me to do so. 🙂

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