Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997



2005/09/27 Malaysia Wrap Up
π 2005-09-27 10:16 by Merlin in Diving, Trips

Well, first of all, it was obviously great: I now know why the Islands off Sabah were ranked among the top 10 diving spots in the world. I did around 35 dives there, including night dives, something I had never done (then again, neither had I swam next to giant turtles, decently sized sharks, or huge schools of fish, like a Giant Swarm of Barracuda )

I could post more pictures, but some of the best examples are the few 30 sec videos I took. Everything is of course in the diving directory , but for highlights, you should look at the Best of Lankayan and Best of Sipadan-Kapalai

On my trip back, ended up buying a giant Sea Shell and Coral in the Malaysia airport, as well as a couple of things in Hong Kong. Funny thing is that in Hong Kong, security detained me apparently because of the Coral, as I think it was illegal to have/buy in Hong Kong (hard to tell, their English was so-so). In the end, they let me go because the person they were waiting for to verify/decide wasn't available, able to show up in time for me not to miss my flight. My credit card company they freaked out again and almost disabled my card again when I signed up for wireless internet in the airport (tss, losers...), and I got home eventually, in coach (argh, do the seats in cattle class suck on Cathay Pacific, and $3000 for a one way upgrade to business, no thank you, I'll just fly another airline next time).
All was well except for the taxi cab driver who partially broke my coral while getting my suitcase with the coral on top, but 1H and some glue later, it was almost like new...



Oh, and my cat apparently missed me, thanks Xav for taking care of him again :)

All right, and if you're pressed on time and would like a few hand picked video highlights, enjoy:




2005/09/27 Tawau
π 2005-09-27 10:15 by Merlin in Trips

After doing my last two dives at Kapalai/Sipadan (bringing my dive count to 54, which is more than triple what I had when I started, and on my last but one dive, I actually finally managed to lose my group without being able to find them again: it sounds silly, but there were other groups that passed us, and while turning back from taking a picture, with so-so water visibility, I ended up with another group for long enough to lose mine. When we surfaced, they were way far from me: I could have swam to the Island if it hadn't been for the fact that they would have been looking for me :) )

Anyway, Tawau, I only spent a few hours in the late afternoon/evening there, but I still used them to visit the city what I could, confirmed that Malaysian cities seem to have roaming dogs in search of trash to eat, found out where the smell came from (the sewer system doesn't seem to be underground everywhere, it's sometimes only in a 50cm deep hole that isn't always covered with concrete slabs, watch where you walk...)
Another interesting tidbit, is that taxis don't have meters, they just estimate a fare from what you asked them to drive. The cab I took in Tawau way overcharged me (25 ringits, or 7 dollars, for a quick local trip, but I didn't care, I can spare 7 bucks instead of 3 :) )

I used the rest of the time enjoying local massages since they cost less than the "deductible" I pay at work ($30/hour for a value of about $80/h) before getting up at the ass crack of down again (05:50) for my 3 planes back home

My very few pictures of Tawau are here (those from Sandakan were there )



2005/09/18 Sandakan, Sepilok, Seafood King
π 2005-09-18 03:11 by Merlin in Trips

Current Music: Astral Projection (in the boat, on the way to dive sites)
Current Mood: Pretty good :)

After leaving Lakayan Island, I spent a day in the city of Sandakan, where I got to visit a bit, see a local market, and have a bunch of kids run at me and shake my hand after saying Hello and Good-bye, the English they had learned :)

The afternoon, I went back to Sepilok to see the Orang Outang reserve. That was definitely entertaining, check out the pictures and videos , they're quite entertaining.

The evening, I met the local folks (actually a Philipinian too), and had dinner at a local restaurant: Seafood King . That was an interesting place: I asked for a menu, and they said they had none and asked me what I wanted. In the end, they brought me to the back, where they had all the live fish in big buckets and made me choose what I wanted. 30 minutes later, I had a fried giant shrimp (whatever that was), and some baby ones.
I quite obviously got the tourist price and did not get access to all the food that the locals seemed to be eating around me, but no matter, that what I get for being the fscking tourist :)





















2005/09/15 Sepilok Nature Park Resort
π 2005-09-15 15:58 by Merlin in Trips

Sepilok Nature Park Resort
This is where I spent my first "recover from 25H trip, jetlag and less than 5 hours of sleep" day and night. I ventured in the forest trail a bit, which I knew wasn't extremely smart, especially with shorts, but with tropical humid weather, I was tired of my long pants. After managing not to get lost (my biggest concern), I came back with a few nice insect bites despite the deet insect repellant on my body, and some kind of leech on my leg (no idea how it got there, but the sucker was indeed well attached. Ah, I learned later than the little suckers actually hang from under leaves and wait for unsuspecting warm blodded mamals to walk by so that they can let themselves drop on you. Lovely...)
There was some nice flaura to be seen though, and they have both some big ass ants, and very overgrown fat but somehow flying bees that go between flowers. They also have mighty impressive ants :)
The pictures I took are here

I'll be back there for another day and some tours. I was initially only there for my first night since I had gotten to Sandakan too late for the daily speed boat to Lankayan Island Dive Resort , but not to worry, I got there the next day

2005/09/14 Trip to Malaysia
π 2005-09-14 06:18 by Merlin in Diving, Trips

25H of travelling is probably a personal record. I'm currently in my second plane, from Hong Kong to Malaysia, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to get some connectivity there since I just realized while dozing off that I entirelyforgot to make my mandatory estimated tax payment (some big sum of money) to both CA and the feds. It is going to be fun to arrange remotely, without my
files and my papers access codes and so forth (I was able to find a lot of information I needed in my local mail spool, and I'm looking in my browser history for .gov URLs right now to see if I have the CA web site for online payments). Doh, doh, doh!
Anyway, Hong Kong was a nice a clean airport, as expected. I didn't get to see a whole lot since I landed at 05:35 local time, but it was still nice to have gone through it. In the funny notes, it was cool to see that there were no less than 8 GSM networks my phone could chose from, and that I was able to use my nokia communicator to send Email ssh to my machine and look at my new messages with mutt while I was in line. That said, I was able to get a good WIFI connection some time later while waiting for my second flight, and I used the time appropriately (although I wish I had realized that little banking problem before then since I could have solved it from the airport and now it's going to be much harder)
The first flight on Cathay Pacific was so-so: I tried fruitlessly to upgrade to business, but I found out that on their planes the business section is much smaller than United's so it was overbooked. The other fun part is that a cash upgrade was $1200 one way, for just 1 out of the 3 planes. The full business fare return for just the first plane was $8000!!! In the meantime, their seating in coach sucked ass, and even my butt hurts from the bad seats. Oh well, bigger problems in life I guess...
Two quick notes after landing in Malaysia and waiting for my 3rd flight: I hadn't done homework and realized that Malaysia was actually a Muslim country, which kind of explained the Jelabas (sp?) I saw as soon as I got off the plane, and the muslim prayer room inside the airport, and the crescent on the national flag :) In other news, they have an interesting way to deal with with whatever is defined as illegal drugs here: trafficking is simply punishable by death.
Apart from that, weather looks lovely, and I have already picked up a bunch of pamphlets about all the great diving spots they have. I can't wait :)
Oh, and the international airport had what looked like a voluntary immigration counter (i.e. you walked by it, but didn't have to go through it physically). That looked weird... :)
In the end, I did arrive to the Island of Sabah at the Sandakan airport (that was kind of funny, the 737 landed on the runway, went to the end, and then turned around on the same runway to reach the terminal since there was no taxiway. I guess that explains why there weren't any international flights going there directly :) )
It's pretty to have houses on the water like this, but I guess you don't wonder why there are so many problems when a tsumani shows up, or even global warming over the next 50-100 years :-/

You can find more pictures from the air here , and pictures from my trip as they get posted and I get the chance to upload them (satellite connection on a pretty island in the middle of nowhere right now), there .
Oh did I just mention that the Island I'm on when sending this is so big that it takes 7 minutes to jog around it? :) and just because I'm lucky they got their satellite internet connection yesterday :)
Comments:
Là tu es bien dans 100 % d'exotisme...
Et tu n'as pas encore plongé ni goûté la nourriture.
Ce serait rigolo si tu rencontrais quelqu'un parlant néerlandais, car Bornéo c'est une ancienne colonie.
Que puis-je te souhaiter d'autre qu'ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY!!!
Bisous de ta maman.
posted by : 15 September, 2005 01:40


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