Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Not quite King Kong, but almost as hairy.
Monday, October 29, 2007
The first part of the day was learning the basics, more complicated than you may think, but I picked it up nice and quickly (I am an educated fellow after all). Did three dives in total over the day and despite getting a nice wet-suit sun-tan, I can safely say that it was an absolute joy to do. Saw seamlessly unending corals, copious numbers of species of fish and more turtles than you could shake a stick at, although I was stickless. Thoroughly hooked, there will be more of this before I'm done, you can be sure of that.
I didn't have an underwater camera, but still managed to spot the stars of a Pixar film... "Attack of the Killer Sea Enemies" coming summer 2008.
The definition of grace, the turtles just glided through the water.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The jungle cabins were pretty straight forward and simple, but having been in jungle environments before I thought I knew what to expect, thankfully I vaguely did. Over the next 3 days our little group went out and spotted a huge amount of wildlife including crocodiles, probiscus monkeys, macaques, wild bearded pigs, lizards and any number of insects and frogs. Sadly no orangs.
A Kingfisher chillin'.
The camp at night time. There were BILLIONS of insects.
After seeing loads of different types in vast amounts, I have concluded that anything is more hilarious when you add monkeys to it. Example: Tennis is fun, but monkey tennis is better. Monkey poker is superior to normal poker. Monkey butlers, monkeys in Hawaiian shirts, monkey cluedo (it was Professor Coco, in the cage, with the lead banana), monkeys welding, monkeys on unicycles juggling, monkeys covered in bees. Basically, take any sort of normal day-to-day act, complicated or mundane, add a/some monkey(s) and then sit back and revel in your own brilliance.
Was a cracking experience to see them all swinging about doing monkey-business, as it were. Sadly the place was crawling with tourists, particularly loud-mouth followers of the stars and stripes. I don't like to stereotype the yanks, but they don't know when to shut up when on holiday (sorry Foresters). Certainly took a touch of the shine off such an amazing spectacle.
Hi Clyde, where's Clint?
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The dominant language here is Malay, but basic English is relatively common also so they would want to practice it more than anything. Mainly the topics of conversation involved Manchester United at some point (sadly...). They love them here! I'm not sure if some of them even know that they are a football team, but it seems to be the "in fashion" to have any sort Man U clothing or decorations about your person. They've never heard of the Toon though...
Trooping along in the tree-tops on the nice and rickety canopy walkway.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Malaysia just celebrated their 50th national anniversary (on the 31st of August) and they all are pretty proud about it. Having been in British hands for a considerable length of time pre-WWII and then in Japanese occupation throughout the war, it seems they were stoked when then got themselves to themselves in 1957, which is reflected in the huge number of flags on display throughout the country.
There seemed to be a museum of some kind on every street. The National Museum of Internal Affairs, the National Museum of Taxes, the National Museum of Young Malay Nun-Chunks Warriors. And so on. Above is on of them.
Walking round the place you could see a great of different types of architecture of foreign influence as well as domestic , particulary a huge number of various religious buildings. Ambling down just one street you would pass a number of temples, mosques and churchs. Malaysia is renowned for it's great cultural diversity, the country being made up of 3 main groups of peoples; Malays, Indians and Chinese with all of their associated religions living in relative harmony.
The town square with some Dutch touches.
Melaka was interesting but quite touristy, the locals only too happy to attempt to swindle you out of some dosh. Melaka also means something quite explicit in greek if I'm informed correctly. Thankfully the Greeks didn't name it.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
This is a city of cleanliness, efficiency, technology and tons of good food. They have a subway system here named after me, I was delighted to find. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) is fast, reliable and thoroughly air-conditioned which is greatly appreciated; it certainly kicks the arse of the Underground and even (I hate to say it) the mighty Metro.
Oh yeah, it's BOILING here. Really humid and hot. The kind of heat where as soon as you step out of the shower and you think you're clean you automatically start sweating regardless. Apparently it is actually warmer than usual for this time of year, but to come from the start of spring in New Zealand to this is quite the climate shock. It has taken a few days to get used to it, as well as billions of pints of water, but I'm getting there.
As you travel about the different parts of the city and through the difference quarters, you come across lots of different types of architecture, as well as different races with their associated cultures. From modern day sky scrapers in the downtown/banking area to the original British Colonial buildings. There's a Chinatown, Little India and Arab Quarter amoungst others, all with something new to discover.
So, I've landed on a new continent (taking the running total to 4) and so far it looks pretty good, plus my new life skill of mastering chopsticks is well under way. You get some tasty grub here! I get the feeling I'm really going to get on well with Asia....
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Things I've managed to achieve while here:
- Winning more than 2 rounds of "Guess Who".
- Surviving without any internal organs for over 3 weeks.
- Dividing by zero.
Monday, October 01, 2007
The dunes were absolutely massive! You could get to a top speed of about 60km/h if you were good enough. I was.
After sand-boarding the bus did the return leg of the journey along Ninety Mile Beach, a state highway no less! Although not technically 90 miles long (actually only 57 miles roughly) it was still impressive. A land speed record was set here in the early 1900's.
Right, pub quizes aside. I hired an automobile, more commonly known here as a "car" and headed north. The intention was to see Northland, which contains the Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga, some fancy waterfalls, some really old Kauri Forests amoungst tons of other stuff. After getting thoroughly confused by Aucklands less than obvious road system, I ended heading up the far less populated west coast of Northland.