My Borneo Adventure part 2

26 02 2010

Sematan 16/02/2010

The plan was to climb Mount Santubong if the weather was good but it turned out otherwise. Later we would find out that it rained in Kuching for the first 8 days of the Chinese New Year. So we activated plan B, a drive to Sematan with a stay-over in the Palm Beach Resort and a barbeque thrown in. Tzy Wen was kind enough to loan me a car for the duration of my stay in Sarawak, his father’s Mercedes Benz E230 no less. Thanks a lot dude. So after checking out from Tune Hotel at about 9 a.m (for those who like to sleep in late be informed that the check out time is 10 a.m and not 12 noon) I drove to Woon Hwan’s house to pick him up. From there we had breakfast before going to buy food and drinks for the barbeque we had planned for the night.

We had planned to get at least 4 or 5 guys for the trip but unfortunately nobody else took up the offer. Keith was busy and Phoi Nguan said he would rather stay at home. Typical of him I guess. I’ll need to talk to that man about the small pleasures of life. So only the three of us  made the 120 kilometre trip to Sematan that afternoon.

We arrived in Sematan rather late as we had stopped by many other places on the way. Those pictures have still not been processed ( I took then in Raw format) so the story has to wait for another day. After checking into the resort we headed out to the village nearby and caught sight of a magnificent sunset. This picture was taken on a wooden bridge overlooking a paddy field. To the left and out of the picture is a mountain call Gunung Pueh after which the village is named. We spent about 20 minutes relaxing and enjoying the view before making our way back to the resort to prepare our barbeque.


My Borneo Adventure Part 1

23 02 2010

I have just returned from a holiday in the State of Sarawak. I arrived in Kuching the state capital on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. And from then on just fell in love with the place. Albiet being a long holiday I found Kuching to be a very clean and interesting city. I will continue with this post soon but for now a picture I took from Kuching International Airport.

If I am not mistaken the mountain in the distance is Santubong which I intend to climb on my next trip back to this wonderful city.

Kuching Tunes

On my arrival in Kuching airport I was picked up by my friend and colleague Woon Hwan. He was already waiting for me at the airport. we went to town and had a few drinks at the Khatulistiwa Cafe on the riverfront. It’s a bit run down but apparently it offers the best views of sunset over the riverfront. The upper floor was not open so we sat on the ground floor sipping our drinks.

Before arriving in Kuching I had already booked myself a room in the Tune Hotel for a night. The room cost me RM23 (don’t really believe you can get a room for RM9.99 as published) plus admin fee of RM 9.99. Then I opted for 12 hours of air conditioning for an extra RM12 plus tax and towel plus toiletries which cost me another RM5. They don’t really trust customers here so they take another RM5 as deposit just in case you run off with their towels. All told I paid RM56 for the use of the room. Not bad but not if you wish to pamper yourself with a bit of luxury. If you are thinking of using the soap and shampoo kit that comes with the towel, you would want to bring along a knife or a pair of scissors. There is no perforation to help you tear these small slippery packets of soap. I ended up using my teeth as i did not bring any soap with me.

The room itself is pretty small. There is just enough room for a bed and a smallish side table. The toilet is nearly as big as the room but very clean. The only complaint I had was that there was no hot water to my shower when I checked in. I guess you can’t ask for much in a budget hotel. A couple who checked in before me had expected there to be complimentary bottled water waiting for them in their room! You should be lucky they don’t charge you to use the shower and toilets! hahahaha!

For those intending to ‘trick” the card reader in the room by slotting in your own credit card sized card, think again. It’s actually a radio frequency card reader much like the ones in your passports and smart cards. The air conditioning starts up the minute you slot in your card and the system starts deducting your “air conditioning credits”. The good part is that when you leave the room and remove the card, the air conditioning stops and they stop deducting your credits. So the 12 hours I bought was just enough for my use till the next morning. The downside – you cannot switch off the air conditioning unless you take out the card. Then you lose all power to your room.


1 02 2010 is a low cost carrier operating from OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg South Africa. Never heard of it? Well, neither have I until today. I have been in the airline industry for just over 2 decades now and in that time I have seen some very interesting liveries that airlines use on their aircraft. Traditionally a livery was used to advertise the name of the airline and also make it very recognizable to everyone. Even maintenance crews find them useful in a busy airport. Trust me, nothing wastes more time than driving up to a maintenance or a remote bay only to find that the aircraft has been towed away or of the wrong registration.

Then sometime in the last 10 years or so, airlines started using the space on the outside of their aircraft for advertisement. Mostly flag carriers would advertise the attractions available in their country. Some airlines would advertise their products. And thus aircraft liveries turned from boring to something very entertaining, even approaching what one might call a “work of art’.

But never before have I seen an aircraft livery that was hilarious as well as being educational. Not until my friend sent me some pictures of

What a hoot! Flying 101.I’ll bet you some of their passengers would ask permission to walk around this Boeing 737-800 before they climb onboard. I particularly like the sign that says “The big Cheese”. Although you cannot see it in the pictures above, there is an arrow that points at the letters OK-PIK with a sign that says “secret agent code”  What a laugh! It’s actually the aircraft registration.

Whoever thought of the paint job really deserves a pat on the back. I really enjoyed it. Just the right amount of information for the entertainment of customers. Just hope their engineers don’t get too smart and start drawing their own arrows with a sign saying “Big Dent” or ‘”Corrosion”. Hahaha! Now that would be a case of too much information.

Pictures are courtesy of