Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Directory of Meanderings


Please visit my new site, click HERE.


I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full." (Lord Dunsany)

Please click destination to enter.


Jan 28
~ Malaysia > Fraser's Hill
Feb 23-27
~ Malaysia > Sarawak > [page 01] [page 02] [page 03]
Mar 12
Malaysia > South China Sea
Mar 25

~ Malaysia > Fraser's Hill
Apr 05
India > Pune
Jul 29-30
Malaysia > Penang > Balik Pulau
Aug 09-12
~ Cambodia > [Siem Reap 01] [Angkor Wat (am)] [Angkor Thom] [Ta Prohm] [Banteay Kdei] [Angkor Wat (pm)] [Champa Malays] [Siem Reap 02]
Oct 14-16
~ Vietnam > [Halong Bay] [Hanoi] ... IN PROGRESS
Oct 27
~ Malaysia > Selangor > Bagan Sungai Buloh
Nov 18
~ Malaysia > Pahang > Raub > Ulu Dong > Rafflesia
Dec 05-07
~ Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan > [Town I] [Sepilok] [Town II] ... NEW
Dec 16
~ Malaysia > Selangor > Faber-Castell ... NEW


Feb 17
~ USA > Los Angeles
Mar 29 - Apr 03
~ China > Beijing > [page 01] [page 02]
May 19-24
~ South Korea > Seoul + Gyeongju + Busan + Suwon > [page 01] [page 02] [page 03] [page 04] [page 05] [page 06] [page 07] [page 08] [page 09] [page 10]
Jun 04-07
~ USA > Chicago > [page 01] [page 02]
Jun 26
~ Malaysia > Cameron Highlands
Jul 03-05
~ Malaysia > Kota Kinabalu > [page 01] [page 02] [page 03] [page 04] [page 05] [page 06]
Aug 20-22
~ Malaysia > Pulau Kapas
Sep 05-09
~ Sri Lanka > [Colombo 01] [Kandy] [Colombo 02] [Negombo]
Oct 28 - Nov 06
~ UK > North Wales
~ UK > York
~ UK > Manchester
~ Republic of Ireland > [Dublin 01] [Cork] [Ring of Kerry] [Belfast] [Eid] [The Burren] [Connemara] [Galway] [Dublin 02]
~ UK > Liverpool

2004 (partial)

Feb 02-04
~ India > Kerala + Goa
May 01-03
~ Malaysia > Penarik
Aug 07-11
~ Japan > Tokyo + Kyoto + Hiroshima + Himeji + Kanazawa


PS: By the way, we are sorta half-antitourists. :-D

© 2004 Naim Yunus (all materials, unless otherwise indicated)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Plant 161206

The World's Longest Pencil? Right here in the Klang Valley? I'd be darned!

So here I am, this fine Saturday morning, at the Faber-Castell plant in Subang Jaya to gawk at The Pencil.

Yup, that indeed is one huge pencil.

Looking like a rocket aiming for the stars.

The Pencil 161206

It's a 2B pencil, great for objective-type exams, I'm sure.

And the Jelutong-wood pencil requires special housing and air-conditioning to retain its composure.


Nevertheless it sure is popular with the ladies.

The Accolades 161206

Authenticated by Mr Guinness himself. Pls click image for better view.

Fact and Figures. Almost 20m tall!

And the grand opening ceremony memorial plaque.

The Lobby 161206

The Pencil done, let's see what else they have here.

First, a backgrounder on Faber-Castell. It goes all the way back to 1761 when Herr Faber pencil-ed in his presence somewhere near Nuernberg, Deutschland. Pls click image for better read.

Global presence, impressive indeed. Apparently this Malaysian plant only does the pens and erasers. Pencils are made in Brazil, Indonesia and China. I guess you make them where you find the wood.

The Stuff 161206

Classic stuff from The Maestro himself.

Fine stuff for The CEO. Fancy a MYR1,000 pen?

Multifunctional stuff for The Geeks. All-in-one: pen, pencil and stylus (for your PDA).

And last but not least, real stuff for The Hoi Polloi.

The Porsche 161206

And of course, maybe something for Porsche owners, or perhaps, Porsche owner-wannabes?

This puppy is only MYR1,350.

I hear the Airbus A320 flight deck is also designed by Porsche, so I guess this must be for the A320 airmen to go with their Ray-Ban shades. At MYR800 a pop.

Lilliput & Brobdingnag 161206

And before we leave, we strain our eyes at the World's Smallest Pencil, all 17.5mm of it.

How to grip it?

And as we leave Faber-Castell, we juxtapose it with the other one.

Many thanks to Ms Aliza for hosting us. Terrific morning indeed!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Brekky 071206

3rd and final day in Sandakan and it is drizzling all morning. We are catching a late afternoon plane back to KL, and have the whole morning to kill.

And a thoughtful parking attendant puts her parking notice in waterproof plastic. The local council seems to hire just ladies for the parking department.

We decide to try some local breakfast at a place across the road from the naval base, and it is an uninspiring one. This lame local yellow rice is no saviour, and I'm sorry to say, Sandakan ranks pretty poorly on the good food scale.

But I catch up with some macho navy men, all hailing from the peninsula. A 5-year tour of duty at this outpost, and one can get burnt out. And I thot navy folks only wore those squeaky white costumes!

Then I go for a spot of Christmas window-shopping ... well, sidewalk-shopping. I'm half-expecting Santa and Rudolf to pop out. :-)

The Blocks 071206

One thing I notice about Sandakan are the many apartment blocks.

Not too tall ...

... but most look aged and could do with a bit of make-up.

Which is interesting for this town of some 350,000 people, second most populous spot after Kota Kinabalu, and ahead of 3rd-place Tawau.

The Downtown 071206

A major landmark of downtown Sandakan is the imposing yellow Majlis Perbandaran Sandakan building.

Downtown also has a host of old buildings, such as this HSBC Bank - been here since 1948. There is also an old Standard Chartered Bank. Both attest to the rich trading history of Sandakan.

Another old building, this one belongs to Harrisons Trading.

No more wharf in Sandakan, but here's a nostalgic reminder.

And of course, the old mosque, more than 100 years old, perched on the woody hill-side overlooking the town.

The Streets 071206

One thing that impresses me is the grid-like design of the streets. It makes exploration by foot that much enjoyable. Maybe the town fathers re-did the street layout when rebuilding the razed town after the war, just like Hiroshima after the A-Bomb demolition job.

Though some parts look a bit unkempt.

The tall buildings seem to be named after some rich dudes, most likely timber tycoons, since Sandakan was built on timber. I read even the Forbidden City in Beijing used wood from Sandakan. But, alas, now no more, but sustainable eco-tourism could be a worthy replacement.

The main avenue passes through the northern edge of downtown ...

... and becomes Jalan Buli Sim Sim, now a new 4-lane dual carriageway which skirts the water's edge where the water villages are.

The Docs 071206

As I wander along a passageway, a clinic signage attracts me.

A Newcastle-trained doc opens a practice here, and a specialist too.

I walk up the dank stairwell, and discover that Dr Wong is an ENT guy. My facial orifices all in order, I retreat.

Not far from Dr Wong's, Dublin-trained dermatologist Dr Chung sets up shop. It's interesting that these foreign-trained professionals decide to settle in Sandakan rather than settling down in Europe or somewhere else, which is definitely a great thing.

And of course, the inevitable reverse flow of (less-pricey) human capital. Pls click image for better view.

The Airport 071206

All good things must come to an end, even more so for great things. We head for the airport and bump into an old mate.

We duly check in at the AirAsia counter, but hey, what's this obscure airlines doing next door?

The kids kill the time with a mini Sudoku competition, and young Aina (in cap) comes out tops.

I peer at the runway through the glass pane, and rather than spotting planes, I spot houses just on the other side of the runway. I must say, living there must be a plane-spotter's heaven. He can spot from the bedroom, kitchen, even from a strategically-placed loo! Noise? What noise?

We depart SDK at 8.15pm, 3 hours late (we were informed about this delay by SMS while we were still at the hotel), and arrive home well after midnight. Our plane, an old-ish Boeing 737-300 reg. 9M-AAH, had earlier in the day done KL-Tawau and developed technical fault while in Tawau. Flew back to KL, before the afternoon trip to Sandakan. Two long KL-Sabah return trips in one day, probably a tad too much for this hard-working little plane!

THE END and back to HOMEPAGE