Friday, June 21, 2019

Kitchen Tour

I'm kind of a nosy person if I'm honest...I love looking around other people's houses. Having said that, I'm not always that keen on people seeing mine, because it's usually pretty messy. :P

We moved into this house in 2013, and the kitchen is so much better than the kitchen in our previous house because that kitchen was so dark; it was literally like being in a cave. It's not too exciting, but for what it's worth, here's my kitchen.

 This where we eat breakfast, but not usually dinner. (The round thing is a food dehydrator that I bought at yard sale this summer.)
One of the things I like most about this kitchen is the pantry:
...and the windows

Monday, May 6, 2019

Escape into an Asian Paradise

Have you heard of a Penanggalan? A Langsuir? A Toyol? Probably not, I guess. I know what you must be thinking – exotic dishes of a foreign land, eh? Isn't that what anything sounding weird usually turns out to be, especially in travel posts. I am sorry to disappoint you, my dear reader – these are just the opposite of what you are thinking of – they are not the ones whose sight will make your mouth water. On the contrary, the sight of you will make their mouth water. For these are malicious beings, from Malay local folklore, that love to feast on human blood. Then we have headhunters. No, these are not the cute girls and aunties who contact you on Linked in with opportunities from the world’s leading banks and IT companies. These headhunters are the dreaded Dayak and Dusun tribes who wouldn't flinch to detach your head from your body and take home to their warlord as a trophy. Few years back I read a nice adventure book having all these elements. It was a refreshing change from Tolkien's elves and dwarves or Stephanie Meyer's vampires and werewolves. Ever since I have read that book, I have somehow developed a fascination for the Eastern part of Malaysia – the states of Sarawak and Sabah on the Borneo Island. I know this may sound as stupid as someone saying they want to visit India because they are fascinated with the idea of snake charmers and Fakirs sleeping on beds of nails or visit Germany due to their fascination with the legends of little folk of the Black Forest. But that is how I am and these kinds of things add a magical aura to a place.

I did get an opportunity to visit Malaysia a couple of years back but my trip was confined to Western parts – Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. While I really enjoyed the visit to the bird park in Kuala Lumpur and the boat ride along the mangrove jungles of Langkawi, I came to know these attractions were rather tame compared to what Sabah and Sarawak had to offer. That reignited my old desire to visit these regions. However I have somehow not liked planning trips – I find it more fun when they just happen. I like to see myself more as an explorer or an adventurer rather than a tourist. But I guess unless one works for National Geographic, such opportunities may not come one’s way. So the best option is possibly a vacation trip only and to let one’s imagination to do the rest. When doing a vacation trip, definitely at least some high level planning is required. So I began to give a thought to identify at least 5 things I may like to do in Eastern Malaysia.

Given that my initial fascination for Malaysia began with fascination for local tribal traditions and folklore, I would definitely like to know more of the local culture right from the horse’s mouth. The living cultural museum – Sarawak Cultural Village would be a good place to indulge my fascination. Who knows? It may give me material to write the next Lord of the Rings.

During my days as a software engineer I have been an avid trekking enthusiast. I have somehow been drifting away from this passion of mine the last few years. What better place to rediscover my lost love than Borneo’s largest peak – Kinabulu Park. Trekking in the Amazons has always been one of my dreams. Though Amazons are romanticized more, I guess the experience here would be more or less the same as trekking through Amazon’s rain forests - maybe lesser in terms of danger quotient though.

As I mentioned earlier, I loved the boat trip along mangrove forests in Langkawi but was disappointed at not sighting too many animals. From what I have seen in reviews, a river trip along Kinabatangan River would not disappoint in this area. An opportunity to see exotic species such as proboscis monkeys, Asian Elephant and Sumatran Rhinos does indeed sound promising. And of course the species that can be found only in this region: Orangutans. They are a fascinating species: an intelligent species introduced to me by my mother in my childhood in the context of similarity in facial expression between me and these primates. The Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary and rehabilitation center would be an interesting place for a closer study of these nesting monkeys. Yes. That is right. Nesting monkeys! Contrary to popular beliefs that monkeys know only to destroy nests, there are monkeys that build nests too.

I have heard it said the beauty of nature under oceans surpasses that on land. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park with its opportunities for good snorkeling seems like an ideal place to grab a glimpse of what lies beneath.

I do hope I get an opportunity some day to savor these bounties of nature generously offered by the island of Borneo.