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Monday, August 22, 2011

Sabah: The Land Below the Wind - Part 1

Welcome to Sabah! The Land Below the Wind, formerly known by the colonial name of Jesselton.

About this time, exactly 1 year ago, I was in Miri, Sarawak with my good mates for the wedding of our heng tai Leonard Lee (whose pictures are actually the very, very first of this photoblog!). Then, it was my very first time stepping foot in East Malaysia. Now, approximately 1 year later, I’m visiting Sabah for the very first time.

We bought tickets for this trip in November 2010 for the paltry sum of RM 120 (return). We initially bought and paid (in advance) for 6 persons. However, along the way, 2 dropped out, and another hopped on. End of it all, there were 5 of us: Me (Dom), Emily, U Joe, Chui Mei and Aaron Fan. Five is a decent number for travel if you ask me. I picked up Emily, Chui Mei and Aaron and we met Joe at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal ("LCCT), in the morning of Saturday, 30th July 2011. Our flight was at 11.10am.

I found parking at Tune Hotel (15 minutes walking distance) nearby, which was a blessing. Their parking rates are RM 20 per day, making it RM 80 for 4 days, as compared to the LCCT parking which would cost RM 146++ for the same duration of parking. Checking in went smoothly and soon enough, we have boarded the flight for Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The trip took about 2.5 hours. I found this difficult as I couldn’t sleep due to the early afternoon sun and worse still, my seat could not recline. Anyways, we arrived without much hassle, collected our bags and met Joe (whose flight was slightly earlier than ours) who had already collected the rented Toyota Avanza as well as a local friend.
After checking in the Imperial Boutec hotel (which I must say was very nice, with decent rates to boot!), we rested for a while before driving out for some light sight-seeing. First stop: One Borneo, Sabah’s largest shopping centre. We were looking for some Crocodile Meat bak-kut-teh but unfortunately, the shop as closing down and Saturday was the LAST DAY of operations. Strange but true. We ordered some take-away Croc dishes with the intention of eating it elsewhere.

Next stop: Coconut jelly desserts and roasted coconuts. I found this odd, and not being a huge fan of coconuts, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic but I go with the flow. There were many roadside stops, all of them makeshift wooden shacks, lining the narrow rural trunk road. It appears they specialized in their roasted coconuts, as well as grilled shellfish and crabs. Here are a few pictures of the said wooden shack.

Above: Emily sipping on a cool fresh coconut drink. Much welcomed as we found that Kota Kinabalu weather was particularly humid and searing!

Above: A snapshot of Joe (foreground) with Aaron (background) having a light moment.

Above: A very serious looking Aaron. I didn't know him too well before this but after the trip, I've found him to be an amazingly cool and laidback guy. You'd want a friend like him on trip that's for sure!

Above: A dish of grill-roasted shellfish. I was too busy taking pictures to eat this.

Above & Below: A local stray cat who wandered under my table. Shot with natural light, this kitty-cat was a natural poser.

Above: A customary group shot. As usual, I'm not in, which is fine. I'd rather make sure the photos turn out great.

Above: The lovely Chui Mei, ever so ready for a photograph. A natural in front of the camera.

Above: The lovely but unsuspecting Emily. There was a fan blowing behind her so I took the opportunity to shoot a slightly more dramatic shot.

On the way back, we drove past a simple bridge. I caught sight of a photographer shooting the sunset off that bridge, complete with a tripod. I got excited and suggested that we stop for a few photos. Once we got down, it became clear that while it was a coincidence we stumbled upon this bridge, the locals knew better. Not along after, a mini-van carrying tourists stopped at the side of the road as well, and unloaded almost 20 tourists with as many cameras. I got a few shots in. The intense orange of the sun setting made for a very dramatic shot of a river, a small fishing community next to it, and the sun waving goodbye in the background. Have a look.

Above: A quaint fishing village next to the river.

Above: The same fishing village in black & white.

Above: A view of the intense magenta of the setting sun clashing with the diminishing calm blue of the day, for a dramatic landscape shot.

Above: The customary group shot on the bridge.

Above: Another group shot on the bridge.

Above: A shot of part of the fishing village.

To be continued!

For those you looking for a quick link to the other sets in the 'Sabah: The Land Below the Wind' Series, please click here:-

Part 2:-

Part 3:-

Part 4:-

For those of you who like statistics:
Vital Stats for August: 4 post 65 pics
Vital Stats So Far: 98 posts 3,766 pics

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