Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sipadan Vacations

Sipadan Vacations
Dreaming of a perfect getaway? clear blue sky, aqua blue sea with gigantic corals& colorful fishes, white sandy beach plus cooling sea breeeze? Oh wait, stop dreaming, you dont think you can afford such a heavenly trip, it might poke a hole in your pocket? Come On, which dumbass planted those thoughts in your mind? Let me dispel that notion right here and right now!!
Contrary to popular belief that it's expensive to travel to the East Coast of Malaysia, you only need around Rm500+ and I promise you can make it to Pulau Mabul, Kapalai or even Sipadan which are located in the Celebes Sea in Southern Sabah, a place which has it all!
Just recently, Allister, a friend of mine who's a professional Diver has set up an awesome page, which is clearly as awesome as him, specially to provide information on the world reknowned islands, PADI diving courses details, how to get there and all sorts of other lodgings info. It will surely ease your research if you are planning on your perfect getaway ;)
Just log on to Sipadan Vacations to retrieve all the info you need. On the other hand, Im honored to be selected as one of the the site's contributors or bloggers or members or representatives, uhhm..whatever you name it. This is where you can find out on why a Penangite like me ended up promoting Sipadan. It's just simply amazing *winks*
God, I can't wait to dive Sipadan!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

Finally I've set my feet on the ground of Vietnam, the place reek of history, culture of its kind, and a country with its own tales to tell. Looking back at the bygone days of the country, Vietnam had been thru quite complicated days, heart rending it may seem, but at least now its developing & moving towards modernization.
It only took 2 hours+ to travel from KL to Ho Chi Minh City, but due to the bad weather I spent another extra half an hour hovering in the sky of Saigon before the plane was able to land. The trip was 4D3N, mostly spent in the city's District 1 and I would certtainly say that it's quite an interesting experience! Usually having cultural shock doesn't sound so favorable, but I put an 'exception' clause to the Saigon trip:
1. Being on the road is always like a thrilling roller coaster ride.
2. Traffic is Chaotic and in TOTAL mess. Motorcycles are just uncountable and road users seem to neglect the importance of traffic lights & most basic safety rules.
3. Yet, Drivers are fearless.
Aahh~~ how i miss those thrilling moments on the road. It's just the whims& fancies of vietnam that we gotta accustomed to.

arriving destination

Contemporary Tan Son Nhat's International Airport
A shot of Saigon city District 1

Don't you just love 'em cables?
as Complicated as me! :D

This was our 1st vietnamese meal which we never thought to be also, the last throughout the whole trip. Maybe the lesson that we got, was Never, ever, act like a smartass in ordering loadsa unknown stuffs, which you dont even know how to eat it the correct way, nor be sure of putting some of the unknwon items into mouth.
we then had vietnamese-food-phobia throughout the whole trip.
But undeniably this beef was tender, juicy, and mouth watering!

1st time drinking lime soda, it's complicated...

General Post Office

That's Uncle Ho Chi Minh

And this is the Saigon's Notre Dame Cathedral
shot combining the Statue of Mary to the church in the background

outside one of the Chinese Restaurants

Beautiful French influenced buildings: Opera House

Many other buildings here were built with a touch of french style, no wonder people here are exceptionally romantic! couples on the street, sipping coffee on the sidewalk taverns and cafes, it's just a lovely realxed scene!

One distinctive story of Vietnam, is the Vietnam War during the 1960s to 1970s. This war lasted for 17 years+, when US initiated the war based on some reasons of eliminating Communists in Indochina. My question is, why was that even US's fucking problem? It was estimated that 3 millions Vietnamese died, of which 2 millions were innocent citizens. Not counting in those who were missing, injured, handicapped/ lives taken by the Agent Orange. Of course, there were many of the US soldiers who weren't willing to sustain the war, and the consequences for the heroes were either being imprisoned, or perhaps death. Vietnam, like any other indochina countries is always a place that touches me deeply, the war and atrocities somehow gave me a unique love for the people and country.

War Remnants Museum

My full homage to Sawada, a Japanese photographer with United press International who received the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for Photography for his combat photography of the Vietnam War during 1965.

It's just like watching movie, soldiers with their sweetheart's picture always with them during war. It gave them strength to move forward to battle in the field, in hope of one day they could see their loved one again.

Another Interesting site, The Tunnels of Cu Chi, where the Viet Cong built during Vietnam War. The tunnels created a unique method of warfare, A Viet Cong could get out of a tunnel fire and then disappear back into the tunnel. They literally slept, cooked, shit, hid & etc in this tunnel. What amazed me is the air ventilation of the tunnel.

Yeap, I think I'm a soldier after this trip :p

In fact, even until today there are still many countries which are still facing the atrocities of wars, famine, or cruel dictatorship. This is a journey worth a million bucks, so much meaning and so many different kinds of people I've seen. I'll be back again for Vietnam.
Visit's Rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The World's largest Dump: North Pacific's Garbage Patch

Wonder what is it made of and where is that Garbae Patch? How it formed? Since when or even how huge is the garbage patch?
The size of the Trash Vortex in the Pacific extends over a very wide area, it is estimated to be the size of Texas state, or some say the whole of France, until now nobody can be sure of the exact size, but certainly and logically speaking, it's growing. Besides, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that 70% of marine litter sinks. So who knows what is also building up on the ocean floor? The trash are mostly made up of plastics and other non-biodegradable items such as fishing nets, plastic bags, bottles, cans, clothings, which had been staying there for years or decades.
How it's formed?How trash makes its way to the garbage patch is pretty straightforward. When a junk gets blown off the beach, it gets caught in the ocean current, which makes its way down the coast toward Central Pacific ocean. The currents are located somewhere in between of Japan, Asia, US and Mexico, these are the currents that make up the North Pacific Gyre. And you've heard of the Pacific Gyre, where it's rotational pattern draws in waste material from across the North Pacific Ocean. Now, we'll do some calculation, multiply that one aforementioned junk by billions of plastic items over years—actually about 70 years, starting after World War II, when plastic were invented and put to mass production(Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year and 10% of it goes to the ocean). No wonder the trash vortex can be as huge as France from bird's eye view.. don't forget that it's just 30% that we could see, remaining of the refuse sink!
man made tragedy

castaway fishnets snare sea turtles, dolphins, and other animals, Sea creatures and birds mistake trash for food, eat it, and some die; jellyfish get sick; junk washes back to shore.

So now, some of you might think that it's really not your problem or sort? Most people have no clue about their effect on ocean life and eventually back to themselve because they can’t see it. We rely heavily on seafood for protein source, at least 20% of our daily food is from sea. So when the food is polluted, so are we. Heard of many friends of yours allergic to seafood? That's the main cause.
Again, awareness and education are the keys to ocean preservation as well as tackling other environmental issues. If majority of us are still unaware and continue polluting, nobody can ever imagine how dire the consequences would be.
Be a responsible earthling, raise awareness to the world as much as you can.