Jun 27, 2010

Not your typical travel log

Obviously this is a very long post, you might want to bring your coffee along.

I was in the pearl city for the past 6 days. Purpose: To attend a meeting which i think can be a success without me, and of course, to conduct my experiments.

20 June
The journey from Kota Kinabalu takes about 9 freaking hours via road, me and the assigned driver only stopped for 2 reasons; lunch and fuel. I cant say much about the journey as i seriously dread a long winding road trip.

Fast forward.

I reached Semporna at 6.30pm and immediately checked in at Dragon Inn Floating resort, not my favorite place to stay due to the distance from the city and limited places to eat. However, the meeting started as early as 8.00am on the next day,and the office is situated in front of the Inn which is a few steps away. I still can make it on time for the meeting although i might get up a little bit late than usual. haha.

One night stay, for 1 person inclusive of breakfast and entrance fee to the so called 'live aquarium' is RM66. The room is equipped with aircond, heater, 14' TV provided only the national channel and emm that's about it. The most turndown of this Inn is they dont provide either water heater or mineral water to the guests wth, that's the very basic necessity yes? I just couldn't comprehend. Another thing, the wall that separates between the rooms are not emm soundproof? To the point where i can tell which channel the adjacent room is tuning in. I kid you not. You just dont want to spend your honeymoon here.

I took my dinner at the Dragon Inn cafe. The food is nothing to shout about. After dinner i went straight to my room. Rest for a while then took my shower. God knows how tired i was, i sleep in no time. zzzzzz.

21 June
I surprisingly woke up quite early. Took a hot shower. Repacked all my stuffs. Went for the breakfast at the cafe. Not a buffet style, and you can only opt for tea or coffee, with our without milk/sugar, tagged along the banana fritters and kaya toasts. For a light breakfast eater like me, it's more than enough.

At 8am, on my walk to the office to attend the meeting, i was greeted by an officer from the dept.of fisheries, together with some students and a lecturer from um and usm. They happened to involve in that meeting too. So it's only natural to introduce ourselves to each other kan. 
Then we reached the office, went to the meeting room and waited for the dof director  for few mins. While waiting, i steal some time to look at the pics displayed outside of the meeting room. Mainly about fish bombing. The cases used to be were very severe in Semporna, that was before the seaweed farming was introduced in 70's. I shall elaborate more one day.

Fast forward.

Once the meeting was over, i went back to Inn to checked out. Brought all my stuffs and load into the boat. The activities on that day was to visit two potential areas of seaweed farming; Salakan and Sebangkat. Some datas were taken ie. depth of the sea in that area, amount of dissolved O2, amount of light etc. I'm not going to bored you with the data and sample collection. So let's fast forward.

We stopped at UM$ seaweed mini estate and research station in Sebangkat. This was my 2nd time visit. It is actually a wooden house with a wide platform, in the middle of the sea. It consists of 1 room, 1 so called living room, a kitchen equipped with kitchen utensils, a decent toilet with a door (thank God) but in the sea, you know where your 'wastage' goes to haha, a genset which is only switch on during night time and switched off before we dozzed off. No supplied water (duh), only rain water. That is vastly used for bath, for cooking, for washing dishes/clothes, in short everything that you normally do with supplied water. We bought 3 boxes of drinking water, a huge relief. And guess what, i stayed there for the remaining 4 days, and i'm the only female. Hardcore or not? heh :p. In the name of research, i shall perservere. haha bueekk.
Why on earth i opted to stay there? I can just stay in the hotel and travel back and forth to Sebangkat every day like last time but i didnt. The weather was a bit unpredictable during that time,i dont want to risk my life every freaking day spending 30mins twice a day in the boat knowing i might be struck with lightning, and the boat can flip due to strong current, add up with the strong winds. It's only for 4 days anyway,i can cope with that. hehe.

My first night in the station went smoothly except for three things; rat(s), mosquitoes and sandflies I remembered one advert in the TV, the main subject is the bodybuilder who cant stand the freaking mosquitoes fly surrounds him. Man i believe that now. And the sandflies are actually a 100x evil SETAN trapped in an insect body. The bites were itcccchhhhhyyyyy and worst, it leaves a freaking red marks like it bleeds, but actually it isnt. Not forgetting the rats, i dont know what's in their diet, they can push the lid of the pot and eat the remaining in no time. 
These explained my sleepless night during my first day. I just cant believed i am mentally and physically defeated by these small creatures. And oh,i sleep in the only room, the 4 guys were sleeping scattered-ly either in the living room or outside at the platform. It was a very hot night.

22, 23, 24,25 June
I was very busy conducting my experiments, so i have less time of doing other activities. The data collection  were taken every 1 hours from 8am till 5pm. Regardless of that,i can still cook in between teehee :)

simple dishes like these seems heavenly delicious when all of us were hungry. slurpp.

The 2nd dishes is a grapelike seaweed they called, latok or scientifically named as caulerpa lentillifera. You can eat it raw, or like me, i added some unripe mango (mangga muda lah,mau juga speaking london kan), squeeze in some lime to reduce the saltiness coz the latok here is veryyy salty. It taste gooodddd.

Once the experiments were done, i filled my time fishing with the guys. At night watching world cup with guys, rTm disappointed them many times. haha.

There's not much entertainment over here, less distractions and that helps me focus a lot in doing my job. However I felt really bored after i finished the experiments regardless of the never ending jokes from the guys and their ada ada seja activities. They even brought me to eat ABC, sell in the floating village nearby.

Will i stay here again next time? I will but after the last day of experiments, i shall leave the station and stay in the city. Boredom can literally kill me. And next time, i'll ensure i'll bring the insect repellent, and rat's poison or a cat. haha.

It was a good experience,it trained me to be resilient. When you have limitation to almost everything,it drives you to be more creative in solving problems. Thanks to the 4 guys back at the station. Oh i forgot to mention, one of them is my colleague back in UM$. Two of them are the Bajau laut, and one is Suluk. Not only i can adapt well with the condition, but im getting better with their slang too. haha.

Taken using my cellphone cam hence the quality. That platform belongs to the neighbor.

Reached KK at apprx 5pm. Penat but it is a fruitful experiments. And i miss the smell of my bed soooo much. Guess what, i have not experienced food poisoning or any skin rashes throughout the stays. Good thing :)

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