The Brass Panthers

This photo was taken at our practice last Sunday. We have found a sponsor and uniforms are in the works. We have our third game coming up Sunday afternoon. I hope the rain stays away otherwise it'll be another muddy one. Go Panthers Go!

Tioman Island

In doing some research before leaving Taiwan, it seemed that accommodation on Tioman was limited as the island is densely forested and sparsely inhabited. According to Wikipedia, the island is located 32km off the east coast of Malaysia. It is 39km long and 12km wide. It was much larger than what I had imagined and it was all jungle.

My first day there I spent some time unpacking and getting acquainted with my surroundings. It was quickly noted that there wasn't much to acquaint myself with nor was there much to unpack. The following day, I took a walk over a jungle path to an area where the locals live. There wasn't much happening on that side either. The only road on this part of the island was a tiny one equipped for motorbikes and bicycles and not much else.

Snorkeling off the beach was fantastic. I was able to see sting-rays, turtles and barracudas to name a few. I was staying beside a place called Marine Park ... the life under the sea was amazing!

The following day was spent diving. I hadn't been out in over a year, so the dive guys took me to a few easy sites. In the morning we dove Soyak Island ... it was a nice easy dive with lots of great coral. In the afternoon we dove Renggis Island. We saw 4 sharks, a school of giant barracudas, a moray eel and a hawk bill turtle. On our 3 minute safety stop, the big turtle decided to hang with us. He came so close I could've kissed him five times or so ... where's an underwater camera when you need one?! It would've been amazing to capture.

Thursday, I decided to get up early and make the trek over to Monkey Bay. We had passed it on the dive boat the day before and it didn't seem like it was too far away. You can only reach this beach by boat or by trekking through the jungle. I awoke early and set out to beat the heat of the day. The place I was staying at had a sign that said the trek was an hour and a half and to follow the black cables.

I made my way over one part of the jungle and ended up at a private resort. I stopped for a bite to eat before heading on. I asked the guy if I was heading in the right direction ... he looked at my shoes and then asked if I was heading there alone. That should have been clue number one. As he sent me on my way, he reminded me not to lose site of the black cables.

A half hour or so into the jungle the path was becoming less and less, the denseness of the jungle more and more. I had my sights on the cable, but it was almost impossible to decide which way to go to remain with them. The jungle contained families of monkeys ... some daring you to cross their path ... giant monitor lizards scattering here and there ... spiders and webs everywhere ... eek.

For a brief moment I thought the jungle was going to eat me up ... I thought it would be weeks before anyone would find me ... maybe it'd be best to turn back. I didn't have a clock but I was sure I had to be more than half way there. I continued on, thinking I could flag a boat to take me back to my bungalows. What seemed like hours later, I arrived onto the beach. Not a soul in site. I took off my shoes and my clothes and jumped in the water to get all the webs and dirt off.

After hanging around for sometime, it seemed flagging a boat down wasn't going to be an option. My option was to trek back through that jungle. Four hours after leaving my bungalow, I arrived back on familiar ground ... muddy, sweaty and tired.

If you note on the above map, Monkey bay is located between Air Batang Village and Salang Village. The picture with the all the trees and a mountain or two is there for a reason. Next time, I'll remember to take a map.

A few more dive days followed along with a ton of snorkeling. So much to see, so many to follow. I observed a lot of the happenings under the ocean with a ton of time to consider a day in the life of a fish.

"The only difference between a rich person and a poor person is how they use their time."

Robert Kiyosaki

Larry the Lazy Lizard

Apparently I wasn't the only one using the room for the week. A night or two in ... it's the middle of the night ... I go to use the bathroom and there's a big lizard between the toilet and myself. He won ... I held.

Next morning, he had himself lodged in the roof like the above pic. We took note of each other and he remained for another day. Day two, I made some noises as I was trying to take some photos. His tail starting banging continually against the wall. Was he happy? Angry? I didn't really stick around to find out.

He stayed for another day so I guess he wasn't too concerned. I was thinking that it would be great to charge him rent ... these are the things that go through your brain when you have days on end to burn with nothing to do.

I suppose my life was a lot like his. I didn't jam myself up in the roof of a bungalow bathroom, however. I chose to swing in a hammock on the beach ... hours wasted. Or were they?


He said it ... this is exactly how I feel about being being back at work ... ahhh ... do I have to?

A new album has been posted. Check out the link on the right ------>

Journey to Malaysia ...

Monday April 2nd, 6:30am, I found myself waiting for a bus. Finding a bus to Mersing, Malaysia wasn't the easiest task but alas I was able to find a one-way ticket for $27 sing. The bus journey would take about 3 - 4 hours depending on how fast everyone could get through customs. A lot of the agents were trying to sell me package deals including ferries and rooms, but I declined. As the bus was getting closer to Mersing, the driver gave us some information. His information went something like so:

First, for the travellers that didn't purchase package deals, there are no ferries and no rooms. No ferries and no rooms? Oh no.

The other useful information ... don't trust the Indians. Apparently the bus driver doesn't have much tact. He said that people would be waiting at the jetties. That they would make promises that weren't true and not to trust anyone. Take all personal belongings with you at all times because if the Indians see you leave your bungalow, they would go in and take all of your things ... passports, cameras and even your clothes.

I'm sure at this point the whole bus was wondering where it is we had decided to go. Upon arriving in Mersing, there were no hagglers to be seen and there wasn't any trouble in purchasing a ferry ticket.

Arriving onto the island, there wasn't one single person waiting at the jetty to whisk me away to a crappy room where they would then steal the few belongings I had. I think a new bus driver is in order.

There weren't many options for bungalows, but I was able to find a nice hut steps from the beach for 35RM a night.

I spent 7 nights in this bungalow and befriended some of the local kitties. You'll notice one of them sitting under the chair in the above photo.

For now, that's all. I hope to get through the photos in the next few days. Getting back into the reality of the working world has been fast and busy ... I prefer the realities of vacationing.

Spoiled in Singapore

It's nice to be back in the land of fresh clothes, hot showers and flush toilets. I have a few stories to tell ... I suppose I'll start at the beginning.

Last Friday I awoke with my first sinus infection of the year. I wasn't able to get much sleep that night as I couldn't breathe. Six thirty Saturday morning came much too early.

The ride to the airport was quick as was the wait to board. It wasn't until I boarded the plane that I realized my seat was business class ... things were starting to look better already. My movie of choice was Night at the Museum. For those that haven't seen it, it's highly recommended. At one point I had tears coming down my face. The flight attendant came over to make sure I was ok. All I could do was nod and point at the mini TV ... I was afraid I'd scream out with laughter if I tried opening my mouth.

The descent into Singapore left me feeling a bit delirious. Due to the sinus infection, my ears weren't able to pop. I couldn't hear much out of one ear for the whole of Saturday.

I was heading to the Grand Hyatt hotel to meet up with a long time Canadian friend, Mary. She has a four month gig there. Needless to say, I took her up on the invitation of stopping over.

I spent two nights with her before hopping another 6:30am ride ... I was heading to what I thought was going to be a small island in Malaysia called Tioman.

There isn't much to say about Singapore. Mary's per diem treated us to an exceptional dinner and after that it was off to spend the night at Brix. It was a night of talented musicians, great wine and cool people.

The following day some time was spent cruising the MRT, Little India and Chinatown. I treated Mary to an Indian food lunch which was so so good. As the night before was a late one, we went down for another amazing meal at the hotel, watched a movie and crashed.

The journey to Malaysia would come up early morning. I returned to Singapore on the last night of my vacation. A great ending to another amazing holiday in Asia. Gosh I like this place ... seems one can never go wrong over here.