Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday night

My weekend started with a bang and escalated to frenzy heights. Come Saturday morning, partially hungover, I got some work done, ran errands as instructed and slept the day away. Sunday was productive during the a.m (i woke up at 7am mind you) and mellowed through the day as I got more stuff done. It's 8:30pm and I'm trying to get one more article done cuz i'm trying to stay up late. For tonight...

Arsenal meets Chelsea.

I'm not a hardcore football fan but i do enjoy the occassional game. For the record, I am an Arsenal supporter, simply because they play beautifully. Ok, Van Persie might have something to do with my interest (it used to be the pink-haired Ljunberg, heh heh).

Go Gunners!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Out of tomorrows.

I get plenty of fwd mails, especially those "Woe to he who does not forward this to 96 people in the next 20 seconds!" kind of e-mails. But I have to say, sometimes I do get forwarded e-mails that make you go hmm.

A couple of days ago, one of them told a story about a woman who always saved her special dress or perfume for a special occassion. She didn't want to 'waste' it by wearing them on a regular day. Well, one day she died and she never got to wear that dress or perfume. And her husband decided her funeral turned out to be that one occassion she was 'saving' all her treasures for.

Wow. It was just a lightbulb moment for me. How many times have we put something off or taken something for granted because there's always tomorrow? Or we're always waiting for the 'right time' to tell someone something or to do something meaningful. Why can't we give flowers just because or tell our parents we love them for no reason at all?

It's a scary thought, to die tomorrow and go, "Oh crap, I shoulda woulda coulda..." I'm not being fatalistic here but we rest on the thought that we've got a good 50 years on earth. Praise the Lord if that's the case but don't get too cocky I say. I could walk out of my office building and a signboard could fall on me and I'd die on the spot, none the wiser. And then what? Have I told the people I love how I feel about them? Have I said sorry to the people I owe apologies too? Have I forgiven people who have hurt me? Have I finished editing the magazine for the January issue? I still have a black dress hanging in the closet with its price tag on and I'm saving it for a fancy party or important event. What if that 'event' never comes around?

It scares me. The thought of dying now. I may bitch about work and the weather and life in general...But nothing is so horrible that life is worth ending. I still have things to do, places to see and people to meet. It's so easy to take everything for granted. If I had to make a New Year's resolution, it would be to not wait for tomorrows when I can do it today. In fact, I'm not even going to wait for the New Year - I could be dead by then. Ok enough morbid thoughts. So if I start hugging you on the street for no apparent reason, kindly ignore my crazy outburst - I'm just having a 'c'est la vie' moment.

Don't live in yesterdays and don't count on tomorrows. You have today.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Dear Job,

It's been exactly four years and a day since we got to know each other. And what a ride it's been. Remember when we first met? I didn't know what to expect but I was lucky to have great colleagues to help me learn the ropes quickly. So much to learn and do that sometimes I felt it was such an uphill battle I would never win.

But through it all, it was important I got to do what I love most: Write. And I later learnt the icing on my cake was the travelling. Oh wow...the places you brought me to! Everyday, I fall in love with Sabah more and more. I love the Tip of Borneo...

And Mataking holds a special place in my heart...

I was actually embarassed at how little I knew about my own hometown! Thank you for opening my eyes. I've also had the chance to see other parts of the world - in your own special way, you created amazing globe-trotting opportunities for me.

Mel does Macau!

Along the Chao Praya river in Bangkok, back in 2004

Fuji-yoshida, Japan in 2005.

Your network is amazing. I can't rave enough about the wonderful people I've met through you. Sure, there have been characters that proved...challenging...but I guess that's what makes being you more colourful. Remember the time I met Ian Wright? It just blew me away to be in the same room with him. Now HE has a dream job!
Sure it hasn't always been easy. Gomantong cave and its roaches will be forever etched as the most terrifying moment for me! Wences, not helping.
I remember working on my birthday at the Tip of Borneo, but being with great workmates made it all worthwhile. Sometimes stress takes its toll but with the right equipment and right people in the office, there are remedies as you can see:

But I must say...I can't complain about other aspects of you, Job. Heh heh. As you can see, it's a tough life sometimes but someone's gotta do it!

My favourite event each year, the Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon. I'm gonna miss the 4am wake up calls!

But the biggest blessing I've had in the last four years is the great bunch of people I work with. Yes, we have our moments but I couldn't ask for a better 'family'. I will miss them greatly.
The Sabah Tourism Women's Futsal Team.

The 2004 Annual Staff Party at Blue Note

Every year, not a single birthday goes by without a thoughtful gesture from my colleagues.

Welcoming 2007 with the most fun-loving and hardworking people I know. They taught me the art of working hard and playing harder!

If I've ever been ungrateful, I'm sorry. The truth is, I will always look back and count my blessings having met you along my path. You are more than a Job to me - you bring me more satisfaction than you'll ever know. Oh, and I do have to thank you for one more thing which I get to keep:

Happy anniversary, Job.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A change will do you good.

It's been a season of changes. The end of the old and start of the new and a time of exploring other pastures - not necessarily greener, so some of us discover, just...different.

I don't cope well with change. My idea of being different is ordering milo kosong instead of lemon teh ping at the coffee shop. That's as daring as I can get most of the time. But I also realise life cannot and IS NOT static. Change is inevitable and whether we like it or not, it's going to happen. I suppose I relish the security of predictability and routine. I like waking up at the same time everyday and knowing my route to work at the back of my hand. I like knowing the best chicken rice can be found in Lido and so help me God, if the stall moves, my life will be in shambles.

But as sweaty as palms get when I think about it, change will happen. Bad news, good news, lightbulb moments that make me go, "Wow, how could I have missed that?" Yesterday we received bad news about 'change' in the office and today, my colleague (who has been working here for 7 years) is saying au revoir to us all. Just seeing her empty desk gets me all choked up. And being at the brink of change myself freaks the hell out of me. Some of you may know that I'll be leaving my job in less than a month *don't ask why/where/what/how/who, all will be revealed in good time* and as the days pass, I'm entering panic mode. Things are CHANGING as we speak. I start to doubt myself, my decisions, my direction. Anxiety mixed with excitement can be quite a nauseating experience, let me tell you that.

Will I survive the 'big bad world' outside my safety bubble? Am I packing my bags for the right reasons? Will I be happier or at least as happy as I am now? Fact is, I realise, I won't know the answers unless I get off my scaredy-pants ass and do it. It could be one huge disastrous mistake but on the flip side, it could be the best thing I've done in my 28 years of existence. Worst-case scenario, I'll move back in with my family and spend weekends talking about the meaning of life with my cats. Hey, life could be worse...

The best comment I've heard so far is, "Think about it Mel...You plan to be the editor for the next 10 years?" Ok, fair enough. There's got to be something else out there - it could be better, it could be worse but one thing for sure, it'll be different.

I guess I'm just learning that change isn't necessarily a bad thing - but it's definitely necessary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here and there.

Well looky here, November is almost ending. Where did the year go? Not that I'm complaining. Haven't been blogging, seeing that I had places to go, things to do and people to meet. Which is a good sign that I'm 'living'. My cousin Patrick came down from Manila and brought his friends along. So of course, am always happy to play the 20-cent tour guide.

Kevin, my 18-year-old cousin, me, Glen and Jonathan outside Cock & Bull after numerous beers. These people can DRINK.

My cousin Patrick. Ain't he a cutie?

And then I was kept busy preparing for this over the weekend...Time to doll up!

...I clean up good don't I?
Events like these are always a combination of work and play. Just when you think never the twine shall meet. Anyway, it's a night where outstanding players of the tourism industry are given due recognition. Some of the honours went to Nexus Resort Karambunai for Excellence in Hotel Services for 3,4 and 5 Star hotels/resorts, the Sabah Museum for Best Tourism Attraction (Non-nature) and *drumroll please* Cock & Bull for Best Entertainment Spot, beating out favourites to win Shenanigan's and Blue Note. Heh, what a night. The district of Kudat won the Cleanest District Award once again and I thought this was well-deserved. Seriously, check out Kudat and you'll see what I mean. Why can't KK be that clean?
Having taken hours to get dressed up means this is one night everyone transforms into a cam-whore to immortalise how 'done up' we look. Exhibit A: Yours truly with Hezrina.

I love how boys get dressed up once a year (or in this case, every 2 years). Look Ma, a TUX! Left to right, Zachary, Charlie, moi and Walter, taking a breather while everyone else is doing work, heh heh.

Of course, the fun only truly begins at the after-party. Roland and me at Blue Note. Intoxicated just fine. And no, I don't know how that bow tie got there.

When the Powers of Three combine...You better shut your bars. No worries, Dann was the designated driver of the night. I may drink but I'm a responsible drinker, ehem.

Finally, in other updates, Alicia Keys rocks my world. I bought her latest CD (hey original ok, not those scratchy RM10 ones...) and although her single, No One, is much-talked about, I unexpectedly fell in love with track no. 6, "Lesson Learned", which she collaborated on with John Mayer.

"Yes I was burned but I call it a lesson learned..."

You tell 'em Miss Keys.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I need a drink.

It's been my mantra for the past seven days and today I VOW not to have one. And I'm not talking about your average joy juice here. I'm not proud with my drinking spree but it's been one of those weeks where everyday is a 'I Need A Drink' Day. Somehow, I find comfort in my glass of *insert alcohol beverage here* and it just sweeps my troubles away. I'll drink till I reach just the right amount of 'happy' and I go home and sleep all my troubles away. Someone said that somewhere inside me is an alcoholic in denial but I don't think it's that serious. I just like my drinks. Perhaps it's because during all my troubled times, I've resorted to the bottle and eventually, I get back to my normal state (whatever that is) therefore, I associate solving problems with drinking.

Ai, doesn't sound so good once I see that in writing after all.

But no, I don't need professional help and I know some of you are concerned. I just like my drinks - especially coupled with good company and reliable drivers, ehem. An ex-boyfriend once told me, "This too shall pass" (as he did, haha) and it's a good reminder whenever things get tough in life. So in the meantime.... Cheers!

If only happiness really came in a box...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Judgy McJudgypants

Mother Teresa said "If you judge people, you don't have time to love them."

We all do questionable things in our life. Things good girls shouldn't do. Things that are not morally acceptable. Things that are just, well, not right. Sometimes it's intentional, other times it really is an innocent mistake. I like to call it a 'learning curve'. It's like that old cliche: If you don't make mistakes, you'll never learn. Or sometimes you just need colour in your life, heh(A friend said I just enjoy having drama in my life. Yeah ok, I just love the sleepless nights).

I can count the number of people who have been there for me through my most 'questionable times' on one hand. Actually, on two -maybe three- fingers. Thank you for being there through my turbulent moments and for accepting me even when I make bad decisions. Thank you for hearing me out even when I say absolutely nothing. Thank you for 'layaning' my emotional roller coaster. Thank you for saying things I need to hear eventhough half the time, we both know I already know it. Thank you for being there for me no matter what a shit friend I can be at times.

Most of all, thank you for not being a Judgy McJudgypants.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Quickie Friday.

Sorry haven't had the time (and inspiration) to blog. Life's been busy busy busy but in a good way.


1. Sabah Tourism Awards coming up! It's crunch time, lots to finish up. And my dress isn't quite ready.

2. Deadlines. What else is new.

3. Went to watch 30 Days of Night. Boley la. I just remember feeling cold throughout the movie.

4. Waiting for Beowulf to open.

5. Blanket is doing much better but I keep him caged up because he's starting his wandering ways again! He just doesn't learn.

6. I'm stressed out about moving, leaving and turning a new chapter.

7. I find comfort in a quick drink or two with friends.

8. I can't wait for Christmas!

9. I'm going for a Swedish massage today. I'll let u know if I survive.

10. I like the Jordin Sparks song, Tattoo.

There you go. Ten things in my life right now. Be right back!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Horror movies. I love 'em. I am also the biggest scaredy-fridaycat. Yeah, quite a combination, i know. Those near and dear are always amazed at my morbid fascination. "You know you won't be able to sleep with the lights off for days...Why do you still wanna watch this?"

I dunno baaah....I just want to! So in the spirit of the Halloween season, here are some of my favourite horror flicks and with the right company, I'd like to watch them again!

So classic, so cheesy, so good. If you haven't watched this, please do.Best scene: When the girlfriend gets possessed and she starts giggling in her white nightgown. Gave me nightmares for days.

The Silence of the Lambs series is the bestest ever. "Quid pro quo..." said Hannibal Lecter. In my opinion, he is the SCARIEST villain ever simply because he's the kind of gentleman you'd invite over for dinner. Then again, he'd probably be having YOU for dinner. Check out the other parts of the story: Hannibal Rising, Red Dragon and Hannibal.

My ex-boyfriend (boo!) introduced this to me and I loved it (yay!) . I also fell in love with Cillian Murphy here. The storytelling is great and I've never been fond of zombie movies but this is definitely my favourite undead film.

If you don't know Pinhead, you don't know what you're missing. The first Hellraiser is still the best. I'm looking for the DVD so if anyone sees it in KK, let me know! The movie gets pretty gory but lovely to watch on a stormy night and minimal lights.

It's a love-hate relationship with this one. The sight of Linda Blair still gives me the heebie jeebies. And now...I bring you...

I can't wait for this baby to open here. Enjoy your screamfest!

Friday, October 26, 2007


I was talking to a friend yesterday and bringing up the past brought me back to a time when this song felt like my mantra. That aside, I still think this is an excellent song. Now I can't stop playing it on my mp3!

by Natalie Imbruglia

I thought I saw a man brought to life
He was warm, he came around like he was dignified
He showed me what it was to cry
Well, you couldn’t be that man I adored

You don’t seem to know, don’t seem to care what your heart is for
But I don’t know him anymore
There’s nothing where he used to lie
My conversation has run dry
That’s what’s going on

Nothing's fine, I’m torn
I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
You're a little late, I’m already torn

So I guess the fortune teller's right
Should have seen just what was there and not some holy light
To crawl beneath my veins and now I don’t care,
I have no luck, I don’t miss it all that much
There’re just so many things that I can’t touch, I’m torn
I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


My cat Blanket got hit by a car. There was blood everywhere but not a scratch on his body. The blood was coming out of his mouth and nose. I was freaking out, almost hysterical and I didn't care about the rain. I managed to call the vet (it was past opening hours) and begged him to open the clinic. God bless his soul, he did. I rushed there and I couldn't watch him work on Blanket. He said the cat was hit in the head but there didn't seem to be any brain damage as the cat could still stand up and walk around. His left eye is bulging out and the worst case scenario right now is that he could go blind on one side.

But he'll be fine.

He's at the vet for now, under observation and drip, cuz he can't eat or drink. I've been visiting him everyday, as much as I can. Everytime I see him, I start to cry. I'm sorry I didn't put you in the cage earlier that night but I thought you were in the living room. I'm sorry I decided to feed you late that night, or else you'd be home safe already. I love you so much and I dunno what I would do if I lost you. I can't sleep at night until I know you're home with me. I promise not to leave your side till you're up and running again. And I'm going to buy you a new 'home' to sleep in instead of that ratty old cage. Get well soon!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mel goes fishing!

Yep, another infamously delayed post but I've got photos, yay! So I went deep sea fishing a couple of weeks ago. It had been raining felines and canines and to be honest, I thought it was a crazy idea to go out into the sea but, hey, I'm just writer, what do i know about the sea?

Our boat was called Magic Moments and we departed from the Sutera Harbour Marina at around 8:45am. Bad news: It looked like rain *but* Good news: It wasn't scorching hot. Win some, lose some.

Here we are, leaving the jetty. The sea still nice and calm. Our 'sifu' for the day, briefing us on the itinerary and what to expect. "Ok, siapa mau muntah, just lean over the railing..."

My colleagues, Rie-san and Melina, still looking 'ayu'. Ok, so far so good...

I popped in a motion sickness pill (instruction says to take it half hour before we hit the sea) jusssst in case. Our journey was Mengalum, a fishing spot some two hours from the jetty. So what do you do to kill time? Take a picturegraph! Me and David, trying not to turn into the various shades of green as seen on his shirt.

The clouds looming ahead did not look promising. In fact, the ride got bumpier and the waves were definitely getting bigger. I could almost hear everyone's stomach churning and I was gripping my seat so tight, my knuckles turned white. Mr. Boatman advised that it wasn't a good idea to head to Mengalum (thank God, I couldn't imagine going through that ride for another hour and a half!) so we detoured.
Once there (don't ask me where, we didn't have exactly have signboards to show the way...) , Sifu showed us the what, when and hows of deep sea fishing. "This is a fishing rod. If you 'champion' like me, you can use one hand only to hold...see?" heh heh. Once the boat stopped, it starts swaying and bobbing around even more so let's just say the fish in the sea had plenty of .... regurgitated food to eat that day.

Howeverrrrr....This little missy got so excited about reeling up some fishies that she totally forgot her seasickness. Heh, yes ladies and gents, fridaycat was puke-free for the day. Hurrah!

So everyone did the fishing thing. Note: Fishing is not for the impatient and obnoxiously loud. It takes a lot of patience and sometimes, you could fish for 6 hours straight and catch nothing but a cold. Or....
...You might actually catch something! Ala kecil lah but puas hati I got something. This was my 3rd fish for the day and I was one happy cat. Just don't ask me to gut and clean it. Ugh.

After many moons and many suns had passed (ok la actually it was just four hours), our sifu showed that he was not only Super Master of Fishing, he was also Grand Duke of Culinary Skills! Yep, lunch was served on board and I tell you, a day out in the sea can really build up the appetite. But here's the real treat for the day:

Talk about fresh from the sea! I kid you not when I say this was the most delicious piece of fish I had ever had in my life - tender, almost sweet, succulent and oh so fresh. Of course, also because I caught one of them la, heh. Hey, how often can I say I caught my own meal?
There you have it, just another day at work. I gotta say I really enjoyed this trip albeit the rough sea. Stay tuned for more adventures of the Fridaycat kind!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tick tock.

I love the smell of babies. If you don't already know what a freak I am, I love going to the babies' department in any shopping mall and just 'inhale' the baby stuff. Does this mean I WANT a baby? I don't know. Just when I think I want one, the reality of it sets in. I have plenty of friends and colleagues who have babies/are having babies and the more I talk to them, the more I realise I'm probably not ready. The 9 months of pregnancy, the labour (wowee the labour stories still give me nightmares), the 3am feeds, the cost of a tin of powdered milk...

The sad truth is also that probably I'm still too focused on 'me', let alone care for another tiny, helpless human being. I've still got things to do, places to see and moments to experience before I commit myself fully to starting a family. Many of my friends and relatives 'love' reminding me of my age and that I shouldn't wait too long - you know la, the whole 'time to have kids' speech. What they don't realise is everyone has their own pace to follow and they don't see the bigger picture. Sure, it's great to get married and have the whole 2.5 kids thing but I'm not going to do it because I feel it's 'time'. I'll do it when my partner and I want to. The last thing I want is to rush and have children and end up resenting them because I wasn't ready.

Yes, I do envy my friends who have settled down with their babies and doting husbands (ok, some of them have doting husbands anyway...) but I believe all that is a natural progression that should be, well, natural. There is no rule set in stone that says marriage and kids complete your life and we should learn to respect the choices people make. Some of us marry at 24, some at 44. Some have kids, some don't. Some are fulfilled just being on their own. We listen too much to what the people around us say and never really ask ourselves what WE want.

My point? I want to get married. Eventually. I want babies. Eventually. But right now, I'm pretty happy with the direction of my life and although sometimes I hear the tick tock of my clock a bit too loud, I simply drown it out with the beat of my own drum.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You're rude.

Rudeness. It majorly irks me.

Almost everyday I encounter rude people. Most days, it's nothing big so I can let it slide. But it's the people who are constantly 'kurang ajar' that I feel like bitch-slapping till kingdom come. The worst part is, they don't even notice it. The WORST excuse for being rude? "I just talk like that, I'm not being rude." Yeah, right.

I'm not perfect but if there is one thing I take pride in is my conscious effort to be as diplomatic, considerate and polite as possible. To a fault really because I notice how so many people take that for granted. Because I'm nice to them, I become a doormat. Bloody hell. Hey, just because I can talk to you nicely doesn't mean you can keep pushing my buttons you know.

Yesterday, the Rudeness Meter just reached its limit for me when I called up a friend of mine. First of all, who answers the phone with, "Ya what?" And my questions are answered with a monosyllabic, "Mmm,mmm" or "Up to you laaah". WTF? I wanted to bring this 'friend' out for dinner and this is the response i get? Some friend he is. After I hung up the phone, I felt so annoyed that I decided to text him and tell him to forget it. I made some excuse about being busy and went home and had a delicious bowl of maggi mee asam laksa. Plus my cats proved to be MUCH better company.

No offence here but I notice some Chinese friends in particular have this very 'rough' way of talking and when I told them this, they say the typical line, "Aiya all Chinese talk like dis one!" Ohhhh ok...So because the majority of you sound damn rude and you KNOW you're rude, that makes it okay la? Hey, I have Chinese friends who can talk nicely ok, so that is NOT a good reason. (For the record, when I hear this particular Chinese friend talk to his clients on the phone, he makes Queen Elizabeth sound rude - so yes I am sure he is capable of talking nicely to me if he wanted to).

And since I'm on a roll, I know a couple of workmates who have the worst phone etiquette. Whenever I call their office, they answer with, "Yes?" or "Ya?" and when I ask to be passed to someone else, no 'hold on'. Just an annoyed, " Nah for you" in the background. If you know who you are, LEARN SOME MANNERS.

I hate rude people. Hate hate hate hate. I make an effort to be nice and it hasn't killed me yet. So if you don't know how to talk nicely to me or were raised in a barn, don't associate yourself with me. Some people say the only reason it gets to me is because I'm too sensitive. Well, you know what?

I'd rather be too sensitive than rude any day.

Monday, October 01, 2007

In motion.

October 1st 2007 marks the day I'm finally putting my plans in motion. I'm excited yet anxious. Happy but I'd be lying if I said I didn't a twinge of sadness. Did I make the right decision? Is my timing right? How now brown cow? I can't believe how fast the year has flown by. Which also translates to: Yay! and Alamak!

But today I finally had to do it. Watch this space, I'll keep everyone posted!

I'll leave you with a weekend photo:
Guess who went deep sea fishing?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Satu Kepala

Why It's Important To Have Friends On The Same Wavelength...(as seen on Yahoo IM)

fridaycat13: i'll probably regret never taking diving lessons (for free lagi tu) years from now.

fridaycat13: then again...

fridaycat13: maybe not.

Selina Yapp: u know mel, if you go for diving lessons

fridaycat13: so scare oh.

Selina Yapp: i'll have to go too

Selina Yapp: yeah, freaky

yo.graham: ha??

Selina Yapp: i'd rather have gills implanted

fridaycat13: ya its beautiful and all...but i find it so scare la.

Selina Yapp: and kasih webbify my feet

fridaycat13: ya me too sel.

Selina Yapp: cool

fridaycat13: let's get gills

Selina Yapp: then we can outswim Yo

fridaycat13: and stay underwater longer

Selina Yapp: and then and then we cari penguin and train it how to imitate yo

yo.graham: i'd rather learn diving than get gills and webbified feet

fridaycat13: aha Yo, BUT...

fridaycat13: we only get webbed feet and gills when we WANT to dive.

fridaycat13: TRANSFORM!

Selina Yapp: Yeah!

yo.graham: kha khu khi kho kha

fridaycat13: *kook keek keek kook kook*

Selina Yapp: kur kei ker kee koo

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mel's Great Sukau Adventure

As promised, I am back with photographic evidence of my trip to Sukau. FYI, Sukau is in Sandakan, a wildlife haven along the banks of the Kinabatangan river. Just google it la. And now I bring you, picturegraphs!
It started with an invitation to the Abai Jungle Lodge few months ago (ok in May. Yes, I am a proscastinator) and I finally found the time to haul my ass to Sandakan. And boy oh boy am I glad I did! Anyway, me and six other colleagues made our way to Sandakan at 7:30 am and upon arrival, we made our way to Sepilok Forest Edge Resort, mainly to do an update on the new tourism products in the area.

These are some of the lodges. I was quite impressed at how well-maintained they were and the surrounding greenery is really nice.

We had breakfast there, followed by some really purpley dragon fruit. I was hoping it would be sweeter though. Oh and the host shared some interesting info: The fruit turns your poo purple, so don't panic. *erm, ok*
And then we were off to Abai! It's roughly an hour by boat from the Sandakan Jetty at Jalan Sim Sim. L-R: Jungle Mel, Angeline (her first trip to Sandakan, woo hoo!) and Jusliah.

Our humble abode in Abai. So quiet and jungle-y. There were macaques right outside our lodge.

After lunch, we were off on our first wildlife cruise for the trip. Basically, we cruise the riverbanks with our guide - Junior- in search of the 'local residents'. The nature guides have AMAZING eyes. I couldn't spot half the things they spotted.

One of the earliest things we saw were a family of macaques. Hi cousin! Turns out we didn't have to go far to look for monkeys....

...I spent the whole weekend with a bunch of them. See background for proof.

The next morning, we visit the village, Kg. Abai. The lodge has a great programme whereby local villagers actively participate in tourism activities. For example, Abai Jungle Lodge has a Tree Planting activity where visitors donate RM1.00 to plant a tree in their name and the villagers are in charge of the programme. From the programme, the participating then gets RM10.00 in return from each tree planted. It's a win-win situation: sustainable development at its best with the tourism industry giving back to the local community. The tour agency, S.I Tours, have even helped some young scholars through university while many find career opportunities working in the lodge or with the company. Cool huh?

Another 'not-so-wild'life of Sukau. The Lazinus Sleepingnuss Feline.

I planted a tree! Grow big and strong my little one...

This was the existing public toilet in Kg. Abai....

And now thanks to Sabah Tourism Board, this is the spanking new toilet facilities! Me so proud.

Anyway, I'm not meaning to show off but....WE SAW ELEPHANTS! An amazingly rare sighting. In the wild and in the flesh!

"I'm an efelun...See me swing my big trunk."

And then it rained. Yolanda still sempat squeezing in a smile before getting drenched.

Enden I get to do what I'm never allowed to do back home...MAIN HUJAN! i'm playing in the rain, nyeh nyeh. Pneumonia schumonia.

Heh I found this funny. This is what happens when everyone gets excited and they rush to the side to check out the spotted animal. "Oooooops...relax everybody...back to your seats...We'll turn the boat around."

So yes, I had a blast. I don't have much wildlife shots, I relied on the photographer du jour on that - his camera more canggih. I leave with a shot of my group in our sarongs - The lodge had a rule: No sarong, no dinner! It was a fantastic trip - made new friends, saw ELEPHANTS and the like and it was just great to be outdoors. Till the next trip!