Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pulau Manukan

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Pulau Manukan is a small island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu where we spent a day. It's where I had my first para-sailing experience. (feels like floating; not scary at all) Others jet skied and snorkeled.

The island off in the distance. Jason filmed most of our trip. I've yet to locate the footage.

Arriving on the island

This was our little reserved spot on the beach.

I really dug the table centerpieces

This shot is for cat-lover Kristin.

I went for a run in my flip flops along a cobblestone trail in the jungle. This lookout point wasn't the sweet destination I hoped it would be.

A couple scenes from lunch

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Our event was held at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu, on the Malaysian side of Borneo. It's a tropical island, very humid, and apparently in the rainy season, since it rained almost every day we were there. The grounds of our resort were beautiful.

The beach, not so much. Kind of a death trap, according to this sign.

The spa, where I received an amazing massage.

Relaxing on the balcony of my room

View from my balcony

Me with the girl who greets guests with music as they arrive

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Malaysian Food

I ate a lot of delicious meals on my trip, some photographed, some not. Here's a sampling:

I believe this was a lamb curry with a vinegar salad. I ate A LOT of curry on this trip, almost daily. I never get tired of a good curry.

This fruit and cheese sampler was waiting in my room the first night.

This is the famous Mangosteen fruit, of which my companies product is derived from. They are quite good in their natural state too.

So this meal wasn't that great, but it was still interesting. I missed the 'before' show, when everything looked prettier. This is the 'after', which shows you how big of a hit it was at our table.

While I'm not a regular fan of Coke, or Coke products in my regular life, when traveling, I subscribe to that old wives tale about Coke having the capacity to kill off any bacteria or scary germs that 3rd world food might contain. It's not so bad when served in a frosty glass with lime.

This was my favorite dish of the trip. A seafood trio comprised of ahi tuna, salmon, and a scallop. The fresh mango salsa was to die for.

The beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection, but the lobster tail tasted more like a crawfish.

This dangerous looking dessert was scrumptious.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Running in Malaysia

Not a good idea.

I plotted a 7 mile route on Google Maps this afternoon. It was overcast and rainy outside, so I figured this would be my best chance to survive the heat. Only 81 degrees out with 90% humidity. I brought along my smaller fuel belt, some money, and my room key. First mistake: realizing I forgot the paper with my directions a couple minutes into the run. Second mistake: thinking I had a good enough mental visualization of the map inside my head.

Turns out it probably wouldn't have mattered either way, as street signs are pretty scarce. I think I stayed the course for about 2-3 miles. After that, it's a mystery. Since I'm chalking this up as one of my worst runs ever, let me start with some of the positives before I go off on any rants.

Malaysian people are friendly. Men and women of all ages will shout out English greetings as I run by. Some get in a few sentences. "You are jogging. It is raining outside. You are getting wet." It got me thinking about how strange that would be if we did the same thing in the US. If we yelled out "Konichiwa" at every Asian we passed, or "Hola, Como Esta" at Latin Americans. It would be down right offensive. But in less integrated society's around the world, it's perfectly normal to shout out English words at any white person you see. It must seriously piss the French off.

It rained most of the time, which helped keep me from overheating.

I got in 11-12 miles instead of my planned 7.

I didn't get seriously injured or killed.

OK, so those are the good things; here are the not so good:

Traffic. I couldn't escape it. Cars are everywhere, and the exhaust was oppressive. It's like trying to run while breathing through a tail pipe. My throat was burning by the time I finished.

Sidewalks. When they have them, they are in always in a state of disrepair, and oftentimes covering a sewer drain below. Large holes appear out of nowhere. Half the time I was running on grass and dirt paths beside the road, inches from traffic.

Rivers are normally very scenic to run along, but here they stink and are filled with garbage and sewage. In fact, trash is everywhere. Almost everything is in a state of disrepair except for the handful of fancy resorts.

Right of way. As in most 3rd world countries, cars have the right of way. If you get hit, it's your own fault for not being more careful. They won't stop for you. I'm pretty good at being aware of my surroundings, but...

In Malaysia, they drive on the left side of the road, so I had to remember to run on the right side so I could see traffic coming. But sometimes, the left side had a sidewalk, so I'd switch, and then in a moment of forgetfulness, I'd forget which way cars were coming and have a few close calls. I wish I could have had a mounted video camera with me to record the miracle that was making it back in one piece.

In the US, people walk in the same fashion they drive--meaning we usually keep to the right side so those coming in the opposite direction can pass on our left. Not the case here. Dodging other pedestrians on the sidewalk, especially those with umbrellas, often resulted in a little side to side action before passing.

I mentioned the lack of street signs and that I forgot my directions, so I quickly became lost, which for some reason always results in me running much further. Never shorted distances. Once I knew for sure I was lost, and I was out more than an hour, I stopped at a market to ask directions.

Those were good enough to get me in the vicinity, but I got lost again and found myself in a really poor neighborhood along the coast. Wooden walkways led out to little homes built on stilts above the water. These people would have no chance if a bad storm hit, let alone a tsunami.

I asked for directions again, and the girl hesitated before pointing down a tiny road. I soon found out why. It led to the beach that lies between the stilt village and the Shangri-La. The beach was covered with garbage of every kind. There's no trash service--just the rivers and ocean. Very sad. Ran along the beach, dodging iron scraps and broken bottles until I reached a dirt trail through a jungly area.

It was getting dark and just as I emerged into one of the outlying parking lots and could see the hotel in front of me, a bug flew straight into my eye. It stung like mad, and I pawed and poked to try and get it out. I dumped the last of my water into my eyeball, hoping to wash the critter away.

Ran to my room and jumped in the shower where I let more cold water flush out my eye. Took about an hour before it stopped hurting. I was gone for 1 hour 48 minutes. By the time I was showered and dressed, I realized I was running late for our cultural dinner & show. Rushed to the lobby, but the bus had already left. One of the bellmen said they had left 5 minutes ago and called a taxi to take me there.

We caught up to the bus and passed them, so I arrived 5 minutes early. I merged into my group after they arrived, and it seems nobody had any idea I was even missing. Which, is kind of sad. I need to work on making more of an impact.

So, I'm glad I got in a long run, but there's no way I'm doing 20 outside. Breathing in that exhaust and flirting with a hit-and-run is not worth it. I'll see what I can do on the treadmill instead.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Heading to Malaysia

I leave for Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia tomorrow. It's located on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo, facing the South China Sea. It's often referred to as KK, and moving forward, that's how I'll be referring to it. It's considered a tourism getaway in Asia, and especially Malaysia.

I will arrive on Tuesday and leave Sunday--hopefully enough time to check the place out and get in a 20 mile run on Saturday. It was 88 degrees today, but felt like 99 degrees with the humidity, which was at 70%. That will be a problem. Should help with my training for the Honolulu Marathon next month though.

I love Asia and am excited to add Malaysia to the list of countries I've visited there: China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan. Stay tuned for future posts & pictures from my trip.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Minnie and the Gorilla

I spent Halloween with the Emig's. Since Joey had to work late, I accompanied Cali and the kids to a chili dinner at her brother's house and then some trick-or-treating.

We started out as a big group,

But soon it was just me, Cali, Minnie, and the Gorilla.

I was impressed with CC's bravery. Some of those houses were scary. But then again, candy was on the line.