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Bario, Miri, Sarawak trip @ 25 – 28 Nov 2011

December 3, 2011 1 comment

Fast Forward – Bario, Miri, Sarawak trip

Haven’t update the blog for quite awhile. Recently attended a trip to Bario. Incase you wondering, Bario is a Malaysian village located in the centre of the Kelabit Highlands in the north east of Sarawak, very close to the international border with Indonesian Kalimantan, and 3280 feet above sea level. It is the main settlement in the Kelabit Highlands (Wikipedia).

I’m honored to get asked to join the trip, a bunch of photographer, myself, and strangely, i brought smurf along. (One couple – husband and wife to be more precise, 2 guys, 4 girls and Smurf, 8+Smurf)

The plan is where we take a flight from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Miri, then from Miri, we take another flight to Bario. I bought my flight tickets months ago online, as agreed, we fly Airasia from KL to Miri, and Malaysia Airlines (Mas Wings) from Miri to Bario. Same goes with the flight back to KL from Bario.

Airasia to and fro, KL – Miri flight cost me around RM500, while MAS to and fro, Miri – Bario flight cost me around RM250. Now i have to admit, initially i’m having doubts with the flight expenses, it is technically more expensive to travel to Siam Reap or any neighbor country destination.  Having doubt then? Now no more.

I brought all my luggage (A Crumpler’s Customary Barge and 6 Million Dollar man)to the office on 25th. Attended a briefing and left my office somewhere around 2.30pm in the afternoon, my flight was somewhere 7.30pm that evening. Having lucky to be approved for a half day leave, i get the opportunity to visit the nearby photography store for a final shopping before the trip. Obviously i knew what i needed, i packed a CPL filter and a new Sandisk Extreame SD card and moved on to KL Sentral. Managed to catch a bus which transit directly to LCCT (Low cost Airport, where Airasia Fly).

It’s a sleepy afternoon, so needless to say, i sleep the whole journey from Kl Sentral to LCCT. Upon arrived, as usual, i checked in my Customary Barge (its too big for hand luggage) and waited the others.

Fast Forward – KL – Miri

We flew from KL to Miri that evening and arrived at Miri somewhere 10.00pm. We checked in into a small hotel at Miri town to spend the night until tomorrow earning morning flight to Bario. Well, the night didn’t end there as we roamed the street for food. Surprisingly, Miri is not as Night going as we thought, most of the shop / restaurants close for business even on Friday night. Amazingly, there’s not a single Mamak Stall. Well, what can we say about different culture. I’m sure KL was buzzing every minute of Friday night. Finally able to found a restaurant that still open for business, and we served our-self plenty of Noodles.

Fast Forward – Morning at Miri

As you can see from the picture at our right. Miri do have an amazing sunrise with purple cloud. The air seems fresher and the sky seems wider. Too bad we’re rushing.

We didn’t even have time to take any breakfast as we rushed to the Miri Airport for our flight to Bario. We witness the sunrise at Miri that day throughout our journey from Miri Town to Airport. Amazing.

We are asked to stand on the weighing scales at the Miri airport checking counter to make sure that the plane does not get overloaded.

Since many of us haven’t consume any breakfast yet, we get our breakfast at the Penang theme restaurant at Miri Airport.  The nasi lemak ain’t bad, but suprisingly i can’t finish them.

Fast Forward – The Departure Hall @ Miri – Bario

Waiting patiently at the departure hall. Our plane from Miri to Bario is those 16 seater twin otter planes, which i have a picture upon touch down at Bario.

From what i read online, on normal days, when passengers are few, the plane will be full of goods get piled onto empty seats, along the aisle of the plane.

“The flight across from Miri to Bario is a wondrous sight. The birds eye view of Sarawak’s jungles below, the Mulu National Park demarcations, the Murud Peaks, Batu Lawi and the small villages + longhouses dotted around in remote parts of the upper reaches of Baram – all can be seen from the tiny windows of the twin otter.” (http://www.journeymalaysia.com/MH_bario1.htm)

Fast Forward – On the flight from Miri – Bario

 Fast Forward – Bario – Arrived – Touch downed

 Fast Forward – Bario – Blue Sky, Green field

 Fast Forward – Bario – This is where we stay – Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay

Fast Forward – Bario – Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay – Borrow pic from Angeline

 

Fast Forward – Bario – Green & Yellow

Fast Forward – Bario – Food

Fast Forward – Bario – More Sky @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – On 4WD

Fast Forward – Bario – Flora & Fauna

Fast Forward – Bario – More Sun & Sky

Fast Forward – Bario – How bout some Sheep!

Fast Forward – Bario – Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay – Sunset


Fast Forward – Bario – Sunset

Fast Forward – Bario – Light Painting @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – Sunrise at Mount Prayer @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – Church at Mount Prayer @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – Scott aka Apoi our Guide @ Bario

Fast Forward – Bario – More Green

Fast Forward – Bario – More Blue

Fast Forward – Bario – Red Church – Building in progress

Fast Forward – Bario – HornBill, Not Kill BILL

Fast Forward – Bario – Long House

Fast Forward – Bario – Last Night

So far, you have seen plenty of pictures throughout my journey at Bario. We visited the salt factory as well as the Penan Community. I didnt capture any picture on both occasion.

Now, back to the last night at Bario. After the long house, we spend the dinner with Scott aka Apoi at his family long house, we have dinner the traditional bario way, the fish was nice, can’t stress that enough. As always, there’s plenty of wild boar, I have like 3 bowl of rice. Sadly, this will be our last night at Bario.

Early morning the next day (28th), we woke up early and have a final breakfast, before Scott transporting us to the Bario Air Terminal. As mentioned in some other article online, we need to pay RM10 service tax per pax (FYI). Our flight back to Miri just on time. We said good bye with heavy heart. Come back again one day we should.

Fast Forward – Bario – Bario – Miri

One thing to note, our flight stop at Marudi before continue to Miri.

Fast Forward – Bario – Long House

We arrived at Miri somewhere lunch time. Our flight back to KL at evening 7+, so we have plenty of time at Miri until the flight. We have our lunch at one of the local seafood restaurant. Next stop, we visited The Old Lady (The first oil well).

Fast Forward – Miri – The Old Lady

Fast Forward – Miri – Seaside

Fast Forward – Miri – KL

We arrived at KL somewhere 10pm 28th.

Final Thoughts

This trip (2 days 2 nights at Bario, 1 day 1 night at Miri) cost me roughly RM1400 inclusive of all flight tickets as well as food and accommodation. With the same amount of money, i could probably get a trip at Siam Reap with longer stay. But no amount of money could substitute the experience of visiting Bario.

Time at Bario past so slow, as everything seems so relax and slow pace. The grass here looks greener, the sky here looks bluer, even the air here breath cleaner.

The hike to Mount Prayer to see the sunrise is definitely a challenge for me, and others who are not so used to hiking. Although i’m inclined to say that there’s always better place than Bario for sunset, but the experience of seeing sunset at Bario were enough to mesmerize me.

The trekking into the salt factory was not so appealing to me, mud is every where and the factory is mere a hut with plenty of log nearby with its source of salt well where the worker will burn the salt water with fire to get salt. It’s pretty hard work, that is the reason why Bario salt is so pricy. But in truth, visiting the salt factory is one thing that you could skip if you decided to visit Bario.

Now, for the Penan people, they are poor and living their own way. Our group brought some food, sweets as well as stationary for kids. It’s pretty heartbroken to see them being rejecting the modern civilization. It will takes more than food / sweets / stationary to educate them the importance of education, modernization for them. They may remain with their belief and culture, but they could have done it in a way that accepting education for their kids. I’m so sad that i don’t feel like taking any picture of their young ones who don’t even wear clothes in full.

Transport at Bario for us is either walk or 4wd.

Homestay – we stayed at Ngimat Ayu’s Homestay, with the host Scott, aka Apoi being real friendly and helpful to us. The stay were cozy, each night around 3hours of generator and electricity. It does make me realized what a waste we were back in City wasting so much electricity, while the likes in the rural area don’t have enough.

The bath were “refreshing”, it’s cool of course, but after a day trekking or hiking, it really takes away all the tiredness. I hard Scott gonna install water heater soon, but, imo, its not an issue at all.  Sleep wise, i spend the night at a room with 2 single beds. Pretty clean and cozy. Food, we have plenty of Bario rice, wild boar and some local traditional food. Not much to complaint.

Long story short – it’s a very good experience, money well spend.

For more of my Bario picture see here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephanchan/sets/72157628236844815/

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Old school Beef Noodle!

June 21, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: FUN

World of Warcraft – DK in 4.2 – Buff, Nerf, Facts, Speculation, Unholy, Frost and Blood, yes i mean Blood!

June 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Ok, With patch 4.2 coming to World of Warcraft in the coming weeks, we saw frost DK getting getting nerf to the ground. Words from mmo-chammpion suggested that Blizzard is done at this point and i aspect no more further chance to the patch notes. Making me a really sad panda.

So far latest patch notes (June 16, 7:16 p.m. PDT.) suggest the followings:

1) Obliterate base damage has been reduced to 150% weapon damage, down from 160%.
2) Hungering Cold now has a 1.5-second cast time.
3) Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases two-handed weapon damage by 3/7/10%, down from 4/8/12%.

4) Unholy Might now increases Strength by 20%, up from 5%.

5) Glyph of Dark Succor has been redesigned. Rather than placing a 15% maximum health floor on Death Strike healing while in Frost or Unholy Presence, it causes the next Death Strike within 15 seconds after killing a foe that yields experience or Honor Points to heal for at least 20% of the death knight’s maximum health (still requires Frost or Unholy Presence).

6) Death Knight Bug Fixes

7) The talent Killing Machine can now properly be triggered from off-hand attacks as well as main-hand attacks.

Now, it’s some pretty straight forward change, frost dk doing too much damage, while unholy dk doing insufficiently as compare with frost, and the rest of the nerf, especially those to frost dk, mostly due to PVP reasons.

Blizzard recently explained the reasons on many of their changes. (I copied their comment and incorporated them into the post, for the sick of completeness)

They added the cast time to Hungering Cold for PvP reasons. Blizzard quoted: “It is one of the most powerful forms of crowd control in the game, especially in Battlegrounds, and yet was impossible to prevent.”

The nerfs to Obliterate and Howling Blast were made because Frost damage was too high in both PvP and PvE. Note that these values were hotfixed — you shouldn’t see damage drop further when 4.2 goes live.

The Glyph of Dark Succor change was to keep Death Strike from providing so much healing in PvP.
The Might of the Frozen Wastes change was a small tweak to help keep one-handed Frost relatively competitive with two-handed style.

The Unholy Might buff was to help catch Unholy up to Frost in PvE.

Now, I see 3 things in PVP perspective, 1) Frost DK doing too much damage and controls hence Blizzard nerf it, 2) DK healing too much with Death Strike with its Glyph, 3) Blizzard want to promote dual wield Frost, fan service i assume.

Since it’s no point QQ”ing the changes, lets look at some potential solutions available for DK next season / patch.

But before that, there is a few things which is essential for you to understand about DK:

1) Without the current Deathstrike Glyph, Dk probably will get train all games, and without the massive deathstrike self heal, it will be very hard for dk to keep up the health pool.

2) Frost DK will do even more damage next patch, due to + stat in new tier of gear, due to frost main damage skills correlate with weapon damage.

3) With Unholy might buff, Unholy DK will probably par in terms of damage with frost in 4.2, however, with the buff to Paladin in 4.2, we could see more Paladin in arena and hence limiting the usefulness of Ghoul (cc’able), as well as many of the bugs associates with pet.

4) Frost will get bigger burst windows than Unholy Dk, due to unholy DK massively rely on its pet and its flying companion. We could argue, more consistent burst available by Frost, however, more consistent damage by unholy due to death advance.

Now, since we’re done with some basic speculation, here’s some potential solution to Dk in 4.2:

1) Reroll another class, pretty straight forward yet a very hard decision to make.

2) Play Unholy – Pretty straight forward too, direct buff to unholy might makes unholy come back in 4.2, this compliment well with the new tier of gears that give more strength stat, making this very good buff.  However, as i mentioned earlier, the rise of Holy Paladin, will makes it a nightmare for unholy pet.

3) Play Frost – Now, this is down to personal preference. I play frost in 4.1, and always a fans of frost dk. Why frost you may ask. Well, besides the obvious disadvantage i mentioned in 2) about holy pally,  and about frost DK correlation with weapon damage. This allow new tier of weapon, enhancing frost DK even more. The nerf to Hungering Cold make it difficult for grip+hungering cold, but its really not a too big deal, 1.5 sec cast is fast enough. Even if it get interrupt or silence, great, you just give your healer some breathing space.

Now, how can mastery stacking frost DK compromise? I would like to try a haste stacking frost build in 4.2, this is my views, with more haste, you get more flexibility for more deathstrike, you get faster cast for hungering cold, you get more chain of ice. Now, dont get me wrong, Mastery stacking may still work, just in my opinion, with the buff to healing crit in 4.2,

“All healing critical strikes now heal for 2 times a normal heal (+100%), up from 1.5 times a normal heal (+50%).”

In 4.2, Burst might no longer work, hence frost Dk might fall into a more supporting role. More  chain of ice, more interrupt, more of everything, more self heal too with deathstrike. And if your one of the desecration frost DK (I am one of them), you help your teammates on massive slow effect too with more necrotic strike, more mortal strike effect and slow.

4) Now, what makes me wrote this uber long piece? Well, i read a post at AJ about Blood Dk feasibility in 4.2, many condemn the idea, but… but… it sounds interesting.

Now, here’s why:

a) Dk gonna get train alot in 4.2

b) No more.

What’s good potentially about a Blood pvp spec. Some one mentioned about Blood Dk a joke if the other team realized it’s a Blood DK and not attacking the DK. No attack to Dk, hence no vengeance stacking, it means little damage boast. So, what is a good pvp blood spec for 4.2?

I envision its gonna be something like this:

http://www.wowhead.com/talent#jMGzfsdrksz0hZfM

The spec is mainly focus on dealing damage, sacrificing many defensive talents.

2x blade barrier is sufficient to advance to tier 2

1x scarlet fever and no points in Scent of Blood

1x in Sanguine Fortitude, 2x in Blood Parasite, and 2x in Improved Blood Presence

1x in Will of Necropolis, no point in Crimson Scourge.

Frost tree: 3x Nerves of cool steels, Unholy tree: standard desecration with Virulence

Now, imo, Duel Wield Blood DK gonna blossom with this spec. Blood bakes cake (BBC) gonna give 30% chance on melee attack for extra 25% weapon damage and potentially more damage with disease on the target. Now with DW, its gonna be more BBC. Extra damage also comes with Blood parasite, and with DW, more worms gonna spawn and also potentially lessen your healer pressure to heal. Although i’m not sure, Blood worm heal might subject to the crit heal buff, making it even more tastier. 3x Nerf of Nerves of cool steels allow extra damage for offhand and lesser hit rating require. Giving more room for other damage stats. Now, the combination of Toughness and Bladed Armor + new tier gear makes a minor buff to Blood damage. Moreover, Abomination might, also gives additional 2% strengths buff. Coupled with desecration, the slow effect will help closing in your target and help your team in many ways.

Now, this is something not confirm, i read in AJ thread and i recalled too i read it somewhere in MMO-champion, Dancing Rune Weapon deal 100% damage instead of the current 50%, now that’s potentially massive damage buff. Now before you get over excited, this changes is not in the official patch note, so, lets pray.

Now, this post is long enough, what are you waiting for, go use up your stack up conquest points and get your self dual wield one handed weapon.

Ah, lastly, don’t flame me if my speculation gone wrong.

Flower girl

June 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Flower girl by Stephan Chan
Flower girl, a photo by Stephan Chan on Flickr.

I snapped this photo quickly after she found me taking pictures of her. Although a bit out of focus, curiosity = priceless

Back to Blog 6 – Photography – The most intriguing hobby

June 18, 2011 Leave a comment

To make long story short, please allow me to sum up my feelings.

I bought a new DSLR, a Nikon D5100, beginner camera, not long ago, weeks after it finally released in Malaysia. The camera came together with a 18-55mm kit lens, which cost me RM2300.

Then i got the chance to join a photography beginner workshop and happened to be given a chance to shot photos at real human model. she’s pretty, and i felt shame for taking bad pictures.

Although the camera came together with a Nikon camera bag, I had decided to spend RM380 for a Crumpler Camera Sling bags, in the end, its definitely money well spend, since im now more confident carrying my camera everywhere, with my bag together, at least, a camera bag that doesn’t looks like a camera bag.

hmm, then i waited for the released of new Nikkon lens 50mm 1.8g, its a fast lens. I tried to get the best price from the net, through forums and stuff, in the end, after numerous asking around, i finally settled with a purchase from Foto Selangor at Pertama Compleks for RM650. Its damm cheap.

Then i took my camera to work, and spend the friday evening after work tried out the lens at downtown Petaling Street. Took tons of picture, learned that i cant set the same f/stop for every shot. Then i learned that i must stay steady with the camera, else its easier to get blur. I blame my amateur technique, I blame the lowlight, (since its dark, evening), i blame the moving subject, and although the picture looks nice to my amateur eyes, i get feedback that some picture being out of focus. I cant deny the fact that its really out of focus.

I’m going to get better. Snap more picture. haha. ok, so now, very happy with the new lens. I’ll keep you up to date once i learn more about this hobby.

Oh yeah, this is the main reason why i stopped buying figures. But then if Hot Toys release Batman / Joker 12 inch, i cant guarantee i won’t spend.

Time will tell.

Airasia Investment

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

/guild A unique integrated savings account that works harder than a cow. Account that lets you earn weekly interest and mail to you everyweek. Attractive interest rates starting from 5% weekly for deposits  above 1,000 gold. pst for more details.

This mail will act as the agreement for airasia investment programme, this is to accept 1000 gold of your investment, with promise of 5% interest every monday after a week of loan. the 1st interest payout will be on 22 november 2010. this offfer valid until 14 november 2010. by accepting the cod suggest that you accept the T&C of the programme. for more information. pls consult lina/moko/aisasia.

thank you.

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Coffeenottea – The beginning of a guild

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

ok. here’s the deal, i am able to psycho my real life mate into allowing me making a new guild in our current wow Taiwan server, naming it Coffeenottea. Its a fairly small guild at the moment, manage to squeeze in ten guild signature and successfully creating it. The guild aim to be an english spoken guild, with goals to achieve sustainable and remarkable result in cataclysm rated battleground as well as 10 man raid, which provide the same level of gears, much like the 25man version. With the limited resources (limited guild member and newly level 80), there is plenty to work on, but with one eye on cataclysm, there is no time to waste. This is gonna be a long long journey, and with Jaina blessing, it shall be a fruitful one.

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