Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 everyone!

My 100th and last entry in 2011! Less than one more hour and it’ll be 2012! How time flies! The old year had been a good one but here’s hoping 2012 will be an even better for everyone. Good health is the number one thing I’m wishing for, for myself and for everyone else out there! Got to stay healthy for more fun adventures ahead!

I went hiking quite often in 2011 (and in years past) but I didn’t post or write about my nearly weekly treks like I used to, no time for that anymore! Perhaps in the future I’ll share at least one or two photos in quick, short entries.

Looking forward to the new year; got more exciting trips and treks lined up! Besides my weekly treks with my outdoor friends, I’ll be heading to Mulu again very soon, then to a few more places in Sabah and northern Sarawak.

The photo above was taken the day I nearly passed out (see A Good Dose of Vitamin D) while hiking in the hot sun! It shows a tall hill planted with padi huma or hill paddy in southwest Sarawak. I really admire the farmers who work these hills and tend to their crops in the sun every day!!
Anyway, here’s wishing everyone a wonderful year ahead and thanks for dropping by my simple blog!

Durians, durians, and more durians!

Got to get this entry out before the new year arrives! The durian season is nearly over here in Sarawak, still see some fruits being sold by the roadsides but not many. Shot these photos recently but didn’t have the time to finish this entry until now! All photos taken with my Sony X10 Mini Pro cameraphone so not the best quality but pretty decent for a cameraphone.

This small Perodua Viva (or was it a Kancil?) was driven by a durian seller, he had unloaded some of the fruits for sale before I took this photo. His car was initially packed nearly to the ceiling with durians!! I shudder to think what would have happened had he had to slam on the brakes in an emergency. Snapped this with my cameraphone but when I got home found out the file was corrupted and couldn’t be transferred to my laptop. Ended up snapping a photo of the picture displayed on my phone which explains the really poor photo! :)

Durians for sale at the Serian Pasar Tani (farmers’ market). Lots for sale the day I took this photo but the other photos couldn’t be transferred from my phone (corrupted files).

“Wild” durians (red-fleshed) for sale at a farmers’ market. See:

Durians for sale at the Serian farmers’ market. These aren’t your regular sweet durians but are the “wild” or yellow, thin fleshed variety. I’m guessing Durio kutejensis, see photos below.

More “wild” durians sold by a different vendor (Serian market). I’m no durian expert and I’m really just guessing based on the shape of the fruits and appearance of the flesh, but this could be Durio kutejensis. 

Close up of the flesh. We did buy a few fruits, the flesh is mildly sweet and the smell isn't as overwhelming as your "regular/commercial" durian but I can understand why they're more of a novelty fruit and less popular. They're not as tasty.

Iban women along the Kuching - Sri Aman road selling durians collected from their farms by the roadside.

The women were selling their durians in tamboks such as this. They refused to sell just one or two fruits but insisted we buy the entire tambok; asking price for this one was about RM45 with about 6 or 7 fruits in it.

Our own tree produced just TWO small fruits this year, pretty sad! I took some shots of the last durian to drop but have forgotten where I saved the files! LOL Oh well… I’m really hoping we get more fruits next year. I’m no fan of durian but I’d eat the fruits from our own trees as they’re very tasty!

Coelogyne swaniana


The Coelogyne zurowetzii I posted earlier isn’t the only coelogyne flowering in my garden, I have one large C. swaniana (above) flowering too, flowers on their way out, though. Try google Coelogyne swaniana Sarawak Lens to look at my other photos of this very beautiful and fragrant species. Also, few weeks ago, many of my C. asperata produced several fragrant inflorescences.

Coelogyne zurowetzii flowering in my backyard

Here’s that beautiful Coelogyne zurowetzii I promised, looking very wild! No, this wasn't photographed in the jungle. This was shot in my backyard!

There are actually two divisions here, I tied them to this mango tree in my backyard about 3 years ago. The smaller division flowered about two weeks ago while the larger one just finished flowering. Also tagged to this tree is one Dendrobium anosmum and a large clump of Epidendrum. I’ll be tying two or three more species onto it over the next few days.

Here’s the larger division in flower. Grew from a 3-4 psedobulb cutting. It’s actually still quite small; slow growth as I don’t fertilize it regularly. In fact, since tying to this tree, I think I’ve only fertilized once, also never watered, basically just leave them to fend for themselves like in the real jungle. Would be larger with more bulbs if the rain and nature didn’t claim some new growths.

And this one’s the smaller division, note the old spike from about two weeks ago in the centre of the photo. IMO, if you have a large garden with trees and you live in the tropics (lots of rain!) then this is the best way to grow tropical orchids - just tag them to trees!

It is easily distinguished from other similar looking species by the very flat p-bulbs and scentless flowers. The pbulbs overlap one another giving the appearance of some kind of multi-segmented invertebrate. In fact, some locals call it the “centipede orchid”! :-)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bulbophyllum sp.



Don’t recall the name. Currently blooming. Quite a big clump, probably has flowered a few times before but because I have it under a shady mango tree away from the main shade house, I might have missed the flowers.

Not the only current bloomer, got one nice species dendrobium too, forget the name, but didn’t take any photos. Flowers were already quite old when I found it in bloom which is a pity ‘cause I’ve actually been waiting probably since 2007 to see the flowers!.

Then there’s that beautiful Coelogyne zurowetzii I mentioned a few posts down, will post photos tomorrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Samsung galaxy tab 10.1 indoor shots (Ipoh Town Kopitiam)

Here are some quick snaps taken indoors under artificial lighting with the tab 10.1 main camera which is a 3 megapixel shooter. There's also a front facing camera that takes 1600x1200 resolution photos. Am blogging with the bloggerdroid app which automatically resizes the photos. These should give anyone interested an idea of how the camera performs especially for quick blogging on the go. All taken in Ipoh Town Kopitiam.

From top, ice cream in a cup with flash, then without flash followed by one taken in night scene mode. Next, curry chicken in a bowl first with flash then without. Next pair, boneless chicken with rice and egg shot with flash then without. Last pair, indoor shot first with flash on, flash off. Last photo, ice lemon tea macro mode.

I've been using the Tab 10.1 for about a week now and I must say I find it an invaluable tool for checking emails, web surfing and typing or blogging on the go. The long lasting battery which goes for about 10 hours per charge is great for taking it on the road!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mobile phone macro shots (with macro lens attachment)


Believe it or not, the orchid (Trichoglottis sp.) photo above was shot by a friend using his Iphone4 and a cheap SGD10 macro lens attachment he got from Ebay. But before you rush out and get one for your IP4, know that you’ll have more misses than hits just because it’s difficult to hold the phone steady for macro shots (applies to other small compatible phones as well). In good light however, the combo is capable of producing some decent macro shots you’d never expect from a mobile phone!


And this close up shot of a Rhinocerous beetle was taken with the same lens attachment on my Sony X10 Mini Pro.

The macro lens attaches by way of a strong magnet so it’s compatible with only a handful of phones. It can also be used with the original Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet.

Considering its very low price, wouldn’t hurt to have one in your pocket if you have a compatible phone!


Finally got my Ruffles fix. Best potato chips on the planet! Used to start my mornings with a small pack of ruffles. But they're hard to find and darn expensive here in Kuching. So far, have only found them in Ta Kiong, the Spring. They're a lot easier to find in KL and of course, Singapore where they go for about SGD4 per bag.

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Wordless Wednesday #9


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Paphiopedilum sp. finally flowering

Got this one from a friend a few years ago. I don't remember what it is anymore, maybe Paph. niveum. Long wait has been worth it as I found two buds this morning, a nice surprise. Ironically, my other paphs which I planted properly in ochid pots with suitable media have not fared well, most have died off due to rot and other diseases. This one however, I simply inserted in a cut PET bottle with natural moss from a tree; not only has it survived, it has started to flower too!

I'm hoping there will be more side growths after the flowers fade. I think in the two or three years I've had it, I only fertilized it once. It is kept away from rain and watered only two or three times a week. Sheltered from rain or not, my other mottled leaf paphs don't do well either way. They're such fragile things and also why I've stopped adding to my orchid collection since a couple of years ago; just too much work and heartache when they get infected by diseases or attacked by pests such as spider mites.

Will post more photos once the flowers open.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

I seriously need to repot this Coelogyne mayeriana!

I really need to do something with this one! It’s outgrown its small pot by several pseudobulbs. The long roots from the “hanging” p’bulbs trail down and have fastened themselves onto nearby posts and pots.
Got this one as a three bulb cutting from a friend a couple years ago. That small pot is its current home! It never fails to flower from every new growth.
Think I’ll just cut it up into two or three sections and tie them to my trees. Got a C. zurowetzii I tagged to a tree some years ago and today looks really wild! Will post photos of that one next.

Christmas chicken


Not turkey cause we no like turkey! Stuffed with mashed potato + spices. :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What, it's Christmas already?

How time flies when you're having fun! Been a wonderful year, here's hoping 2012 will bring more fun and adventure, more treks into the jungle and many more mountain trips! It'sa wet wet morning, here's a shot of the orchid house taken just moments ago. The rain is getting heavier and heavier with no signs of stopping so not sure if we can have our outdoor Christmas BBQ this evening... Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ba’kalalan rice fields


Can’t wait to return to the Kelabit highlands next year! Very scenic place. This time, we’re going earlier in the year so hopefully the scenery will be different. Perhaps different species of plants in flower too.

These photos were taken last year when we attempted to climb Mount Murud but only made it to Church Camp due to bad weather. Still, we had a wonderful time and I enjoyed every single minute of my time spent in the highlands.


If you’re thinking about visiting Bakalalan, don’t think, just go! :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chung Tze Seafood, Kuching

Located near RH Plaza (behind Siang Siang Cafe), BDC, this is one of our favourite chu-chau when eating out in Kuching. Food is delicious and prices are very reasonable. Lots of people during the weekends and public holidays so come early or there won’t be any empty tables left!

We often eat here and last night we had salted egg crab, lean pork with salted fish, belacan midin, Vietnam style prawns, haisiam teng and fresh coconuts.

Salted egg crab, simply crabtastic!

Vietnam style prawns (mildly spicy). This was very nice, sweet-sour, spicy, a bit like tom yam to me.

The ever-popular belacan midin, a type of jungle fern popular in Sarawak (considered one of our signature dishes along with kolo mee, Sarawak laksa, umai, terubok etc.).

The only disappointment… haisiam teng (sea cucumber soup). Bland and watery.

Yummy-licious lean pork with salted fish, we never miss ordering this when we eat here.

Almost every table was full, the outdoor tables were empty cause there was a light drizzle.

Total bill for 3 persons, RM90 on the dot. RM44 for the two crabs. Three fresh coconuts paid for separately, RM3 each.

Very satisfying dinner. :)

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