Friday, August 27, 2010


Miura san sent me some pictures of the "Hina-Matsuri" (Doll festival) held on 22 August in Iwatsuki city,Saitama Prefecture. These pictures remind me of the many "matsuri"(festivals) I experienced, especially the Hakata Dontaku,during my stay in Fukuoka in the 90s.
The display of the dolls.
Iwatsuki is a well-known city for fine wooden products such as chests, geta (a traditional Japanese wooden footwear) and dolls. The doll-making industry started in the 17th century and to day there are more than 300 doll workshops and at least a hundred doll retail shops.
Young children dressed up like dolls for the parade in the city.
Likewise, the adults.
Japanese festivals are colorful and interesting, complete with dances, music and parades.
The common sight at festivals throughout Japan - streets with filled with food as in this doll festival.
With such a colourful festival especially the "food", I am sure my friend enjoyed himself tremendously !!!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Yesterday, we decided to visit my home town, Tenom. It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get there through the Kota kinabalu -Kimanis - Keningau-Tenom highway.
Driving towards the Crocker Range from Kimanis.
The highway leading to the Crocker Range starting from here.
It was challenging to drive up the steep and winding road.
Foggy for most of the way as we made our way up. A brief stop at 30 kms point. Descending towards Keningau, then to Tenom.
We arrived Tenom just before lunch.
Tenom has a Tamu (Open market) on every Sunday. It is the venue for the locals to meet and trade. Live chickens for sell. The locals with their products
My main objective visiting my home town was to find my favourite "kampung" durians and I was not disappointed. They were not only cheaper than in Kota Kinabalu but of better quality.
We had a feast before buying more for home.
We spent about 3 hours in Tenom and returned via the same highway through the Crocker Range.
A view of the steep and winding road ahead. It was still foggy in the afternoon.
These were some of the fine Kampung Durians we bought.

We another round of the best when we arrived home.

We were tired but it was a good day visiting Tenom and enjoying the best kampung durians. We will do it again before the durian season is over.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The holy month of Ramadan, 30 days of fasting started on 11August. It is also the good time for non-Muslim to experience the Ramadan bazaar. I came across one in the Gaya Street yesterday. The stalls were selling all sorts of traditional local delicacies and popular home made drinks for the breaking of fast. The colourful Ramadan bazaar at the entrance to the Gaya Street in the City center.
You name it and they have it. You can buy a wide variety of food - Curry, Rendang, Kurma, BBQ, noodle, Nasi Goreng, Bryani rice, fried bananas, all kinds of local dessert and drinks and etc,etc.
Nasi BryaniFried noodle and Kuey Teow (Rice noodle).The BBQ stall
This once a year Ramadan Bazaar has become a tourist attraction. Many foreign visitors are seen "touring" and "tasting" the food at different bazaar spots in the city.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


On our last day in Brisbane, we spent the morning strolling in Mount Coot-tha Botanic gardens.These 52 hectare Queensland's premier subtropical botanic gardens are located 7 kms from the city centre. According to the leaflet, there are over 20 000 plants representing approximately 5000 species from around the world. I especially enjoyed the spectacular colours of the Arid Plants region and the Cactus HouseThey also have a Fragrant Plant and Herb Garden, Exotic Rain forest and a Japanese Garden.
The Japanese Garden
There are open spaces ideal for picnic to relax in a tranquil and beautiful environment.
Tropical Jungle areaWildlife could also be seen around the gardens. An Iguana by the side of the lake A rainbow LorikeetAustralian Wild Turkey The beautiful Polianthes. One of my favourites - The Camellias
The Brazilian red cloak.
The selection of hybrid roses - just beautiful....
We a had a great time discovering the wonders of these gardens. It was a good experience to see so many plants and flowers which were new to me.