Flying DR Sri Aman
My friends jest that I was going to fly on a Flying Doctor helicopter when I told them that my next adventure in the air involves the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, the helicopter that is usually used by the Doktor Terebai team when they go visiting rural areas. I am no flying Doctor but if they want to put it that way I can be the Flying DR. Flying Deputy Resident - ha ha... they were not wrong anyway. Duty calls even if it was a Saturday, but hey, it was better than being involved in some street riots trying to protest against anything that fancies me, lets say insisting that we teach Science and Mathematics in Iban language. We will introduce to the whole world what our "Sepuluh Tiga" theory (10 for 3 also means 3 for 10 in English which is quite a Universal concept). Now due to economic slow down, the language is adaptable to economic flunctuations. it could be "Sebelas Tiga" now (11 for 3 or likewise). It is universally understood if one sits in a Sarawak Kopitiam and call a waiter telling him or her 'Sepuluh Tiga', they will know what to do - and in an instant your favourite ethanol liquid will be on your table. That's amazing Maths and Science Iban style! Anyway I hope to find some peace in the air while cruising in the air. I hope I won't find common Sarawakians battling anti riot Police about our lack of electricity and water supply in this part of Malaysia. Those in the other part of Malaysia have it too good that they will protest over tiny minor things. So its take off time now.
The Flying DR (Doktor Terebai) about to take off on Hornbill Skyways Bell 206 Jet Ranger. The photos after the map below are the scenes (enlargeable upon clicking) I managed to capture during the grueling six hours journey over Sri Aman Division.
The flight plan: From Kuching we will be entering the Batang Lupar River through Triso and we will follow the contour of the river bank to cover the development at the the coastal areas, and finally at Sri Aman before proceeding to Engkilili, Lubok Antu, Batang Ai and back through the Klingkang Range on our left while passing Lachau, Pantu and Sungai Tenggang during the return flight
The pilot's control looks simple - its like playing some video game with that joystick except for the simple dials and meters that looks like an ancient computer. I tried to calm myself down before takeoff as I could see the air below me. Sitting beside the pilot I would be able to monitor the way he moves the pedals and control stick - a fast way to learn how to fly. The ideal situation will be for the pilot to go easy on the joystick like control when in the air. If he starts shaking it as if he is playing some Playstation game then one can start panicking.
About forty minutes into flight, we were passing through the Batang Lupar River entrance over Sebuyau, which is part of Samarahan Division. The entrance is marked by the small Triso Island in the middle of the river mouth.
Then as we fly onwards, we cruised along the wide Batang Lupar river (with the Garmin GPS on the control board guiding the pilot through the flight path)
If one looks at the Sri Aman Division map when travelling from Batang Lupar river bank stretch the first small river one gets to see is the Lingga river, and there one will be able to pass over Lingga Town. This place is famous for the Terubok fish and prawns.
Pulau Seduku - the famous Island in the middle of the Batang Lupar river can be seen after passing Lingga. If one remembers the video of the Benak Clash I posted last week, the pehenomenom of Benak Clash happened at the X spot I made in the picture (notice the sandbar) above.
As we crossed Seduku island we managed to see the birds below flying in a beautiful formation over the Seduku Island farmland.
The Seduku village which comprises of 105 plus families which will soon be relocated when Seduku Island is turned into a Wildlife Park
Across Seduku Island is the Bakong village - the resettlement of the Seduku folks will be near this area
We continued our flight along the Tanjung Bijat area, and the pilot kept close to the river bank
What's left of the 16 doors longhouse of Rumah Gendi at Sungai Semilang area, Tanjung Bijat can be seen from the air. The house was destroyed by fire last month 3 Feb 2009 as reported in Utusan Sarawak
Next we proceeded to the fertile farmlands of Stumbin area - another potential area for the Rice Bowl of Malaysia
It was not long before we reached Sri Aman town as we approached from the East part of town and Kampung Hilir area was clear in our sights
Circling one end to the other, this is the view of other side of town - the flyover over the road at the left corner leads to the Hospital
Another view from across the town - the brown building at the lower left is Hoover Hotel or Everise
One must not miss the view of Sri Aman's icon - the Peace Doves and we managed to catch a glimpse of it at high altitude
Hovering past the new Sports Stadium Complex, our heli passed the old Sri Aman Airport - one can still see the runway behind the sports stadium
Since the stadium is near my rented house I decided to get a clear view of it from the air. We passed by the SMK Sri Aman area and its fun to see my neighbours there rushing out as we flew low to allow me take some snap shots.
The smaller town of Engkilili was the next destination
We managed to catch a glimpse of the District Council or the Majlis Daerah Lubok Antu (green roof) and the new Engkilili Sub District Office still under construction next to it
Due to report of rainfall in the vicinity the pilot decided to fly direct to Lubok Antu using another route and we managed to reach Lubok Antu approaching from thhe water front park
The well known bridge that links the town along the Lubok Antu water front area
What is set to be the icon of Lubok Antu town is the two tall buildings which is part of the Lubok Antu Police Headquarters structure. This skyscraper (since its the tallest buildings in Sri Aman Division) will add to this small town's landscape.
Another view of Lubok Antu town
Border town development is set to be another important component for Lubok Antu. The cleared area above is going to be the next Custom, Immigration and Quarantine. One can't help noticing the other side which is pretty much developed (with a dual carriageway completed) is the Indonesian side ~ Badau. Tourism is expected to be the mainstay for the area once the CIQ is completed.
Next was the famous Batang Ai Dam - I suppose this scene is the area's landmark aka trademark
Another view of the dam from the other side
Over to Batang Ai Resort now - fancy kayaking in the middle of the large Dam water body?
The Hilton Batang Ai jetty
The heli view of the resort - that swimming pool looks inviting
Thus all good things must come to an end as our helicopter flew back to Kuching, passing by the SALCRA mill in Lubok Antu
The weather was not on our side as we passed through the Mount Hossana Church. We had to be back by 5 p.m due to the gathering dark clouds
Pockets of rain clouds and some light rain can be seen from the heli around the Kelingkang Range - one can see the Highway not far
My previous posting on the Entulang Danau fire which destroyed a longhouse in this area a few months ago needs some repairing in terms of links. One can see the state of the area from this picture. Further details of the fire can be read in Utusan.
The Pantu Bazaar
Sungai Tenggang - another famous rest stop just after the adminstrative boundary of Samarahan and Sri Aman
Blogging and Updating Facebook status from 1000 ft in the air
That is about all I can share about my flying adventures as a DR Terebai. After my last post on Desmotion, I seem to be getting queries about mobile blogging or surfing. I would have to say its still in an infant or preliminary stage in Sarawak. Most of the posts made in my Desmotion blog are for experimental purposes. I am looking at the quality of the pictures taken and adjusting them to VGA as a high resolution picture takes time (say 2 to 3 minutes) to upload. The process is that once you are about to post, there must be connectivity as the phone will be looking for it when you hit the 'Publish' press button. For example, as I am taking good pictures and typing out my report in Sri Aman, the helicopter would have moved to quite a distance by the time I finish typing and there could be no line connection. If there is reliable coverage, its good for making instant posts for one's blog as the details of the event will be fresh in the mind. For example, one will be able to cover some protestor groups who are championing the idea that the Chicken comes After the Egg and its not the Egg that comes after the Chicken. Through this instant blog posts, accessible to millions of other Internet users, it will prove to the whole world how Globalised the Malaysian mind is... oh wait... maybe the right word I should be using is 'Glocalised'. Obama will recieve the newsfeed in his Blackberry.
Back to the topic - mobile blogs will only pick up once there is reliable connectivity. I managed to make a few posts from the air when there was Celcom signal. On top of that, one must also have a good mobile equipment with blogging features or online capability (most 3G phones have this I notice). At the moment the Sony Ericsson P1i manages to deal with simple posts and the Qwerty keypads are quite manageable. The only thing that it failed in was the battery life as with an 'always online' state, the most I could use it was 5 hours. One needs an extra phone for making calls versus using it for online activities.
Back to Glocalised: Gosh... I am tempted to form a protest group and we can shout our lungs out at Sony Ericsson's dealers here in Kuching about their lack of R & D in battery life. Some people will be telling me, get some extra battery la, its only RM38 la.... but not original la... compatible one. Malaysians - we always have answers and solutions for everything. Glocalised? No.. Go Loco (crazy) maybe more appropriate. Let's Glocolise people....arghhh..tear gas in my eyes.
Hmm.. the Hilton Batang Ai really inspiring, even for another Sarawakian like me.. I had an idea *light bulb light up*... :-)
btw, your blog post is not updated in my blogroll. I wonder why..
Jingpengboy - the possibilities of development :) if Labuan can have a bridge line the Second Penang Bridge, it can happen. With the 10th Malaysia Plan coming up by 2010, it could be in the pipeline as each Divisin plans their development and submits it to the Federal Government,
lain kali bring me too... :D
me and cyril... kekekeke
And, I believe Lubok Antu will be the border town to check while passing by the "Inner" Borneo Highway - soon!
Keep up the excellent post!