Friday, October 20, 2006

Borneo in 3 pictures

Tims parents flew to Vietnam today. Quite exciting...We'll be meeting them for the first part of our trip in Ho chi Minh city and Hanoi on Sunday. Johns taken his USB reading pen drive so the pics are afew weeks old. The ominous turtle pic is there but the monkeys and monitor lizard will have to wait for another time. The other pics are from a weekend where we went roaming conflagrantly round a bit of Borneo jungle for the day and found ourselves this cool swimming hole near Labi. We were the only ones there but apparently according to locals its got a lot of myths, such as the Labi crocodile, numerous drownings and is an area highly populated with pythons....the beauty of ignorance eh? We had a great time. We have a farewell party curtesy of the phili's tomorrow night, lots of charioke i predict. Will hope to post acouple of times in Vietnam. This is it for now anyhow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I would've posted some photos

Well its striking midnight here as i write...i haven't been able to even get this far on the blogspot pages for some reason or other for over a week...? I dunno, anyway I tried on the off chance now and I'm in so i'll write a quick bit. Sorry, again no photos. I have them here but again they aren't uploading, so....use your imagination, thats always better anyway. I would have posted a picture I have of the monitor lizard that lives in our backyard sometimes staying the night in the compost heap before heading back to the jungle stream thru the fence and is about 150cm long maybe, i would have posted a picture of monkeys that play in the trees most of the day by the carpark of our local supermarket and i would have posted a picture of a turtle on the edge of a pond with a crocs beady eye eyeing it up from behind.
I've just finished my last assignment tonight, now nothing stands between me and a BPHTY. cool!! thats been afew years work i spose. I've been reading "The Idiot" by Dostoevsky while i've been here too. I've really enjoyed it and enjoyed the window into 19th century Russia its given me, as well as the wonderful character of Myshkin that he paints.
So, Saturday is my last day of work, then we fly to Ho Chi Minh City the following morning for our "holiday". We'll probably spend a fair portion of our time in the north, hopefully get to the Chinese border. Then down to Cambodia from about Nov 1st. I'm looking forward to it and am interested to see how i respond to what I see. I'd say Vietnam and Cambodia will be the poorest countries I've been to. sweat shops and poverty have been something thats been on my mind a bit more since being here. has also been the topic of afew conversations around here too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oh for Blue Sky!!!

Its been about two weeks since I've seen sky above me now. A thick layer of haze has settled over Borneo and isn't shifting. Some airports have been closed due to poor visibility and there isn't even blood red sunsets. I haven't seen the sun at all the last few days. For you geographers the worst it has gotten so far is 171 on the PSI scale.
So whys it happening? Kalimantan is the major problem and Sarawak to a lesser extent. People in these areas burn off jungle to plant rubber and palm olive trees mainly i think, and so huge amounts of deforestation has occurred, the temperature here has been rising for a number of years now due to less jungle and when you live where there is basically no wind all the smoke just goes up and then hangs there. This is apparently the worst episode Brunei has had since 1998 when for two month the haze was so thick visiblity was a mere 50m. From this I'd say Indo is not going to be getting any carbon credits in a hurry, but whether the govt likes it or not I think it will be a hard for them to stamp out all these people who continually burn off another bit of jungle for themselves.
So it needs to rain and to rain really hard for acouple of days over the whole of Borneo for this haze to go away. I do long to see some blue sky again.
As a side note I watched a documentary on the palne on the way over here called "An inconvieniant truth", its put together by Al Gore about Global warming and all the issues surrounding it. Its a little bit bias in parts and focuses mainly on America but I think its well worth the watch as it is very good at explaining the issues facing us concisely and for the most part quite accurately. Reading the papers about the world being the hottest its been for a million years, the ozone hole reaching record diameters and seeing all this smog makes me a bit gittery.

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