Tavai Nickel Project

I spent the entire day yesterday (I mean entire… from 7am to midnight) driving all over the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo (Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world). Here is a map of the island. We drove from Kota Kinabalu, past Mount Kinabalu, which is the highest mountain in SE Asia, at 4,100 meters, and through to the Tavai Nickel Project, which is about 120 kilometers from Sandakan. Mount Kinabalu has a really interesting look, btw, it is massive but not like many mountains with a triangular peak, it is more like a squared of jagged looking peak. Here is a pic from the internet

Almost the entire drive is stunningly beautiful with neverending hills, mountains and valleys. The entire island is lush with tropical greenery and an almost endless supply of palm trees. Here is a pic of some of the scenery I took with my new cam. The highways are in excellent condition except for the occasional wash out which seems to happen regularly.

I have to say that this is one cool, interesting island with a neat vibe. The island of Borneo is host to three different countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and the tiny little home of that loser, the Sultan of Brunei.

While I didn’t see too many exotic animals on our day trip, I did see a fairly large lizard of some sort. But this island is home to a multitude of interesting animals and plant life, including wild elephants, rhinocerous and orangutans.

Essentially, we went to see the property and then followed through to go visit the Ministry of Forestry in Sandakan, as Pat needed to file his mining proposal with them as one of about 5 ministries that need to approve of the mining project before we move forward.

Sandakan was a really neat, nice city. It is very green with trees and has a nice vibe to it. It is a city of about 250,000 and I don’t think they get many white people there. I guessed this because, as I sat at a Pizza Hut with Pat, facing the outdoor sidewalk, every girl who walked by would either gawk, wave or smile at me. About half of them wore the traditional muslim head scarf thing, and the other half dressed more un-stupidly. So, if you are a white guy and want some beautiful Malaysian girls, check out Sandakan, you’ll be a superstar. As a sidenote, I now have a bit of a fetish for girls in that Islamic scarf thing… I have decided that I must see what is beneath the scarf! Oohh it’ll be such a turn on if I can see her hair!

So, that’s the update on the day trip. The only other update I have is about the nightlife here. Considering Kota Kinabalu (KK) is less than 500,000 people, I presumed the nightlife would be pretty bad. However, I went out on Wednesday night and had a pretty fun night at a few really cool clubs. The first was a new place called Cocoon right on the waterfront. Very nicely designed, trendy, and it just happened to be Ladies Night on Wednesday, so more than half the people there were female. They had a very cool band, fronted by a cute Malaysian girl with a really good voice.

There seems to be NO shortage of really beautiful girls and they seem to be either very desperate for new men OR are just very friendly and not scared to come up and talk to you. I say this because within the first 30 minutes of me being at Cocoon, I was approached by 2 very appealing girls… I left soon after that, so who knows how many girls would have came up and talked to me if I stayed the evening.

Both of the girls I met seemed really interesting and nice. And, for those of you who have been to Thailand, and places like that, these were not the Thailand style of girl, who you can never tell if they are a full prostitute, partial prostitute (have real job but need to get some cash any way they can just to eat and/or send home to their poverty stricken family) or are actually a real girl. Here, there was and is no question, all these girls are actually real girls. Firstly, Malaysia is MUCH more economically developed and well off than I had presumed. There is no doubt that the majority of Malaysian people are doing well. Secondly, these girls seem to be quite classy, intelligent and educated. The majority of Malay’s speak Malay, Chinese AND English… and every girl I have met so far speaks perfect English… that was another thing I didn’t know. For more proof that they are not prostitutes in any way, there was a front page story while I was here that they had found a prostitute here and put her in jail!?

The one girl I am going to meet tonight for dinner, Geena (sp?), is in school and is training to be a surveyor. She is 20 and seems really interesting, and looks very attractive, so I am looking forward to spending some time with her.

While I initially planned to leave here today (Friday) and go to Kuala Lumpur for the weekend, I have now decided to stay here at least a few more days… and who knows, if this keeps up I would have no problem staying much longer. This is a really neat, cool town. My hotel is great too… It has a really advanced gym and a very nice pool overlooking the entire bay.. it is really world class. Everything here has been a really nice surprise… as I said when I first got here, I knew nothing about this place… and, as so often happens, sometimes the places you have no expectations before turn out to be the real jewels, while the overhyped places turn out to be less than expected.

Now that I know how amazing this ‘side’ of Malaysia is (Malaysia is essentially two different sides, with the ‘mainland’ the smaller part on the left, near Thailand and Singapore with the remainder on the right on the island of Borneo, separated by hundreds of miles) I am really interested to see Kuala Lumpur. While KK and Sandakan are really nice and cool, it is still a bit too small for me to consider spending a lot of time in, but if KL has some of the good things that KK has in a large city, I may have a new pseudo home base! Only time will tell.