UNIQUE THING TO DO IN MIRI, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA
I could not believe myself. I had barely touched down for a day and I was making my way back to the airport again. After 6 days of sea adventure in Cebu, I was heading for Miri in Sarawak.
The initial plan was to do paragliding at a private beach area owned by the relatives of one of our fellow Sarawak paragliders and I had made arrangements for the Singapore paragliders to meet up with both Sarawak and Sabah paragliders. But I had made some last minute changes to my traveling plans. I had run a random search on the internet and found a place where I really wanted to explore, some of the oldest cave structures in the world and some amazing limestone mountain formations.
I met up with some fellow paragliders at the airport and sheepishly told them about my plan. They laughed as though in anticipation. Well, I guess I had that sort of a reputation now. Not really sure if that was good or bad though.
I admit I was extremely tired. I caught a cold in Cebu, did not have sufficient sleep throughout the week and my one day in Singapore was spent clearing, tidying up the house and bathing my beloved doggies. I almost had to drag myself out of bed to get to the airport. But I could not suppressed the bubbling excitement I felt too. Coupled with this was also a sense of guilt as I was really looking forward to the second leg of my trip in Sarawak. So much so that I did not bring my glider along on this trip.
Arriving in Miri, I was pleasantly surprised when Ismail, a local paraglider greeted me at the airport. I had no idea he would be fetching us and I was both appreciative and a little embarrassed by his hospitality. He had even arranged for his friend to drive us around for a small token. I could only say thank you at that point but Ismail, if you were to be in Singapore, I would definitely return the favour and would try my best to ensure that you would be well taken care of.
It seemed almost the norm. We checked into the hotel and the next thing we know, we were on our way to the paragliding site. When it comes to flying, nothing stops these guys.
The site was beautiful. A nice stretch of almost untouched sea and beach and a nice constant breeze. With such an enticing sight, the guys were raring to go. For a moment, I was really cursing myself for not bringing along my glider. Joseph was the first to go after a short briefing from our friendly host.
While Joseph got ready, I took some time to take in this sight before me. They had called this place little Timbis, Bali. But the views were totally different, not that one was better than the other. They each had their beauty. Maybe because we were early and the only ones around at that time, but there seemed to be an air of solitude and sadness about this place. It could be the lone building, the lone bench and the single tree. Or it could simply be me feeling a little lonely. It wasn’t a disturbing feeling and in fact, there was a serenity about it. Call it a brief indulgence but it was nice just staring blankly at the sea and allowing myself to experience that emptiness, and momentarily shutting out the noise that was nagging at me for the longest time.
Alright, indulgence is indulgence but there is a time to snap out of it. Time to fly.
Paragliding is this amazing sport. It is both an individual and a group sport and it is also amazing how just by watching your fellow mate fly, you can derive the same adrenaline rush from it. That is not to say watching is enough. Once you have been up, its hard not to go there again. Trust me on the addiction level. No wonder they say its a dangerous sport.
Since I had no glider with me, I made myself the official photographer. Alright, no kick ass camera here and liked I always said, I am no great photographer. But I tried my best and some shots looked pretty good, at least in the eyes of an amateur like me.
There was a time to fly and a time to land; a time to enjoy and a time to work out a little…
Our friends from Kota Kinabalu and Jugra joined us not long after. It was nice to see our friends and we were all meeting up at a place nor so near home.
The wind was really picking up, reaching 30km/h at one stage. Even experienced paragliders like Major Nine and Mustan were having a little trouble. But it was all fun amidst the little try-outs. Well, i guess that wasn’t difficult to figure out from the smiles on our faces.
After some roll arounds and some struggles, we finally saw the gliders in the air. Watching them with their wing overs and some crazy stunts, I was really wishing I had my glider with me. Uncle Lee was so nice he offered to lend me his glider but I didn’t have the courage to try out a new glider in this wind condition. Guess I was really grounded and had to enjoy this at a ground level.
Time flies when you are having fun. That was so true. Before anyone realised, the skies were getting dark. Almost unwillingly, the guys landed and it was packing time.
Staring out at the horizon, I thought I wondered if I should stay a day more but even then, I knew the caves and the summit I were about to set off for were not any less amazing than this.
But Miri, I will definitely be back to soar your skies.