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Soccer Star

Check out this two-minute video from a recent scrimmage at our boy’s Saturday afternoon soccer club.

Okay, clearly, he is still not the most aggressive or talented soccer player. But he has fun, he’s getting exercise, he’s not bad on defense, and we do think he’s showing improvement in his overall skills! And check out near the end how he got pushed to the ground. Our boy just popped right back up, no whining or fussing or retaliation, and got back into the action. That’s our boy!

Bonus video: a little blurry and a little shaky.  Just Nyan running around the field.

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Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Part Two of Magnificent Mulu Caves

Second in a series documenting our family vacation to Gunung Mulu National Park, deep in the rainforest of Malaysian Borneo. 

Deer Cave and the Bats 

The park is perhaps best known for Deer Cave and Lang Cave. To get to these two caves, which are very close to each other, you take a pleasant hour-long hike through the jungle. It’s well worth it, as they are remarkable. They were formed over thousands (millions?) of years by rivers and streams coursing through the limestone landscape. As such, the caves tend to be long (hundreds of kilometers in some cases) and really, really tall inside.

Here are some shots from inside (and just outside of) the caves.

And here are our heroes, inside the caves, just outside the caves, and on the hike to the caves.

The real draw of these particular caves happens at dusk each evening. The caves are home to millions — literally millions — of bats. At sunset each night, they emerge from the caves to go hunting for their dinners for the night. They come out in batches by the thousands, soaring in swirling, fractal-looking formations as they try to avoid any pattern that could make it easy for the hawks and other birds that are waiting outside the cave, hoping to catch their own dinner.

There’s a nice clearing just outside of Deer Cave where the park has set up benches for people to sit and watch. The bats emerge anytime between 4pm and 6pm, so there’s a fair bit of waiting, but it’s fine as it’s beautiful and bucolic — feels like something out of Jurassic Park.

Here’s Nyan waiting, along with some pictures of the scenery.

Finally, after an hour or more of waiting, the bats started to come out. We managed to grab a bit of video, though it’s hard to really capture the experience:

Pretty cool, eh?

The Night Walk

Also cool was the night-time stroll we took through the jungle, with a guide who pointed out all the wildlife we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. There was a Huntsman spider the size of your fist. Lots of stick bugs. Lots of birds sleeping (they sleep at the very end of very thin branches. That way, if a snake tries to slither out to catch it napping, the branch will wobble and the bird will wake up and fly off to safety). Oh yes, a few snakes, including a big one (maybe five feet long) coiling its way around a tree trunk. Lots of frogs too. Not a lot of photos, because nighttime, but here are a few.

Speaking of snakes, our guide found a baby snake — blondehead was the species, I think — and offered it to Nyan to touch. And touch it he did, the brave little guy.

Here are some frogs – a couple on the back of a leaf, and one that our guide picked up and held for a minute. The frog was none too happy about that.

Here’s that spider I mentioned:

And the stick bug. Yes, it’s a bug that… looks like a stick.

Our intrepid night walker, decked out in his night-vision goggles.

Finally, the same intrepid night walker on the ride back to the resort, looking happily exhausted. 

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Deep in the Malaysian Rainforest

As mentioned, we took a *lot* of photographs on this trip. We hate to have them go to waste, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Random shots from the jungle:

Random shots of Nyan and his peeps:

The Marriott Mulu Resort

Our days (and some evenings) on this trip were spent getting dirty and sweaty. Our evenings were spent at the very nice Marriott resort just outside the national park. No roughing it here! 

There was a nice pool at the resort, where we spent some time in between jungle hikes. That’s Nyan with his new friend Freya (sister to Noah, whom you will see later on) in the pool.

There was also lots of reading going on, even while walking:

Some shots from around the resort, including Nyan inspecting giant jungle leaves, Nyan playing around on the gym’s treadmill, and Noah joining us for lunch one day, and helping us realize what it’d be like if Nyan had a younger brother.

Our room had a very comfy bed, which Nyan appreciated.

Finally, nothing much going on in this video, visually. But we took this video early one morning from our balcony, to capture the sounds as the jungle awakens.

Nice and peaceful in its way. 

Goofy people Being Goofy 

Let’s close out our chronicle of our trip to Mulu with a bit of silliness. Remember those silly pictures from the Miri airport? Here are some more from Mulu. 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Magnificent Mulu Caves, Part One

As part of our spring break travels, we dove deep into the Borneo rainforest and came face to face with cave fish, snakes, trees that rival California’s redwoods in height, fist-sized spiders, and millions and millions of bats. It was spectacular.

Our destination was Malaysia’s Gunung Mulu National Park, a.k.a. Mulu Caves. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site: hiking trails and campsites around some of the deepest caves in the world. Just what the doctor ordered for a nice break from city life.

And what a break it was. Here’s a detailed look, in no particular order, at just some of what we got up to. There was a lot — so much, in fact, that we’ll break this into two blog posts.

Clearwater and Wind Caves 

The park was extremely well-managed, and offered numerous guided tours to various caves and other natural wonders. (In fact, you have to take a guided tour at the park — the better to control visitors and their impact on the rainforest.) One of our favorites was a trip up a jungle river to a pair of caves, Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave. We boarded a narrow wooden boat for the ride upstream.

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We took lots of pictures on the boat ride.

To get to the caves themselves, we had to hike along some trails and walkways that had been carved into the limestone cliffs. Wind Cave was long and narrow but had plenty of larger chambers, complete with countless stalactites, stalagmites and other cave accoutrement. Clearwater Cave was huge, with the main chamber probably a couple hundred feet tall. There was a river running through it, with fish, and a few places where the ceiling had opened up, allowing light in and creating a great place for moss and other plants to grow.

Here are some pictures of the interiors. Hard to get really good shots, unfortunately, since it’s a cave and, by definition, rather dark:

And the three of us in the caves and on the trails. The little boy in a few of the pictures is Noah; more on him later. 

As awesome as the caves were, probably our favorite bit was the refreshing dip in the jungle stream we got to take afterwards. The water was cold — this little swimming hole was fed by the same river we’d seen inside the cave — which was just what we needed after the long, sweaty hikes.

Here are some more pictures from the boat ride:

Lest we forget, the tour included a stop at a local riverside village, where the locals set up tables to sell weavings, wood carvings and the like. It was a pretty low-pressure place, unlike some other local shopping stops we’ve been taken to in other locales, and we ended up with some beadwork lizards for Nyan. But his favorite part of the stop — in fact his favorite part of the entire day, he told us later, better than the caves, the swimming, the boat — was this:

Yes, there were a few chickens wandering around the village, and Nyan spent most of his time watching them. Hey, whatever makes him happy.

The Canopy Walk

Another highlight of the national park (well, it was basically one highlight after another, to be honest) was the Canopy Walk. This is an attraction where you climb some stairs up into the rainforest canopy, about 100 feet above the ground — then you walk from tree to tree, down narrow wooden planks lined by wire mesh netting. It’s not for the faint of heart, I suppose, although it appeared to be very well maintained and safe, and we didn’t feel any sense of danger. Even Nyan was completely fine with it.

And why not? It’s a remarkable way to see the jungle from a whole new perspective, up near the top of the trees. From up there you can see some sky and nearby mountains, as well as the jungle streams and trails far below. The birds and bugs make a non-stop noise, and Daddy even glimpsed a flying squirrel or maybe a flying lizard (yes, they exist) soaring from one tree to another. 

Here’s Mommy on the canopy walk:

Some shots of Nyan:

And more photos, including Mommy and Nyan at ground level, just before ascending.

The Jungle and the Airport

We took a ton of photos on this trip. We’ve tried to edit them down, but there are still a lot to share. Here’s a selection of random scenery pictures from the jungle and nearby landscape: 

And here, some random pictures of Nyan and his folks in the jungle. Plus Freya and Noah — who were also visiting Mulu with their parents, on a three week trip from England. Lovely parents and lovely kids, and Nyan became fast friends with them. (Freya is 7 and Noah is 4.)

To get into the national park itself, you have to cross over the river from the parking area/drop-off point. The bridge is a springy wood-and-metal suspension bridge that has a hell of a bounce to it, as you can see here. Nyan took to calling it the bouncy-wouncy bridge. (It’s actually much bouncier in real life than it appears on the video…)

And finally, just for fun, the Mulu airport — the only way to get in and out of the national park area, other than a two-day boat ride, since there are no roads connected to the outside world. The airport is not exactly a bustling place – it gets maybe two flights a day on its busiest days. (Plus a couple shots of the view on approach to the airport)

More on this epic trip to Mulu in our next post. Stay tuned…

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Hanging Out in Miri, Malaysia

Nyan had a couple weeks off from school, so in early April we headed over to Malaysian Borneo for some R&R. Our ultimate goal was a national park deep in the jungle — more on that soon — but we started with a couple days in the coastal town of Miri.

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That’s the Miri waterfront. Before we got there, though, here we are, leaving Singapore’s Changi Airport on our way out:

Miri itself is pleasant enough, although there’s not much exciting going on there — some okay diving off shore, which Daddy took advantage of, plus some shopping malls and pedestrian-unfriendly streets, and that’s about it — but we found a decent hotel to stay at. It had a nice infinity pool on the seventh floor, so we spent a lot of time there. Nyan enjoyed showing off his jumping skills.

One evening, while Mommy was getting a massage in the hotel spa, Daddy and Nyan went for a stroll and ended up having dinner under the streetlights at a dusty, random roadside place. We had steamed fish, and it was very, very good. 

Oh yeah, we also found a giant plant on the same walk. 

We had a propeller plane flight out to our next destination, and our ride to the airport ended up being a pickup truck. This pleased Nyan very much.

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Here’s our plane, and a fun sign at the Miri Airport.

Finally, this is how we kill time at an airport. Daddy got a new phone shortly before this trip, and while waiting for our flight, he realized that his camera has all sorts of silly and dumb cartoon effects. So of course he took a bunch of pictures with those silly and dumb cartoon effects. Enjoy! 

 

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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March Mirth and Madness

A quick review of some of the other silliness and fun times Nyan got up to in March 2018.

First up, another look at the construction site across the street from us. (You can probably expect to see lots of these pictures over the next couple of years!)

Playing a game of home-made putt-putt golf:

This is a drawing he did of his Race Car Engineering after-school class. It’s held in the school library – see?

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Random reading. He’s getting good, isn’t he!

Walking to school and chatting with classmate Riley.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

An Afternoon at the Stadium

One hot Sunday afternoon in March, Daddy took Nyan to the free waterpark above the shopping mall that’s attached to the National Stadium. It’s not a huge waterpark at all — a small pool and a waterslide, basically — but it’s nice enough, especially for the price. Just next door is a lazy river attraction: for $2, you get an inner tube and unlimited spins around a slowly moving ‘river’. It’s quite pleasant. 

No photos of any of that, but here’s our boy doing a little dance after the lazy river. Not sure if he was dancing or trying to avoid the hot bricks. Maybe both?

As we were making our way home, we passed by the main entrance to the stadium. Turns out they were having an open house — inviting anyone and everyone to come in, check the place out and run around the track. So of course we did. We’ve been to the stadium many times, of course — for Monster Jam, for soccer matches, for rock concerts — but never been down on the floor when it was set up for athletics. Pretty cool. 

Nyan and Daddy went for a run, covering about half of the circular track. No video or photos of that either, though — we were too busy running. 

And finally, they had one of those awards-podium thingies like you see at the Olympics. Nyan had Daddy take a bunch of pictures of Nyan being No. 1. Then he took a picture of Daddy — but made sure that Daddy was number 2.

Competitive little fella, ain’t he?

 

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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A Week at the Office

Nyan got two weeks off from school for spring break in late March. We had a family vacation planned for week two, but nothing for week one. We decided he’d spend two days at work with Mommy, and two days with Daddy as he worked from home. (The fifth day was a public holiday.)

Mommy’s office happened to be hosting the company CEO and other top execs in from California that week, so our boy needed to dress up both days. We were a little worried he might fuss, given his usual leisure time outfit of tshirt and shorts, but not to worry – not a word of complaint. And check him out! He sharp up good.

At the office, Mommy had him do all sorts of tasks, like help fill out expense accounts. He proved to be a diligent worker:

But he’s still only six. While Mommy was on a conference call, he would keep quiet, but did ask her questions, and share important information via post-it notes:

(Jenny Johnson is the name of one of the execs who was coming to town. For some reason, Nyan has always been quite interested in her.)

Nyan likes to eat, so he and Mommy took frequent breaks in the food court downstairs:

After his stint at Mommy’s office, he got to stay home with Daddy a couple days, where his tasks included a lot of paper shredding. He was very much into that. And also just hanging out and eating, and putting ‘keep out’ notes across his bedroom door. (We think he may have been getting a little bored by the end of the week…)

All in all, I’d say he enjoyed his week of work. Although he didn’t seem upset in the least when it was time to return to school! 

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

 
 
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