NEW YEAR’S DAY 2011 started with a bang for me, literally. I gotta see a fireworks display during my weekend getaway to KK… yeah! 🙂 Not that it was such a big deal, no. But it did give me a bit of a goose-bump to be in the midst of watching the spectacular lighting explosions and Kota Kinabalu city revellers honking their car horns signaling the start of January 1st, 2011 (1/1/’11) and all that jazz! 😛
It rained quite heavily before the 12 o’clock countdown in the heart of the Sabahan capital. However, right before the stroke of midnight, the showers stopped for a good half-hour or so to the delight of thousands of excited people who thronged the KK city-center near the waterfront.
I haven’t really celebrated the new year for so many years so I was kinda mesmerized by all the glitz. I guess the celebration’s atmosphere in the “Land below the wind” was quite a nice setting for the occasion.
I also stayed on well after midnight to watch a colorful performance by my favorite Kadazan-girl singer, Stacy, who has shot to fame in the Malaysian music scene after becoming the champion of a TV reality show called “Akademi Fantasia”. It was a peaceful and fun concert. 🙂
On new year’s day, I joined some friends from Kuala Lumpur for an island outing on Pulau Manukan, only about 15 minutes boat ride from the KK waterfront shore. It was my second trip there but this time around I had much more fun mingling with a local group of Filipino-Sabahans who prepared such delicious seafood barbecue of yellow-fin tuna, crabs, prawns and chicken — no seasoning but fresh meaty flesh yummy! 😉 Also tried their home-made pickled raw fish seasoned with vinegar, onions, ginger and chillies — so tasty, too. 🙂
I spent a good four hours on the Manukan island swimming around its clear waters under hot sunny but windy weather. One of the most relaxing moments I’ve ever enjoyed in a long time, really. 😛 And to cap the adventurous day off, I took my KL friends for fresh coconut drinks once ashore at the Tanjung Aru beach not far away from the city. 😉
All in all, my new year weekend was such a breeze driving solo to and from Kota Kinabalu. Reaching back home sweet home last Sunday afternoon, the welcoming sunset at the western end of the Bruneian coast only made me realize that the Abode of Peace does have its own unique natural beauty. And it only made me appreciate my birthplace much, much more although Brunei Darussalam may not attract as many tourists as its Malaysian neighbors, Sabah and Sarawak respectively. 🙂