Day 352. 144km. Similaju – Miri

Posted: April 23, 2016 in Cycling, Malaysia
Tags: , , , ,

‘What is this smoke?’
‘It’s for the economy. They are burning here to plant palm oil plantations.’ The young man smiled with pride.
We passed a plantation that was younger – the trees were below eye level, and I could see the extent of it all. As far as the eye could see – a monoculture of the tree.

Palm plantations

Palm plantations

The road was straight, flat, and mostly through palm plantation. The parts between the plantations were smoky – preparing to join their neighbours.

Cycling into Miri we met a lovely guy that invited us to his place to stay. There is clearly money here – luxury apartment blocks, restaurants and shops everywhere. Miri is the border town with the ultra-rich country of Brunei. Our host, Charles, is a business man himself, and he told stories of the development of Sarawak province, and the new self-made millionaires.
Tomorrow is a rest day before heading on into country number 32 – Brunei.

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Is it true trickle down economics or only a few benefitting from the plantations? I am so curious! You have first hand experience seeing this vilified monoculture for yourself. Do share your impressions please!

    • I don’t know if there is much benefit for the small guy with such massive plantations. In Indonesia there were lots of workers sustained by the palm oil plantations, and we saw lots of workers doing various small jobs. Here the benefit seems to be very trickle down indeed.
      I can’t say that out of a position of authority, though. I don’t have any figures. Just what I have seen..

  2. […] ‘Come and stay with me! And come to dinner!’ He stood on the side of the road with his motorbike as we were entering Miri – the border town in Malaysia on the Brunei border in Borneo. He treated us to a feast and took us back to his house to see his collection of bikes – almost never used. ‘This is $10000.’ ‘This has electronic gear shifting.’ ‘These shoes were signed personally by Cavendish.’ He was a millionaire businessman. Cycling was one of his fads, and his collection was impressive. He almost never cycled though, and most had never been used. Over the next days he would spend thousands on us, cycling with us across Brunei. We ended being treated to a weekend of luxury and hedonism on Labuan – the tax free island Malaysian state off the coast of Brunei. No Sharea law here, and the rich from Brunei made the most of it. […]

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