Miri - A Myriad of Mines

From Kuching, we island-hopped up to the city of Miri, still in Malaysia, but just next to the border of Brunei.  It was here in Miri, where we started seeing huge oil platforms constructed in the waters just offshore.  Our learning about hydrocarbons in chemistry happened to coincide with this part of our journey.  (I wish I could say I planned it that way, but we just ‘struck oil’ on timing!)  During a field trip to the Miri Petroleum Museum, we gained a deeper understanding of the various uses of petroleum, life on the oil platforms, and the processes involved in locating, drilling, transporting, and refining oil.  Suddenly, sailing past these mini cities on stilts became fascinating.  Who’d have thought that oil would be so interesting??

The first oil well in Miri

Kids working hard to pump up oil! 
Oil Museum
The kids were especially surprised to learn that plastic products are made from petroleum.  Years ago, we had listened to a speech about the devastating effects of single-use plastics, and Elizabeth had wondered what plastics are made of and questioned, “Doesn’t everything on earth have to be made from something natural?”  Even now, years later, she is building onto that original thought and compiling more understanding of how plastics are structured and why they don’t decompose easily.  Who knows, maybe she’ll figure out a solution to the plastic problem someday!

Each night from the marina we could see glowing structures across the water, like the Parade of Lights set up at Christmastime, except this one featured sea creatures and tall ships.  The colorful illumination intrigued us, we were like moths attracted to a porchlight.  We vowed to go.  How could we not?
Dinner in Miri

Shopping in Miri

Haircut in Miri
Turns out, the night we ventured over the water to the esplanade, there was a motorcycle rally happening!  Bikes lined the boardwalk.  Groups of leather-clad bikers strutted about.  A continuous rumble of idling engines added to the ambience.  As we walked through the rows of bikes, the kids gawked at the fancy paint jobs and shiny chrome.  Mark and I reminisced about our leather-clad, rumbling Harley days.   Back when we’d rode through the Grand Canyon with the 360-degree view that only a motorcycle affords - wind in our hair and adventure ever on the horizon.  Seems like not much has changed really...  

Mark, Sarah and friends riding Harleys in desert over 14 years ago!
Bikers week in Miri, Malaysia


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