Blogs from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Asia - page 5


Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 22nd 2013

Hi all, With legs back in perfect working order it was a taste of culture for me today. I started off on a 45 minute trip to the Sarawak cultural village. This village is a living workshop. Sarawak was once inhabited by many different tribes, most of which live deep within the jungles of Borneo. Within the village you can experience a taster of the locals in a variety of dwellings, including the Chinese farm house, Malay town house, Melanau tall house, Orang Ulu longhouse, Penan hut, Iban longhouse and Bidayuh longhouse. Some of which have incredibly steep and precarious steps up. Pussycat steps to an experienced mountain walker such as myself!!! As you enter for registration they issue you with a passport to be stamped in every house you visit (a nice little piece of ... read more
Bedroom Chinese farm house
Chinese farm house tools
Traditional pepper grinding

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 21st 2013

Where oh where has the sun gone? It has been raining here for last 48 hours, giving me time to catch up on some reading. I have read quite a few books since being away but only one to recommend so far - Therapy by David Lodge. Following a second massage, at last I can walk down steps without having to side step! My legs finally feel part of me again and the climb will soon be a distant memory. Obviously never forgotten. Ahhha! Thinking my English had failed me, I have finally solved the Tiger Beer mystery - three or four as part of a promotion for 12 ringgit (just over £2) or Happy hour - 2 for price of one. This became clearer last night when I visited Ruai, an Iban bar, before dinner. ... read more
Ruai, Iban bar
Peels garlic all day

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 19th 2013

My second day in Sarawak and I am still conserving my energy for now. This morning I started off at a restaurant called Chong Choon, where I had rather a hunger on. I sampled Kolo mee (Sarawak speciality of noodles, minced pork and stir fried pork), Roti Kahwin and a KOPI (very sweet coffee with condensed milk). Following this I thought I would treat myself to a massage to sooth my aches and change my gait such that I no longer look like I'm walking with bilateral artificial limbs. Wow, what a massage. The lady was literally climbing on my back. Not sure what type of massage this was but it certainly helped! Not quite the traditional aromatherapy massage I'm used to. After a short rest I stroll along the waterfront, stopping off for a quick ... read more
Fort Magherita
James Brooke bistro

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 18th 2013

Now in Kuching (cat city), Sarawak, Borneo. I am excited to try a new cuisine, as Sarawak has its very own specialities. Had a horrible flight over with lightening literally lighting up the skies beneath the plane. After an hour of circling, horrific turbulence and pan pipe music to distract us, we were finally permitted to land. When we left the flight, waiting for luggage, I saw quite a funny scene - a cat box on the conveyer belt, with meows bellowing all the way round, waiting for its owner to retrieve him/her. Poor thing. I have never seen anything like it before. Still feeling weary from my mountain trip I was pleased to arrive at the Riverside Majestic, where I will be based for the next 11 nights. Apart from a small trip out to ... read more
ABC top spot restaurant
Stir fried midin (jungle fern) with belacan
Black pepper crab

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 9th 2013

Chinese New Year is nothing like the New Year's Eve celebration we know in the west; it's more like a combination of Xmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Eve rolled into one. It's a family holiday, not a go-out-with-your-friends-and-be-silly holiday. After living in China for 5 years, I've still never celebrated the holiday since I obviously have no family in China and I usually travel somewhere warm during the school break. So when I realized I could finally celebrate the holiday, I was delighted. Kuching knows they have a lot of tourist and there's a traditional show down at the park for travelers and locals to come together and celebrate. We arrived and almost immediately I was selected to be part of a game show. The holiday show consists of games, songs, dancing, and other bits I ... read more
A Mini-Dragon Dance

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 8th 2013

Whenever I heard the term "longhouse" I envisioned a really long building that people lived in. But as I learned on my tour, that's not the case. A longhouse is really several houses next to each other and sharing walls as well as a common veranda in front of all of them. The houses are small and most living is done out in the common area, fostering a sense of community. Longhouses are usually shared by extended families. We traveled to a longhouse community near a river about an hour from Kuching. We were treated to the local alcohol (wowza!) and warmly welcomed a few people; most people just ignored us and went on with their daily lives. Several longhouses were connected by stairs, creating a village, almost like Venice in the rainforest. The floors were ... read more
cooking area
bamboo floor

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 7th 2013

Hand-tap tattoos were something I'd only ever seen on TV, but here in Kuching, there's one man who still does them: Ernesto. I was fortunate enough to have a few friends getting hand-tap tattoos (and who had in fact traveled to Kuching solely for this purpose), and they invited me along to watch. Hand-tap tattoos are done with two sticks: one has the needles and the other taps the first, imprinting the ink in the skin. There are 14 needles at attached to the stick and there's a smaller version with only 4 needles for small detailing. The tattoos are only done with black ink. I was surprised how fast the process was and I watched with fascination. My friends said that the amount of pain is similar to tattoos done by the electric needle, but ... read more
Masters at work
Filling it in
A different angle

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 6th 2013

We were up at 6am for the 7am bus to Semenggoh Park. It is possible to take a guided tour, but they're considerably more expensive and there's still no guarantee that you'll see anything. (45 MYR vs 16) Since it's fruiting season, many of the rehabilitated orangutans are eating fruit in the trees and not coming down to feeding platforms where we await them with our cameras. We arrived at 8am and walked to the viewing area. Around 820 or so one of the workers said we could see the orangutans. The few of us there lined up to see. It wasn't just an orangutan. It was the big one, the alpha male, Ritchie, and another smaller (teenager?) one up in the trees climbing about. The workers gave them some fruit and we watched them for ... read more
The big guy in the jungle
And now there's 2

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching February 4th 2013

I spent my first day in Kuching just wandering around town, getting the lay of the land, and ended the day with a riverboat cruise. A woman from my hostel and I bought our tickets before 3pm and they were nearly half price; buy them after 3pm and the price goes up. The boat left at 530. We rode up and down the river while a voice narrated what we were seeing. Much of Kuching is on the river, so it was a good way to see the town. We were also treated to some delicious cakes (rainbow colored and for sale on nearly every street corner along the waterfront) and juice. After we turned around for the last time, and it was nearly time for the sun to set, we all gathered 'round to watch ... read more
Along the river
Boats are used as daily transport
City views

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching October 28th 2012

The main purpose of these pages is to post travel updates for Joan, my mother. The time difference is now seven hours and phoning at 2:30am to speak to her at 7:30pm is quite difficult. Thanks to my brother Alastair for passing them on during his visits. It also gives an opportunity for friends to drop in to the blog if and when they wish. It is not meant to be a round robin letter or meticulous chronological travel diary and I make no pretences of being some talented wordsmith. May the readers forgive my liking for alliteration and be fully aware that S is not responsible for the problematic spelling or idiosyncratic syntax as I am sometimes not too precise in the use of the English language. Please note that being no great supporter of ... read more

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