Our flight from Miri to Sibu on Tuesday was on time and we found a really nice little new boutique budget hotel right in the centre of town. The food here is wonderful. It seems that it gets better with every kilometre south that we travel. In both Sabah and Brunei, the food is good, it is mostly halal Malay cuisine, not particularly spicy, whereas in Sarawak, it is far more exotic, spicy and varied. We ate the best Indian ever, the night before we left Miri and our first night here in Sibu we feasted on very spicy Chinese BBQ spare ribs, chicken in plum sauce and fried rice. Tonight, we had crispy duck followed by mango, durian and coconut rolls. Delicious!
The town is very busy because it is polling day, Malaysian general elections and it is counted as a Bank Holiday, so all the banks, most businesses and a lot of shops are closed also.
We have not seen another non-Asian face since we left Mulu, not on our last night in Miri, on the plane or here in Sibu and some little kids stare at us before shyly giggling: we
don’t think they have seen alien white faces before. Despite our foreignness, the people here are so friendly. Sibu, like Miri, is a very easy-going happy town. The drivers, however, share none of the courtesy of their northern counterparts in Sabah. Crossing the road in Miri is hazardous; in Sibu it constitutes a death-wish!
Sixty percent of the inhabitants of Sibu are of Chinese descent, so temples abound, side by side with Christian churches and mosques. The most beautiful Buddhist temple is the Tua Pek Kong Temple down by the waterfront. When we visited the temple, a kindly gentleman showed us how to make paper boats and cups for offerings from lovely colourful paper napkins. I have some to take home.
We were disappointed that the Heritage Centre was closed due to the holiday, but hopefully we can get there later in the week, to see the indigenous Orang-Ulu native peoples exhibition. We did, however, get to the Sarawak Tourist Centre, which was open. I asked if I might buy a big poster with a delightful photo of a mother Orang-utan and baby. The young girl replied “No sorry, I cannot sell one to you because they are
not for sale. However, I will ask my boss if I can give you one.” She made a quick phone call and then rolled up the poster for me. Nice. Sometimes it pays to be the only tourist in town! Hope the poster survives the rest of our journey.
Sibu sits beside the mighty Batang Rejang, Malaysia’s longest river: over 770 kilometres in length. It is wide, brown and full of very large crocodiles, monitor lizards and water snakes. Its most deadly aspect, however, is that if one gulped down that tan-coloured soup, it would probably be deadly. It wouldn’t do to fall in! Tomorrow we are taking an express boat up the Rejang to Kapit, staying one night then back on Friday. We don’t think there is much to see in Kapit, but we want to travel on the river.
Tot: 3.111s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 21; qc: 84; dbt: 0.066s; 3; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.5mb