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Sunday, May 27, 2012

In a Town Called Cat!

Hmm, my computer decided to put the random photos at the beginning instead of the end, so read first, then come back to them (just kidding...).  Enjoy!

Matthew and I are still in Kuching for our last night, heading for Singapore tomorrow for 2 nights.  I'm ready to come home and hoping our hotel isn't a repeat of Kota Bharu (booked both through  I'm tired from being overheated everytime we step outside, and it's making me cranky.  Plus, let's face it, it's not that easy to spend 24 hours a day everyday with someone for almost 3 weeks.  Well, it isn't easy for me.  I will probably hide in my bat cave when we get home for at least a week.  No, Mom, that didn't mean I wouldn't be coming over to see you as soon as I'm awake and ready on Thurs.
  So to catch up, I'm going to add pictures and write captions under them.  
 Kuching is a lovely town in Borneo, which most people know from head-hunting days.

LimeTree Hotel in Kuching...SO much nicer than  the Habib with a personalized hello from the staff and a small welcoming fruit basket in the room.  And it's a huge room besides.  

Anything beats that last view, but this was nice because of the thunder shower..we had a good view of it.

Love this--it's just one of many cat statues on their streets.  They've really embraced their name.

 Our first night we wanted to go to the. Dyak, which is a restaurant we'd read about owned by indigenous people, originally called the Dayak. We asked the hotel to make a reservation and call for a taxi, which turned out to be a blue one, which is more expensive for 7 pm to get to our 7:30 time. About 3 or 4 pm, the skies clouded over and we heard what sounded like a gunshot nearby. Then we heard another...and when it started to pour, we realized it was thunder. It boomed and rolled and was continuous, along with driving rain. We were in our room relaxing after visiting the textile museum and other shops in the morning, then returning to the air con hotel to regroup and go out again for lunch. It's hard to explain how the heat and humidity wear you down.
There's a dental convention in town and we ran into some men from our hotel at a restaurant at lunch. They're from KL and complained about the heat! I wish I'd gotten a picture of these 6-8 men—they were having so much fun skipping out on lectures to party together. Some were Malaysians, some were Indian, and one was Chinese. One of the Indian men, who is not a dentist, but says he just comes along for the fun, teased the his friend constantly, calling him the “Chinaman.” I commented to the group that we would NEVER say that and they agreed laughingly that he's a racist—but it really was all in fun. Before we left the restaurant, as they were all calling goodbye to us, I turned and asked them for a favor—I asked they not let their friend talk about us after we were gone. I got a good laugh from them and the next day, we were invited to party with them...which we declined.
As I was explaining, we were back in our room when the storm began, so we had a good view of it in a safe place. Matthew was sure it would stop after a short time, but it continued and continued, and by 5:30, we were getting worried about a power outage and also getting out to eat. We went to the desk and asked about both and they said they have their own generator (we hadn't checked out where the stairs ever were until then—didn't want to get stuck in an elevator), and getting to the restaurant would be no problem because it rains there all the time.
Well, this turned out to be a storm like no other in many years. We didn't know that, so took the taxi at 7. We ended up a a HUGE jam and didn't move much for about 40 min. We asked the driver how much longer we'd be, and he said it could take an hour. He had no idea what was causing the problem, but it wasn't a normal night. And the restaurant was about 30 min away with traffic figured in. By 7:40, we told him to take a side-street and return us to the hotel, which he did in about 3 minutes. We ended up eating a pretty dissatisfying meal in the hotel.  
We found out they had had flooding, which was what screwed up traffic, so made it to the Dyak the next night...even though it was raining.

The waiters are all Dyak themselves and ours had long hair, tattoos (they all have them since it's part of their culture), and piercings on his face.  We told him he'd fit right in in San Francisco!

Artifacts on the wall and explanations and the family story/history written out on our placemats, which he brought after we were seated.  

Known for the rice wine, tuak.  We tried all 3--one is called the female and one the male, and I did prefer the female.  The other darkest one is a dessert wine.  They say this is a secret family recipe handed down to one person each generation.  Notice the tablecloth...Dyak symbols.

Chicken cooked in Bamboo and the grilled 3 layered pork 

brown rice which is the first non-white we've seen.

a relish made with dried anchovies and greens and spicy things.  Matthew loved this.  Me...not as much.  But I did feel I was getting my fiber for the day!

Sweet potato greens.

Second time today our silverware came to the table in boiled water...

This wasn't just vanilla ice had tuak poured over it and some sticky rice in the center.

Today we took a tour, which turned out to be the two of us with one driver/guide and  visited a longhouse which showed how one indigenous group lived, though they have now moved their village down to a flatter area near the river since the Iban stopped hunting heads.  They built their longhouses up on a hill to protect them from enemies.  We also went to the Semenggoh Reserve where they have about 36 orangutans in the wild.  When fruit isn't plentiful, they provide food for them two times a day and allow visitors to stand off from the area but in view of them being fed. 

Longhouse flooring along the outside walkway made of bamboo.  Tricky to walk on.

Nope, not a suspension bridge--because YOU know how I feel about them.

That little skinny thing is the ladder.  Thankfully, we weren't invited upstairs.

This lady is beading and making a woman's hat.  They sell them, but they're also getting ready for their annual huge rice festival which is June 1-3.

We leave here tomorrow at 7:30 for the airport.  Let's keep a good thought--no hitches on AirAsia.  We've enjoyed our stay here, though less heat would have made it nicer.   I'll leave you with some random photos

1 comment:

  1. holy moly, i love that ladder, now who coulda come up with that here!?

    great bead work too!!

    glad you're seeing more local stuff, that's what eco tourism is all about