City of cats

Day 6 – 02 Jan 2012 – Kuching

Last night I watched the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, hope they don’t make another! The first three were great (apart from the bloody awful Keira Knightley), but this one did suck.

Breakfast included pomelo, a large fruit that was very much like a pink grapefruit in taste and smell with a similar texture, but a much thicker skin.

It was raining this morning, when I got up, but it was just a brief shower as the day was reasonably sunny again, funnily enough it was also hot and humid ! Alex had some chores to do so he dropped me at the jetty and I had my first few hours on my own in foreign climes. I cannot really count Singapore as being too foreign as most people speak English and it is very first world. BTW – I am not saying Kuching is third world ! somewhere in between I guess, in the main it is a normal first world city, power and water, some sewerage, lots of cars and traffic lights, shops and houses, some massive roundabouts, maybe it is  just a little run down in parts.

I took a couple of photos while waiting for the sampan ferry to arrive, the sampans pretty much only leave when they are full so I had  bit of a wait under a tree, the ride cost about 20c for the 100 or so metre journey.

The old Kuching Mosque, there has been a much larger new mosque built close to where Alex lives, but this one is better to look at.

At a guess I would say the ferryman lives on board, he has clothes hung from the back and a small boat stove and tea pot. He steers the ferry with the two oars and uses a small outboard for power. As the ferryman is up the front he has a long rope tied to the pull cord of the outboard starter.  As he is steering with both hands he has a string that he pulls with his toe to manage the speed of the vessel. All very clever and low tech.

The Sarawak state government building, the building is shaped like an Iban headdress – and must be a bitch to clean, it is huge.

I walked through the Indian section again and up to the mosque, surrounding the mosque is the old Islamic cemetery. Malaysia is officially a muslim country and the majority of the Malay people are muslim, this is not necessarily so for the tribes of Borneo of course.

From the mosque I wandered through some more street markets and saw this unusual t-shirt ! I am hoping that this is being sold in ignorance !

By this stage I was DRIPPING with sweat, the locals must have wondered what they had walking through their streets. I discovered the Kuching textile museum, what an awesome place ! No, I have not developed and interest in textiles, but the aircon was so sweet. I stayed for a wee while ! it is also a beautifully preserved building.

Kuching is the Malay word for cat, and there are a number of cat statues around the city, however it was not named so because of some bizarre cat fetish.

After another sweaty walk back from the cat statue I stopped at the James Brooke Cafe for lunch and a couple of cold drinks. I must remember that once away from Kuching I am going to have to ask for no ice in my drinks !  Lunch was a Kuching curry laksa and was damn good, I am also going to have to remember that noodles in a sauce can be messy !

The court house.

After lunch I had another small wander around town and then Alex and one of his friends picked me up and we went up to the Sarawak museum.  It was a small and interesting museum and it was good to see some of the local culture and
read a bit more about Niah man, which I will go and visit in a few days. After the museum we stopped for an ice kacang, a very sweet (read yum) local desert then went back to the apartment. The Sarawak Museum.

Walking for 2-3 hours in this heat really takes it of me, and I am wasted again ! popped out to the local mall for dinner I had Kueh teow and 3 sour drink. The kueh teow is similar to the pad thai and the 3 sour drink is a lime drink with a lime, a pickled lime and a pickled plum in it to give it some extra sour, and a wee bit of salt.

When we got back to the apartment I tried ramubans, another of the local fruits we bought yesterday, a bit like a lychee in taste and texture.

Shaved tonight, it has been a while so it was a bit of a mission ! So glad I don’t have to do that every day – well most working days at least 🙂

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.