30 Jun - 07 Jul 2009 Kuching

Malaysian Borneo
Sarawak aka Land of the Hornbills
Clean and adequate double room for MYR 47.- or US$ 12.50 per night; wifi with homeopathic band width as add-on for MYR 12.- per 24 hours.
Professional and helpful staff; excellent English.

Click below for an interactive road map of this Tune Hotel in Kuching, which we would recommend, and for directions:

Exploring the White Rajahs' former capital city, Kuching, and its intriguing sites (the long riverfront esplanade and the elegant colonial buildings; the bustling Chinatown centred on Jalan Carpenter with beautifully restored shophouses; the colourful Little India on Jalan India) and learning in the excellent Sarawak Museums (Sarawak State Museum, Sarawak Textile Museum, Chinese History Museum) about the various ethnic communities (the Chinese, the Malay, the Iban, the Bidayuh, the Melanau, the Orang Ulu and the Orang Putih) and about the more than 100-year-long paternalistic rule of the White Rajahs from 1842 CE till 1946 CE (when Vyner of Sarawak, the last White Rajah, eventually ceded his kingdom to the Colonial Office and Sarawak became a British colony, thus provoking protests, demonstrations, and eventually the assassination of the British governor in 1949 CE).

Watching a race of local bidar longboats (derived from the Iban crafts, measuring up to 72 feet in length and 3 feet at the beam, accommodating up to 30 forward-facing paddlers and one sweep at the rear in each of them) on the languid Sungai Sarawak.

Sampling unique Sarawakian fare such as (i) Sarawak laksa (prawns and other seafood, bean sprouts and sliced fried tofu in a base of sambal belacan [a mix of toasted shrimp paste with chilli peppers, minced garlic, shallot paste and sugar which is then all fried], sour tamarind, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk, topped with omelette strips, fresh coriander and lime), (ii) midin (jungle fern fried with garlic and belacan) and (iii), Matt only, bird's nest soup made from the saliva of edible-nest swiftlets (Aerodramus fuciphagus) which live in Borneo’s enormous limestone caves.

Visiting the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre (about 25 km south of Kuching), a feeding place for wild orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus) from the rainforest, meeting Ritchie (a dominant male, about 30 years old with well-developed cheek pads, only 1.5 m tall but with 2.50 m span between his outstretched arms, weighing c. 120 kg) and his lively family, which was feeding on bananas, coconuts, tapioca, sugar cane and pine apple and was foraging the tree tops of the rainforest and thereafter reading the famous naturalist and cruel orangutan serial murderer Alfred Russel Wallace’s (and not Dr Mengele’s) 1855 CE diary: “... on the 12th of May I found another orang-utan, howling and hooting with rage, and throwing down branches ... I shot at it five times, and it remained dead on the top of the tree, supported in a fork in such a manner that it would evidently not fall ... I therefore returned home, and luckily found some Dyaks, who came back with me, and climbed up the tree for the animal ... this was the first full-grown specimen I had obtained; but it was a female, and not nearly so large or remarkable as the full-grown males ... it was, however, 3 ft. 6 in. high, and its arms stretched out to a width of 6 ft. 6 in ... I preserved the skin of this specimen in a cask of arrack, and prepared a perfect skeleton, which was afterwards purchased for the Derby Museum ...”; all this in the name of science and in order to comply with “scientific standards”; shame on him.

Receiving an urgent telephone call from the Senior Health Inspector of Kuching's Divisional Health Office who issued a written “Home Observation and Surveillance Order for Contacts of the Pandemic Influenza A (Swine Flu H1N1) under Section 15.1 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act of 1988”, just another building block of the global government scheme of exercising more control over the free movement of the citizens in the welfare states, and told us that on our previous Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, there had been someone, sitting one row behind us, who allegedly was positively diagnosed with H1N1 and that we had to be quarantined in our hotel room for at least 72 hours - meaning free unlimited food from the hotel (many thanks, Khai and Dennis) as long as we agreed to these idiotic daily temperature checks and as long as we paid for the beers ourselves, lah.

Leaving our backpacks in the Tune Hoteltaking Petrajaya bus no. 6 (MYR 2.- per person, one way) from the bus stop in Kuching to Kampung Bako aka Bako Bazaar and hiring a motorboat (MYR 30.- or US$ 8.40 for the boat, one way) to the Bako National Park's head office (entry fee: MYR 5.- per person), about 20 minutes away.

Click below for more blog posts about Kuching
11 Jul - 01 Sep 2013 Kuching
24 Jul - 27 Jul 2009 Kuching
10 Jul - 20 Jul 2009 Kuching

Click below for more blog posts about Sarawak's well-managed national parks
16 Sep - 18 Sep 2009 Mulu
20 Jul - 24 Jul 2009 Gunung Gading
07 Jul - 10 Jul 2009 Bako

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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