01 Sep - 03 Sep 2013 Serian

Flawed-Democratic Federation of Malaysia
Malaysian Borneo
Sarawak aka Land of the Hornbills
Steven’s Guesthouse +60148856262
Small, basic and rugged single/double fan room (no. 9) with shared bak mandi for MYR 25.- or US$ 7.60 per night. Friendly enough Hokkien Chinese owner; good English, lah.
Beer: Three-packs with 330-ml cans of chilled Chinese Kingway (max. 4.0 % alc./vol.) for MYR 10.- per pack from the beer loving owner of the guesthouse.

Click below for an interactive road map of Steven's Guesthouse in Serian and for directions:
N 01° 09.96' E 110° 33.93'

Matt: Shopping for fresh veggies at Serian’s lively Bidayuh-majority fresh-produce market which dominates the centre of this busy and chaotic one-horse country town, chatting with friendly Bidayuh and Iban market women about their distinctive jungle products such as (i) stink beans aka petai beans, which make one’s urine stink but are good for your health, (ii) mildly toxic but delicious dog fruit aka jering, (iii) Chinese mustard aka sawi pahit, (iv) crisp winged beans aka kacang botol and (v) sweet jicama aka kacang sengkuang which is best eaten with salt, lime juice and chilies, learning about the miraculous cancer-curing power of Sabah snake grass aka clinathatus, semantically damned close to snake oil but supposedly very different and more powerful, and later, back in the guesthouse, creating together with my Chinese friends Peter and Steven new salad variations, always with loads of sambal belacan, which all went down quite well with a few Kingways and Tigers as lubricants, cheers!

"And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind..."

Matt: Learning about the fact that the local Chinese community had invested millions of ringgit into their new and colourful, 2009 CE Tai Pak Kung temple and burning some hell money in the temple’s chimney in order to get the full support of the Mysterious Supreme Emperor of Heaven for my upcoming trip into Kalimantan’s heart of darkness.

Matt: Taking a well-worn Sarawak Transport Co. Bhd. bus no. S19 from Serian’s central bus station straight to the Malaysian/Indonesian border checkpoint at Tebedu/Entikong (a scenic drive of c. 45 km on a bituminous road through thick, seemingly impenetrable rainforest with lush banana plants, terraced pepper gardens und well-tended rice paddies on both sides of the road, 1 ¼ hours, MYR 4.- per person), changing my watch from to Malaysia Standard Time (GMT + 8 hours) to Indonesia Western Time (GMT + 7 hours), leaving sultan-free Sarawak (53 % ethnic Dayak, 24 % ethnic Chinese, 23 % ethnic Malay), which shares my first place in being the most liberal and liveable among Malaysia’s states alongside Penang (46 % ethnic Chinese, 44 % ethnic Malay, 10 % ethnic Indian), crossing uneventfully in two-heel drive the relaxed land border between Malaysia, a country of endless possibilities, and wonderful Indonesia (“…every exit is an entry somewhere else...”, according to Tom Stoppard), negotiating the first ojek ride of this trip right from the border post to Entikong proper and its messy bus station (c. 8 km, ¼ hours, MYR 3.- for the unhelmeted pillion ride with the Malaysian ringgit being an accepted and appreciated parallel currency in West Kalimantan) and thereafter taking a very rugged ABM rust bucket all the way (c. 290 bouncy kilometres, 8 hours, IDR 85,000.- or US$ 7.60 per person) to the coastal town of Singkawang aka China Town of Indonesia, an unexplored backwater which is also known as Amoy City, referring to the many pretty Hakka girls who attract men from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore who allegedly employ agents/brokers to offer the families with suitably aged (!) daughters roughly IDR 5,000,000.- for each bride; no money-back guarantee, but still a steal for just 500 bucks…

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to be politically correct;
It’s good to laugh at the naked emperor.
Keep your bearings!