Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 8 - Kuching Part 2

Before I start on my day, I need to add in something we forgot to mention on our Saturday post. While walking around we found a tailor shop down this street.We walked in and inquired about having a couple of shirts made for Jim. The tailor was very friendly and showed us some beautiful material to choose from. Jim picked a beautiful blue silk material with silver thread woven into it and a red material with a Dayak pattern.He measured Jim and said his shirts would be ready on Monday. Very cool.

My Sunday was quite different from Jim’s. The only trekking I planned on doing was to a local craft center, some museums and a little shopping.
Cat Statue outside the Chinese museum

I decided to check out a little Chinese history museum near the hotel located in the old Chinese Courthouse. I was the only visitor much to the delight of the director who was very proud of the exhibits and equally curious about this American that wandered into the museum. He asked me about as many questions about the US and our ongoing presidential race as I asked him about the items in the museum and the Chinese influence in Kuching. After thirty minutes, I had seen all the museum had to offer so I headed back to the hotel to take a look through the travel guides and plan the rest of my day. I decided on checking out the Sarawak Craft Council.
Sunflowers in hotel lobby

After talking with the doorman at the hotel, my plans changed slightly when he referred me to a different place, the Sarakraf Pavilion (I think). He said would be more interesting so off in a cab I went. The place may be great to visit during the week but not on Sunday. There are many areas in the center that display traditional Sarawak crafts and cultural traditions with people doing weaving, wood carving, music and dance, and so on. However, there were only a handful of folks there on this day and none of the display areas were manned. It did make it nice and quiet and allowed me to take more time to admire and more closely examine the items on display. And the local cats seemed to stop and pose when I pulled out my camera. This little ham even got up and turned around to show off his best side.

The gift shop had lots of nice items. I picked out this clay pot with a Sarawak motif and pretty pearl earrings for me then got a few little things for my family. I then sat in an outdoor area and just relaxed for a while. Here's a video.

By then there wasn’t much left to do so I went out to the street to catch a cab back towards the river and my next stop, the Textile Museum. *crickets chirping* Where were all the cabs? I must have waited for 20 minutes without seeing a single one pass by. Hmm… I looked at the map and figured out how to walk back to the river, even if it was more than I planned to walk. After getting about halfway there, I was sweating like crazy and I finally spotted a cab. Yippee! Five minutes later, I was dropped off at the textile museum. And again I realized that Sundays are very quiet days for touristy attractions. Three floors of Sarawak textiles and I had the place to myself. I learned that anything from silk to gold and silver to tree bark was used to make clothing and the details related to life in Borneo with animals and plants being the main design feature on many patterns.
Silver belt

Vest made from bark and adorned with shells

More bark clothing


I took a ton of pictures to show Jim later that day and it was on my way out that I saw a sign that read, “No Photographs” Oops. Although I doubt it’s seriously enforced since both the museum staff in the lobby saw me taking pictures and never said a word.

By now I was a little tired but not ready to head back to the hotel so I walked up the main road along the river and went into every shop to see what trinkets and goodies were available and making mental notes about where to go back to buy stuff. I didn’t realize just how many shops there were along this stretch of road until it was over 2 hours later that I finally hit the last shop before crossing the street to the hotel. Back up in the room, I showered and headed up to the lounge to write in my journal, enjoy a cold drink and have a snack. The view from this side of the hotel was spectacular. I could sit there all day and look out over the river.
Day view

Night view

Jim trudged back to the hotel around 4:00, tired, sweaty and so very excited about his day in Bako National Park. When he told me how rugged the trail was, we both agreed that I would have hated it. I was happy with my decision to do my own thing and thrilled that he got to do the one thing he was looking forward to on this trip.

After Jim showered, he joined me in the lounge to have a drink and talk about dinner plans. One of our guidebooks recommended a place located close to the hotel. I had seen it earlier in my ventures and thought it looked pretty good so we decided to give it a try. Upon entering the place we noticed it was full of tourists and we should have taken that as a sign to go somewhere else but alas, we didn’t. The menu offered average fare for the area as well as many dishes geared to those less adventurous. Again, we should have cut our losses and gone somewhere else but we didn’t. I ordered a lamb fried rice that was lacking in flavor with lamb that was well into the mutton stage of life. Jim ordered an unmemorable noodle dish.After dinner, we strolled up the road a ways to see one of the many cat statues that grace the city. This was by far the biggest one of all. It was a family of cats with mom and dad proudly looking over their little ones.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped in at the Cat City in for a couple of beers. By then we were pretty well done for the day and decided to call it a night. Tomorrow would prove to be one of my favorite parts of the trip......we were going to see orangutans.

1 comment:

猫子 said...

Jim what a wonderful record of my hometown ^ ^ Glad you like it here, do come again :D

Oh and by the way, you are one lucky fellow! The Proboscis monkey is sitting there for you to take his picture!