December 31, 2008

not quite there yet.

No, my story has not yet come to an end.

On the way to the Airport, we were chanting, “Serapi, Serapi, Serapi!”

Now, you must be wondering what on earth Serapi is. Well, it’s a shop we went to on the way back from the Serikin-Fairy-Annah Rais trip. Encik Malik, our tour guide was kind enough to stop at the shop to let us grab some grub.

And when the Mee Kolok at Chillipeppers was yummy, the one here is superbly bibir-licking good! Such generous portions and extremely delicious too. This is one of the most favourite orders at the shop because the lady preparing the Mee Kolok never got a break.

We ate the noodles, slurped the soup, drank teh si beng (layered tea, with gula merah at the bottom), went tipsy, had another round of noodles and then only were we ready to go back.

I think I will miss the food the most.

And I have not even started on Pasar Satok. (which I may never get started on, actually)

the last day there.

Our flight was scheduled to be at 9.05 p.m. so we still had some time to roam around Kuching town. My parents and brother went to Petrajaya that morning, but my sister and I decided not to follow. We instead headed to town with my Auntie and cousins to do some last minute shopping, theehehehehhe.

All in all, like I have said before and like I will be saying for many times to come, Sarawak is so rich with culture and beauty and colours and creativity. The famous kek lapis Sarawak is sold at every nook and cranny of the roadsides, the isle of shops, in shops itself, at stalls and the list goes on and on and on.

And they look yummy just because of the intricate designs and vivid colours. Such diligence!

But I have been told that the more famous ones are sisik ikan and hati parek. I don’t really like the hati parek one (we helped ourselves to the testers, heheheh) so, I bought a few others.

And while waiting for our ride to the airport, we slept. And slept. And slept.

last night together.

That night, nothing much happened. After many nights planning to walk along the waterfront, we finally did. We made it a point to make it happen because that was my family’s last night there.

The Waterfront is quite alive at night, but perhaps we were expecting it to be a little bit more happening than it was, thus the clear disappointment.

Nonetheless, we chit chatted, took many photos, and laughed (and not very strategically, according to my dad (because it was like all the time for no reason) ), ate delicious food by the river and went back home (okay, hotel) happy.

The past 2 days have been so fulfilling, we could only be more thankful to be given another day to enjoy the beautiful sights Sarawak had to offer.
And we were starting to call Hilton home. erk.

Annah Rais Longhouse.

Before heading back to the hotel, we made one final stop at the Annah Rais Longhouse.

It belongs to the Annah family and Rais, mind you, is not a name. It is pronounced as Ra-ih, which means village.

While yesterday at the Cultural Village, the Village painted longhouses in a rosy light, the reality is not quite so. No doubt that they are beautiful, but then, the lives they lead are dated back to those times when our parents were still living in the kampong. Most of them are quite forward with technology, already, though. They use electricity and clean water from pipes but the houses they live in are mostly still made out of bamboo and tree bark.

And longhouses are really, really long I tell you. And that’s the whole reason why they are called longhouses to begin with.
The houses are partitioned, but the landing on which they are situated are connected like one really, long platform.

The rivers surrounding the area looked cold and inviting. They were all so clean!! Awesome!

You know what is more awesome?

Now we know that people can’t live without it. Uncle Zai (my uncle who works there) will be so happy to know this. Ahahaha.

first experience.

After Kg. Serikin, we were just too tired to go anywhere else to be very honest. Not only was the whole ride very close to a boat ride/jet ski/ banana boat (we were bouncing non-stop to and from everywhere), the weather that day was very wicked.

I felt like the sun was boring into my back, ready to make my ribs edible at any steak shop.

Throughout most of the journey after that, all of us slept. That was until we were brought to Fairy Caves. Just one look at the stairs and you would gulp. But I don’t know where we mustered the strength to climb up despite the hot weather. But that was only the beginning because those stairs only led to the mouth of the cave. More steps to count after that. It was both exhilarating and scary at the same time.

The walls of the cave were so cool that the entire place felt like it had air-cond switched on.

But the cave, Subhanallah, is magnanimous! It is so huge we looked like midgets in it (not that I’m that big to begin with). It’s amazing to think that once upon a time, people actually made caves their homes. We were gaping in awe most of the time in the cave.

This was my first experience and I think a first for most of us there as well. Alhamdulillah.

Kg. Serikin

The second night there, we were so bummed out we couldn’t do anything but watch TV and sleep. All plans of hitting the Waterfront hanya dalam mimpi, literally.

The following morning, though, was a different story altogether. We were headed towards Kg. Serikin, a border town. Initially, my mom had reservations about going there. But then, my dad decided that it would be a great idea to charter a van for the 11 of us just to see what the place was all about.

I’ll tell you what it was all about.

It was all about clothes. Cloth; of different colours and sizes, patterns and motifs, designs and types. You name it. Lace, cotton, you name it, and I can assure you that they are all sold at Kg. Serikin, at prices you could only dream of!

Imagine, I bought 3 pairs of kain (meaning enough cloth for top and kain) for less than RM100! My aunt managed to get some very pretty and good quality lace for less than RM 60 per pair, if I’m not mistaken. Us girls went all coocoo, well, who wouldn’t?

So, although the weather was not very kind, the sun practically grilling us, this shopping trip is one of the best yet that I’ve been to.

And I don’t even like shopping for cloth, so trust me, you will go crazy :)

my personal favourite. but no, not getting married yet. ;p

Damai Beach

we dropped by Damai Beach on the way back to the hotel. gorgeous, isn't it. Subhanallah.


Why I call it the highlight of the trip is because it was by far the most interesting of all the places we visited. The cultural village is beautifully kept at Damai, very well maintained and it is extremely educational and user-friendly. The cultural show at the end of the trip was also very, very entertaining, where the performers were well rehearsed and very experienced.

It also helped that we had our tour leader/van driver who knew the place inside out, who explained to us things we were not very sure of.

The cultural village surely is one of the places I will keep on going back to if I ever get the chance to go back to Sarawak.

the whole family at the Bidayuh Longhouse.

i think she is very pretty. she very gracefully smiled at the camera while weaving...

this is a very traditional and ancient way of separating the kulit from the paddy to make beras. this was at the Bidayuh Longhouse.

we tried costumes at the Orang Iban Longhouse. mama and adik became Orang Iban and Hana (my tiny cousin on the leftmost) and i tried Orang Ulu costumes. i loved the costumes so much! such beautiful and vivid colours. you don't want to know how many other photos i took in them. teeheheheee

he tried the sumpit at the Penan Hut.. i did too. we hit the dartboard but missed the jackpot. this was a very, very good experience! the Penan guy is very hygenic too. after every person tried the sumpit, he would spray the mouthpiece with antiseptic. very good!

my brother and dad with Orang Penan. they don't live in houses because they are Nomads. so they build huts like these for shelter.

would you look at those stilts?! we were told that the reason why the Orang Ulu house was on stilts was because the women were afraid of wild animals and so, being on high grounds made the feel protected while their men were away hunting.

the intricate designs on the Orang Ulu House. they are so, so creative!

Melanau is the richest tribe in Sarawak. They are the only tribe to have sub-levels in their houses like you see in the above picture.

i really don't know how to play this game. takut terkepit!

Rumah Melayu looks like my Arwah Nenek's house in Kedah.

Chinese house, thus the mengade pose. teehee..

aha. i think it was justified for me to call it the highlight of my trip, yes?
yes, i think so.

animal kingdom.

The third day began with rain. I know! Such a bummer, right? Of all times, it had to rain. And the ‘best part’ is that we had so many things planned for the third day. But by the time we were done with the yummy breakfast buffet, the rain had stopped and out the sun came peeping at us.

Our first destination was Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. We arrived just in time for the feeding time of the orang utans. It was very fascinating. It’s amazing how smart those creatures are and how much they understand what humans want them to do and what is expected out of them.

Oh, orang utans are big show-offs too. Although there was only one orang utan who showed up for feeding, s/he (not sure) really did give us a show; posing here and there, everywhere because they knew they would be rewarded with luscious fruits by the caretakers of the wildlife centre.

It was a great experience. I wish we had stayed a little bit longer as I found out that there were a lot of other parks to visit, but we didn’t have the chance to.

Our next stop was the Jong’s crocodile farm and zoo. This place was brimming at the seams with all kinds of crocodiles. Small, big, huge, humungous, tailless, buta, gigi besar, kecil. All kinds of them. And because I am morbid sometimes, I thought of what would happen if I were to fall into their cages… though, of course, the answer is crystal clear.

After the crocodile farm, we headed to another place, to what I thought of as the absolute highlight of the trip!

seeing sights.

On the second day, we spent the morning in town, after more of the good, great Hilton breakfast. That day, I tried the breads and the dim sum and the… okay, enough about food. It will never end, I tell you.

We bought a few silly hats while we were in town and was told by a very kind local afterwards that those hats were actually worn by Orang Ulu. Though he did mention that we looked more like Australians since the hats Orang Ulu wore were made out of tree bark and ours were leather-like.

Basically the second day was spent sightseeing in town. Museums aren’t really my thing, but we went along. It’s not everyday that we get tours in Kuching right?

Museum Etymology, Cat Museum and Civic Centre.

I am sure that Adlin and Jaja would have loved the cat museum and I wish that I was there with you girls so that we could go silly together.

So, here’s to the both of you :)

what a night!

The afternoon we arrived, we didn’t do much apart from lazing around, and unpacking some stuff. We were waiting for our cousins to arrive before planning anything.

That night, we went out for dinner at Taman Kereta; apparently the most popular seafood spot in Kuching (for a very good reason, too!). it is uniquely situated on top of a parking lot, which I must say is good strategy :).

We tried all kinds of food. Since there we 2 families, we ordered quite a lot and there was definitely more than enough to pass around. We ordered sotong goreng, butter prawns, midin goreng, umai, mushroom and sea cucumber, ayam buluh, and also siakap soya, all of which we proudly finished like famished tigers.

The food is really, really phenomenal, I tell you!

I could certainly get used to it. hehehe.
That night after dinner, we decided to take a walk. Of course, we had to take a photo with the infamous Kuching Statue.

Then, we headed to the Waterfront. It is absolutely gorgeous at night! I attempted to take many photos, but I just haven’t figured out the technicalities of my camera, thus they all turned out blurry.

We called it a night soon after the walk. I'm sure I slept smiling :)

this is the ayam buluh. i know there's a name for it, but i forgot! help me out Tracy? apa nama dia ye?

this is umai, one of the local delicacies. i do not regret one moment having tried this! it tastes a bit like cencalok, only better, because it doesn't have that stinky smell, and of course, it is very tasty :) you can see the sotong goreng at the back :)

this is midin goreng. it's a little bit like pucuk paku in semenanjung only it tastes a little bit different. to die for, lah. sangat sedap :)