Borneo Baby!

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Saturday, January 12, 2013

What a blessing!  We've been able to meet up with more couchsurfers in Kuching. Alex and Lucy are an interesting couple who have lived in many countries (Kenya, Japan, Costa Rica, Philippeans, Malaysia) and travelled to many, many more! How inspiring!  We were very pleased  to stay with them for a couple of days while we planted ourselves in Borneo. Luckily it was the weekend and they had a bit of time to spend with us. We wandered through the market (one of my favourite travel-related activities) and I finally found some seeds for some of the unique veggies I've been eating and hope to try growing.  This is a brand new market area for the city.  Previously, the stalls were crammed into little alleys.  Now there's a separate facility with lots of space and air.  We're still adding to the list of new fruits we've tried.  Now we have: passion fruit, kedongdong (love the name), and starfruit. We also had fresh mango right off the tree (they have 5 in their backyard).  Their garden is also a haven for birds and we enjoyed sitting outside watching. 

Kuching is such a relaxed city!  There is lots going on and lots available, but you wouldn't know it unless you went looking.  We enjoyed the freedom of being able to wander with out any pressures or the usual 'tourist' traps.  Even so, we couldn't resist getting our photos taken in front of the many cat monuments (Kuching means cat) and being a tacky-tourist.  Spent some time along the waterfront, in China town and Little India (I had to get some more fabric).  There were some pedestrian only streets with little alleys going off of them just begging to we walked along.  One of them spat us out in someone's shop and another into the back kitchen of a restaurant!  No one seemed concerned and just waved us through.  It's amazing how our concept of trespassing has changed.  The waterfront also had some lovely walkways.  There was a man playing a traditional Iban instrument which sounded really nice.  At night the area lit up with families playing together (much cooler after dark!).  Reservoir Park on a Sunday afternoon was just like a park anywhere else in the world - full of people running for exercise and families playing.  As I said, just a really chilled, non-touristy city. 

A day or so to relax was nice.  Everything seemed to shut down for the weekend, but now we have a few necessities we need to fulfil before moving on. Booking our accommodation for the next part of our journey was forefront on the list. Tomorrow we go into our first (of many, I hope) National Parks in Sarawak.

With a little bit of time after the 'chores' were done, we took a little side trip to Bau to the Fairy Caves (our couchsurfer host was kind enough to let us catch a ride). To get up to the caves we had to climb 4-5 stories up a tower to the entrance. From there is was a bit further up wet (guano and water) ladders through little holes in the rock to get to the fairy part. When we finally emerged, it was a large cavern, lit by the sky outside. A large gaping hole like a mouth ringed with sharp teeth allowed in the sunlight. With the light casting an eerie glow, a multitude of green growth formed over the rocks giving it a very soft feel. There were many unusual rock formations which are supposed to be reminiscent of fairies, although I couldn't see it. The cave was filled with hidden squeeks and calls of 1000's of bats. We did manage to find a small side cavern where we came eye to eye with several mating pairs. There were also some birds which I believe are swifts. These are the famous birds of SE Asia that build nest out of their own saliva. This is a highly prized delicacy in China and sells for 1000/KG. These birds were flying in the dark and must use a kind of echolocation like the bats. It was an exceptionally beautiful place!

Here's to the start of our wildlife adventures in Borneo!
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