Stay in Kapit and living life the Kapit way
Trip Start Jul 04, 2007
22Trip End Oct 01, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
It was on the top of that a truly magical weekend thanks to my friend Augustina!
She made all my time in Malaysia extra special when she was next to me but knowing that this effect was going to be multiplied by 10 by going to her house and her family was not predicted!!!
She casually invited me and Henry to come to Kapit and we said yes but not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into!!
Kapit is an important river town in East Malaysia, in Sarawah more specifically. You cannot go there by any other means than boat... The industry around the town revolves around timber and coal which I guess explain the fact that you don't need anything else than boats!! There are roads around the town connecting the different villages but I would say that the radius is no more than 1hr drive around!!!
We first flew KL - Sibu which is around 3hrs and then took an "express" boat for another 2h30!!! The town where we arrived was busy around the market and the various little food stalls which gave a real life impression not like KL where people are just busy walking to or from somewhere not too bothered about the surroundings... The number of times we were stopped as we walked through by some relatives of August added to the reality that it was her town!!!
The big difference between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo Malaysia is the population. In KL for example, most of the population is Malay and therefore muslim; in Kapit, the population is either Chinese or Iban (one of the local tribe) and the main religion is Christian... I believe this makes a big difference to the way people behave and it's true that for example alcohol is much cheaper in Kapit than in KL!!!
Throughout the weekend, all the family came to visit us. We had dinner together numerous times and in a way it reminded me of home and the big family gathering expect that here it's every week!!!
August mum and aunts spent hours cooking the best Iban dishes for all of us and the uncles were busy making us try the local liqueur called tuak or rice wine! You have to drink it in a shot no matter how big the glass is! By the end of the night, Henry was no longer tall but long, I was no longer Maud but Ip because Maud is too hard for them and that to them Eve sound like Ip... I'm sure that I must have said stupid things too!!
Another highlight of the trip was going to see the traditional house. Borneo Malaysia is known to be still more traditional than Peninsular Malaysia due to the fact that I guess it is less developed. There are still people living from their own plantations, in traditional houses with nothing less linking them to the modern but the new road in front of their house and their little boats... Going to see such a house was an unforeseen gift as such houses are rapidly disappearing.
The houses are called "long houses" because the whole family lives there in different sections... It's a sort of terraced house section I guess built on sticks (so that the animals can't come inside thehouse) with about 15 or 20 blocs depending on the size of the family where the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc... all have a bloc but all the houses share a common walk way connecting everyone together.