Village Tour and Longhouse Visit

Trip Start Oct 28, 2011
Trip End Nov 11, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Thursday, November 3, 2011

This morning we headed to the Kapit ferry jetty in the Mini Pandaw for a visit of the village, its museum, Fort, and market. The jetty is a busy place; from here locals travel up or downriver to see family, doctors, buy supplies, etc. They travel on 1,100 horsepower ferries, designed like Russian patrol boats - long, slender, powerful - and NOISY!!! They run all day long up and down the river on some kind of schedule that hasn't quite made sense yet. Often, the passengers ride on top, where the luggage and cargo is stowed. With no life jackets in sight!

We walked a short way up to the museum which presents a nice collection of artefacts on the people, culture, and history of the region. Then it was a short walk back to the waterfront to see the Fort which has been transformed into another museum. Here they had a lovely and interesting collection of porcelain and amber.

From the Fort, our guide led us to the market where we had some time to wander on our own. It was quite curious again to be the object of the local's interest - tourism is still so new here that we garner inquisitive looks and tentative smiles from adults, while children simply giggle and video us on their cell phones! I saw many interesting items up for sale in the market, everything from fresh fruits and vegetables as you'd expect, to dried fish (rather odiferous) and wild boar hooves!! Not quite sure what you do with a hoof, especially with skin and hair still attached, but that's my own lack of knowledge....

We returned to the ship for lunch and were greeted by our ever-smiling sailors and dining room staff. Then we left again for the jetty, bound for a number of van-taxis for a 45-minute ride up into the jungle along a meandering, zigzagging, undulating road to a longhouse where we were treated to a traditional welcome ceremony, including an offering to the spirits, a demonstration of dance, and an opportunity to visit their living quarters. Fortunately, the rain held off until our visit was over, then came pouring down as we enjoyed a cold beverage roadside. Time to return to the ship for a cold shower and dinner.
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I imagine this has to be the furtherest away from western civ at all. Love the market scenes, the always impending rain coming and going, and it seems the friendliness of the Sarawakians. You are really up there!!!!

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