Friday, September 16, 2011

A Day in Cat City

"You didn't have to go see orangutans," said the Malaysian grandpa at the hostel breakfast table, there with his extended family. "We're right in front of you!"

He was a character, this one.

I was at loose ends in Kuching, Sarawak, in Borneo. I'd been planning to go see proboscis monkeys in Bako National Park, but yesterday I'd learned that there was a water shortage at the park, so no overnights were allowed, and the monkeys didn't come out in the heat of the day.

Maybe I could try again to see some in Sabah when I reached the far end of Borneo. But what was there to do with my spare day in Kuching?

I went to take a bus to Sarawak Cultural Centre but I missed it by minutes, so I wandered about aimlessly. I tried to get an Ice Blended at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, only to learn that the local branch had closed. Boo-hoo! I'd whizzed right by the Singapore Airport branch knowing I'd find one here.

I was extremely early for the next bus.

I met another traveler on the bus, a British woman who had just finished working in Bahrain. She made me laugh with her story of attending a barbecue in the desert during her first two weeks there and ending up under arrest for suspected devil-worship.

At the cultural center, we checked out longhouses and dance performances. These were all hokey, sure, but also kind of sweet and genuine.

We tried the blow gun game, and I hit the target on my second try. But alas, no one presented me with a stuffed bear of toy orangutan.

I wandered back to town in the afternoon, to watch a regatta along the river and laze about in the afternoon sun.

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