Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Singapore to Kuching

Really, the world will be a better place if we all drop the gum-jokes when we mention Singapore. And any sort of dog-eating joke in reference to Asia? Give it a rest.

Taking great care not to make any remarks implying that I had some hot info about Singapore due to its partial-gum-ban (hey, we can give caning jokes a rest too), I packed up and headed back to the airport for my AirAsia flight to Borneo.

I was flying to Kuching, a city in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Borneo is the island, and there are parts of three countries on the island—Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. The Malaysia bit consists of two states, Sarawak and Sabah. I was flying into Kuching and out of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah ten days later.

On arrival in Kuching, a taxi driver was waiting for me with a sign at the airport. I'd booked ahead with the hostel.

He was a cheery man with round glasses and betelnut teeth. He whisked me into town and left me at Lodge 121, where I'd booked a single room after emailing ahead to confirm they'd gotten rid of the bedbugs I'd read about on TripAdvisor.

The room had no bedbugs, which was great, but it also had window.

I complained, because I'm good at that.

"What can we do? We don't have any en suite rooms with windows available."

"I can leave," I explained. I felt mean, but it was a fact. I could go elsewhere.

"We have a single room with a window with shared bath," offered the clerk.

That was just fine.

I had my little room for $16 a night. No bedbugs.

I went out in the blisteringly hot sun—with bonus hellish-humidity—and walked down to Kuching's waterfront. There you can view the State Assembly Building—which is truly an odd shape, like a cake or a party hat—across the river. Then I headed over to view the cat sculptures.

Kuching means cat in Malay. The city of Kuching milks this happy accident, milks the cat for all its worth. 

Which is not like milking the white lion. Not at all.

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