Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hits and Misses in Laidback Kuching

Kuching's Jalan India. This photo only courtesy of jpatokal.


Kuching, Borneo -Malaysia's wettest city, the "Cat City"; the capital city of the Sarawak State, is located in the island of Borneo. It is 1 hour and 45 minutes (by plane) from KL. I started my day rather leisurely. I wanted my last leg of travels to be relaxing, but it is hard to relax when the sun is harsh and perspiration bathes me at every block that I walk.

Kuching - for a tourist city - doesn't know exactly what to do with their tourists. There is no adequate public utility transportation. Sure they say there is a shuttle but you have to be patient to wait for one. Taxis charge astronomical fares. In this part of Malaysia, these idiots ( I refer to all
taxi drivers the world over as "greedy idiots" ) never use meter. Imagine my taxi fare from the airport is 26 ringgit, then when I booked for my ride back to the airport, it has escalated to 35 ringgit! Were not even talking about a limousine car, but small cars I can probably lift with both my arms. Gosh, my cars back home are thrice their size and i'm not even being sarcastic! The point being, rates for tourists are inexplicably horrendous, I was shaking my head from dusk til dawn! LOL

Are you a budget backpacker who loves to roam around? Then this place isn't for you, honey! The city is lovely but you'd find yourself a
very limited area to roam. Imagine how much they are charging me if I were to visit the Cat Museum (this is the Cat City, didn't I mention?) up Siol Hill which is just 10-15 minutes by car - 60 ringgit! We aren't talking about me visiting Paris' Louvre! Duh!

There are more than half a dozen museums in the city; the biggest and more important one - the
Sarawak Museum aka Ethnology Museum - prides itself as being the "best in southeast asia" which I would beg to disagree. Let me just namedrop Jakarta's National Museum for this!

I love the riverside though, which they call Waterfront. You could see the Astana (Palace) from across Sarawak River; the State Parliament gleaming its gilded roof, and the dreamily "romantic" (read its history)
Fort Margherita. I took a tambang (boat) - at 1 ringgit - to cross the river and walked to the Fort which was amazing. It is my favorite part of Kuching, to be honest.

I winded my day watching a Malaysian Film, "
Evolusi: KL Drift 2" which was derivative at best, with horrible digital tech visuals. Aaron Aziz is a baddie here, I saw him in another film ("Pisau Cucur" or "Gold Diggers" where he played a James Bond-like character) just last November in KL.

Day in and day out, I was looking for local cuisine suggested by travel and tourist sites. They were always
not available, especially "Midin". The ones I caught - the Kolo Mee - could very well be missed. Our Lucky Me instant noodles back home taste better. So much for gastronomic delights.

I went up the
Station Mall, at the 9th floor, and saw Kuching from the top. Beautiful! Buildings rising over foliage, the Sarawak River snaking languidly all over the city. It is awe-inspiring from up above!


Kuching's Riverside. This photo only courtesy of www.ibanorum.netfirms.com.


This is the Eye in the Sky!


4 comments:

Everlito (ever) Villacruz said...

bakit tinawag na CAT CITY?..

ah! siguro siCAT na syudad!

Trotter said...

Hi Eye! Not everything is perfect... ;)
But Sarawak always remembers me Sandokan, The Tiger of Malaysia in Emilio Salgari's adventures; I was young and loved it... ;))

The Mayan ruins of Tulum are at Blogtrotter 2 for you to enjoy. Have a great week!!

eye in the sky said...

Ever,

The word "Kuching" means "cat" in Malay Bahasa, and since the bahasa and Tagalog are quite related sematically (i.e. "me is "a-cu" in malay, "ako" in tagalog"), it isn't a surprise that "kuching" might as well be "kuting" which is tagalog for a young cat.

Literatures say that the moniker, "Cat City" is a nw phenomenon - pauso ba, to attract tourists, thus they also have the new "Cat Museum". Reality is, when you're roaming the city, the stray animals are ... yup, CATS - not dogs! Everywhere else I go, Sri Lanka, Lao, India, Nepal, the most common strys are dogs. In Kuching, theyre CATS! I oly saw 1 dog during my whole stay in Kuching. So the moniker is actually appropriate.

eye in the sky said...

Trotter,

You amaze me with your knowledge of literature and history. Your comment a few weeks back about that archaeological head of Sarawak was spot on. I thought you were referring to a modern entity. Quite embarassing actually to learn that I need to do more readings. Haha.