The tours begin
Trip Start May 18, 2009
18Trip End Jun 03, 2009
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We met the rest of our tour group in the lobby - a motley collection - Mr & Mrs Tarbuck (2 scousers complete with rich accent, gapped front teeth for her and a chain smoking husband), the 2 Twitchers - (Mr & Mrs Binoculars, ever on the alert for wild life; he, a neurotic overgrown schoolboy employed as a piano tuner (I jest not), she a doting, following-in-the-wake wife), the Goth king and queen - (he had more tattoos than an Iban headhunter and a drink problem it transpired; she? his mum or his partner? hard to tell in fact; but they drank and spent, and smoked with gay abandon), Mr & Mrs Tenko - a retired couple; he, ex Marine who fought in Malaysia; she, an archetypal colonial housewife, Mrs Hardnose (church-goer) and new husband, Art Attack, an MUFC ex-cricketer, who both specialised in doing as little as possible
Hot, humid, sunny. Our first sortie was the city tour. If the truth be told, there isn't a great deal to visit in the city - the obligatory glimpse of the city hall (memorable!?), cat statues (Kuching is known as the cats city), Chinatown (identical to any other Chinatown in the Far East, the Sarawak Museum (an old colonial building full of the usual local artefacts, so obviously not well developed as a tourist attraction, James Brook memorabilia throughout the town (the White Rajah colonial who put an end to headhunting), the old town on the river front.
And then, the river cruise to view close-ups of the new parliament buidling, the James Brooke residence, Fort Margherita (no joke!), the obligatory crocodile (tiny specimen) and sightings of the water taxis that crisscross the river.
The afternoon, however, provided a much more memorable trip - the Semenggok Orang Utan Wildlife sanctuary. Orang Utans are difficult to spot in the wild and we didn't want to see them as tame cuddly exhibits as seen on the recent TV diary. This sanctuary has a thriving population, free to roam in a large reserve. We arrived in time for the afternoon feeding session; as this was the dry (non-fruiting) season the sanctuary leave fruit out twice a day for any orang utans that need to rely on the food station
Back to the Hilton. Then a stroll along the river front shopping parade (oddly termed a bazaar).
The usual mix of tourist tat, ethnic craftware andt-shirts by the million.
Supper - we went to the recommended seafood restaurant at the top of the car park, (where else would you put it?) A typical Malaysian food court - choose your table after the hasslers have pestered, choose your fish and vegetables and wait briefly for the drinks seller. Excellent fish quality and not expensive by western standards. Highly recommended. And finally a welcome early night to catch up on the lost sleep.