Kuching, Cat City
Trip Start May 17, 2006
20Trip End Jul 01, 2006
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Friday I went to the Cat Museum, which was awesome
After the Cat Museum I went to the Sarawak Museum, which is in two buildings. One building is almost completely empty but the other one is good. They have displays on the different tribes that live in Borneo, as well as a replica of a longhouse you can walk through. On the bottom floor, however, there was more bad taxidermy. Birds, cats, monkeys, etc. A whole floor of crazy looking animals.
Friday afternoon I walked around the waterfront again and visited more of the city's cat statues, of which there are plenty.
This morning I went to the Sarawak Cultural Village, which has a bunch of longhouses and dwellings to show what the houses of the different people in Malaysia look like inside
After the village I went to the Sunday Market (even though it is Saturday) and sampled some jungle fruits. I had one of these fruits that looks like snakeskin that I ate in Bali with David on our honeymoon. The guy gave it to me for free, which was cool. I also got a starfruit and a rose apple, which I have yet to eat. They had all kinds of things for sale, but nothing too weird.
That leads me to... Malaysia is very easy on the traveler. No one tries to rip you off, you don't have to bargain, and everyone speaks English
It is true what the taxi drivers say; there are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Chinese of various religions, and they all seem to get along and not be bothered by each other. The city is a weird mix of styles because of this. The public monuments are a mix of Malay (Muslim), tribal, and Chinese styles.
Last night I had the funniest taxi driver ever. He was super old and kept laughing his ass off whenever he said anything at all. I said I was going to Ong Tiang Swee, and he said "ong tiang swee... hahahahahahahaha!" And then he said "there aren't many American cars here because they are too big for our roads... hahahahahahahhaa," and then "Hotel Telang Usan, hahahahahahaa!" I think he was crazy.
Unfortunately, the Eagles seem to be a big hit over here. Everybody in town is listening to "Hotel California" ALL THE F-ING TIME. I am with the Dude on the Eagles (see the Big Lebowski) so it sort of sucks. But, those of you who miss hair metal need to come to Borneo, where the tradition is alive and well with Malaysian bands that sound like Quiet Riot or Warrant or something
People in Kuching are crazy. Before I went to Sibu, I went out to the pubs near my hotel and had some drinks with locals. I got my first taste of tuak (local rice wine), which some transvestite bartenders gave me for free. Then I had some whiskey and lychee liquor (ass!) with another bartender and some Chinese logging industry types. They thought it was pretty funny that I spoke Chinese. I met some of the local gay dudes, too. They watch Queer as Folk over here and everyone loves Brian Kinney. In one bar they had a toilet tank over the sink that said "vomit station," which they apparently need because people there drink like lunatics, like crazier than any fratboy in Tijuana. They were yelling, falling on the floor, etc. By the way, the hotel I stayed at was called the Telang Usan and it ruled. It is owned by an orang ulu (upriver tribe) family and the service is really good, plus it is cheap (about $25). Stay there if you go to Kuching.