Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Land of the Hornbills

Thursday 13 - Monday 17 May 2010

My cousin Alicia told me that her friend opened this new boutique hotel in Kuching that I had to check out. The owner Jacqueline, extended an invitation and we were off to see what this Batik Boutique Hotel is all about.

It’s a small, cosy, modern-like place. Only 15 rooms at RM250 a night. Batik’s the theme with the design covering the doors, beds, walls, lights, carpets and even toilets. Like the batik designs on the mosaic floor. She said they invested a lot on the design.

Batik-themed rooms

Jacky just opened a month ago in April and response has been encouraging although it could do better. She’s on a 6 month sabbatical (CIMB offers these schemes to staff. It’s called the Spa Programme - wtf???!!!) and decided to concentrate on this new project of hers during that time. Lucky CIMB staff. The other corporate companies should follow their example.

Kuching’s quite a nice, laid back town. There’s the waterfront, the historical streets, the really cool museum and the small handricraft shops. Make sure you try their Sarawak Laksa & Kolo Mee. The best ones are served during breakfast so get up early!

Kuching river during a downpour

Friday morning, another cousin Tracy picked us up to balik kampung to Bau, an hour away from town. Luckily my auntie & uncle were not working that day else I wouldn’t know what to say to my grandparents as they don’t speak English! Walked around the back to the farm where they grew crops and all the school kids were wondering what a sesat gwailo was doing in the kampung ha!

Went to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre on Saturday to see the orang utans as both Jerry and Alicia have never seen them live before. There are about more than 20 semi-wild orang utans there with Ritchie (who’s the same age as me) being the largest alpha male.

One of the cheeky orang utans at the centre

There were so many rules to adhere too.. don't make unneccesarily noise, don't laugh at Ritchie, don't let your kids cry, hide your food & water bottle, no flash, etc. There's been a few attacks on stupid people so don't think the orang utans are all cute and tame. They are wild, after all. The ranger said no one has ever won a wrestling match with an orang utan so don't even try. Hell yea, looking at Ritchie's size.. i wouldn't even think about it.

Part of the reason I was in Sarawak was to interview a local designer who's been promoting and expanding Sarawak art to the world. When to see Edric Ong at his gallery along the Waterfront (opposite the Chinese Museum) and he proudly showcased his work with the various indeginous Sarawakian tribes. His proudest achievement he said, was reviving and sustaining the pua kumbu weaving done by the Iban tribe.

Edric Ong showing us some of his work


What say you...