One more night at Waterfront lodge. As we have stayed in 2 converted shop houses we feel qualified to comment on what it is like to stay in one. It is a fairly unique experience in that the house becomes your “Home”. The rooms are generally not grand but are functional with attached bathrooms with normal shower etc. but many are smaller than your average hotel. The rooms are on the upper levels and the ground floor is the common living area. There are lounges in the front part and tables to write at or use ones computer or tablet on. There are generally air wells that let light in in two places in the length of the house. Most shop houses are about 50-60 metres deep. This particular shop house has a kitchen at the rear of the ground floor were you can make coffee and a fridge and microwave give it the feeling of a kitchen in a friend’s house where you might be staying. There are several community tables in this kitchen.
The overall feeling when staying in a shop house is that of visiting friends or relatives with staff and other guests mixing freely. It is something a visitor to South East Asia should experience at least once. The only negative is the steep stairs and we would not recommend them for anyone over 50 years old who has knee or heart problems.
The ethnic mix in Kuching is about 25% Chinese, the balance being mainly Malays. Like all of Malaysia we have seen so far they live together harmoniously.
As Kuching means "Cat" in Malaysian we are visiting some of the many Cat Monuments in town for some “Kitsch” photos today. (And I mean Kitsch!)
For dinner last night we wanted to try the local Nasi Lemak. We were directed to a café in the front part of a local temple by the lodge manager where the best one is served. It is a dish comprised of coconut rice, a sambal, fried anchovies, whole fried peanuts mixed with tiny dried fish, cucumber and some curried chicken with potato. It took a long time to get the fishy taste from our mouths and we both declared that we were glad we tried it but we would not partake again. Cost 16RM for two or $5.70 Australian. Eventually had to eat a Yam ice cream to cleanse the palate (only 2RM or 70 cents Australian each).
Spent hours after our Nasi Lemak experience trying to find accommodation in Penang for when we return there on the 29th and found most hotels were fully booked. Frustrating but we eventually secured a reservation at The Armenian Street Heritage where we have stayed before but at a greater price! There must be something on in Penang that week. Were lulled to sleep last night by heavy rain and thunderstorms sweeping across Kuching.
Headed off to a nearby multi coloured building this morning that houses several small Kek Lapis factories. They make a multilayered cake unique to Sarawak. We watched them being made and purchased 2 large pieces for 10RM each. Yummy.
Followed riverfront to the local market area that was packed with locals. Not a tourist in sight. Found a bunch of baby jungle fern fronds picked prior to their unfurling. On our last trip here I had a nasty experience when over indulging on these, hallucinating, feeling unwell and quite weird! Gave them a miss today. Market traders had all the usual spices but the large open buckets of ghee, palm oil margarine and other solidified cooking oil products amazed us.
As we were very near the city Mosque we ventured into a street specialising in Muslim head dress. The whole of the 5 foot way covered footpath was festooned in them and there was hardly room to move. Sweet Muslim ladies smiled at us as we wandered through their domain and it made us realise how much the Muslim attire for women makes you focus on their faces.
Warming up here so we abandoned the market streets for the Merdaka shopping centre to cool off. Each time we have been inside this centre there has been long queues for Burger King. We noticed that those queuing were more rotund than the general populace. Fast food looks set to cause the same health problems here as in the western world. As a couple who look after their health we entered the supermarket, bought 500g of South Australian Black grapes for 8.95RM or $3.20 Australian for lunch.
Investigated some strange fruit on a tree in backyard of the lodge. It turns out they are a sort of gourd used by Malay natives when dried to carry water. Took a lovely pic of Erica beneath the tree.
Meow! Off to stalk the Kitsch cat monuments!
The meow tour went well and we found three wonderful examples around the town. Many chuckles were had during the taking of the pics. The two larger ones were quite remarkable but definitely “Kitsch”. Moving closer to the two big ones in the morning when we transfer to The Batik Boutique.