Day 44: Back to KuchingJuly 29, 2016 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C
Another day of clear skies and gorgeous weather, but alas we couldn't really enjoy it as we had to leave Damai. Knowing that we had nothing else planned for the day and the shuttle bus from our hotel back to Kuching arrived every 2 hours, we decided that in the morning we'd visit the nearby Sarawak Cultural Village. It's hard to describe exactly what this place is - it's a village with a bunch of huts and longhouses, each constructed by a different ethnic group from Sarawak in their traditional style, showcasing their traditional way of life and a unique aspect of their culture.
So it's sort of a cultural theme park I guess.
After our hotel breakfast we had a wander around the park (60 RMY entrance fee is a bit steep, but we were there for a few hours so it balances out I guess). It was quite interesting seeing all the different cultures and their traditions, though you'd probably have to be an anthropologist to really pick the differences between the Iban vs the Orang Ulu vs the Bidayuh and so on. Not to say that they all look the same or anything, but, well .. they all share an awful lot of similarities to the untrained eye.
Had a quick lunch at the food court before heading back to the hotel and waiting for the shuttle. It arrived eventually at about 1:45 running 30 minutes late, and there were four couples waiting so when we all piled in it was completely chockers. The van pulled up at the cultural village nearby as well but unfortunately the people waiting couldn't get in as there were no seats (and even the floor was taken up with luggage).
About 10 minutes down the road the German man next to me asked where the shuttle was going and I replied Kuching, which sent him and his wife into a tizzy! Apparently they only wanted to go to the Damai Beach Resort which was maybe 500 metres from the hotel, but had waited 2 hours for a taxi to take them there and then hopped on the shuttle bus without asking where it was going! And they both looked like they'd brought their entire wardrobe with them - two large suitcases each plus hand luggage, pretty unbelievable really.
So we turned around and drove them back to the Damai Beach Resort, then back out onto the road again! By now it was pushing 2pm and we were about 45 minutes behind schedule, but it's not like we were in a hurry.
We'd booked into a new hotel for our next couple of nights, this time on the waterfront at a place called the Waterfront Inn & Hostel. It's in an old building but was renovated maybe 10 years ago, so it's at least reasonably modern inside. The common areas are lovely in a rustic way. Spent the afternoon doing chores - Shandos writing and blogging, me doing laundry and sending a postcard back to GALKAL.
In the shuttle we'd struck up a conversation an Australian man and his German wife in their fifties; we'd seen them around the hotel of course but hadn't really spoken to them. As it turned out, they'd booked into the Waterfront Inn as well! So we had a chat while checking in and decided to have dinner together.
At 7pm we headed out with them to a Vietnamese restaurant around the corner - the food was great, very authentic tasting and cheap too. They are quite well travelled having been to India maybe 10 times, and with lots of great stories. Definitely the longest and best conversation we've had with anyone since leaving Sydney - although we spent a lot of time with Carol in Malacca there was still a bit of a language barrier at times, whereas here there was none.
On the way back to the hotel after dinner we agreed that we'd all head to Bako National Park tomorrow as a group - part of getting there involves a boat ride which gets cheaper per head the larger your group, so having a group of 4 saves a good chunk of cash. So we'll meet them downstairs tomorrow after breakfast!Read more