We’ve saved you the best until last. And how to cull a hundred photos down to just a few for posting.
I was joined on the balcony this morning by a moth the size of a saucer – the moth that scared the wits out of Laura two nights ago, and no one believed her. A beautiful creature, if a little tatty around the edges. A mist skirted the mountain opposite but there were no overhead clouds so it was going to be a hot and sunny day. The wet season seems to bring a day of rain and a day of sun. Perfect for experiencing the best of this region.
Sunday morning brought out the tiny fishing boats. Half a dozen lined up in the middle of the river, avoiding the shipping channel of the bigger commercial boats heading out to sea. Umbrellas up to shade the sun, many of them were there all day. A popular weekend pastime the world over it seems. Our Sunday morning plan was to visit the Satok Weekend market on the other side of the river about 5kms from our apartment. Due to the late rising of certain party members a taxi was hailed to get us there before closing time and I noted the route carefully so as to walk home later.
Mr Voon in cab HQ23 was our driver and after extracting information on our visit and flights home with a hint of soliciting more work for himself we engaged him for our airport rides tomorrow. Simon lined up the instructions of a 4.30 am pick up for he and Laura and an 8.45 am pick up for me. Sorted – with a time and a half penalty rate for the pre-dawn service and disturbing his sleep! One less thing to worry about on departure day. On day when Australia talks of removing penalty rates it’s good to see the Sarawak taxi service is standing its’ ground.
It seems half of Kuching goes to the weekend markets. The traffic in town was minimal but massive queues of cars trying to get into the carpark and drop off points of the market indicated we were heading to something special. Satok did not disappoint. Vast sheds of fruit and vegetables, indoor garden needs and plant nursery, fish and chickens, herbs and spices, snacks and cooked foods kept our cameras clicking constantly.
A food court to the side closest to the river drew us in for breakfast along with many other families enjoying the day out. Well-fed cats lazed about on the floors, many heavily pregnant, lapping up crumbs and tasty treats offered by diners. No chance of any of these moggies going hungry! One almost crawled into my backpack, so intent was it on sniffing out the scent of my cats, and leaving its’ own in response. The three of us chose from different stalls and each plate was duly delivered and payment taken at the table. My Penang Laksa was delicious and just enough to leave room for more snacking during the morning.
And snack we did, sampling so many fruits, sweets, fried savouries, and drinks. There was no holding back or second thoughts for waist lines or wallets. All the stall holders were friendly and indulged our curiosity. The displays were so beautifully laid out it was hard not to take photos of even every day common items such as piles of chillies and rows of fish.
By mid-day the traffic and crowds were thinning and our legs were tiring so we called it quits and headed back to town. I walked while the others caught a taxi, arranging to meet back at the flat in two hours’ time. I calculated an hour’s walk from home to the market but allowed time for photo stops and side tracking along the way. Simon and Laura were detouring to a shopping mall for some shoe hunting on the way back. At least Laura was shoe hunting, Simon was bag carrying.
My walk was much quicker than I thought but very enjoyable, even under the mid-day sun. The wide covered verandas and tree lined streets made a very pleasant trip. I was back at the shopping mall within 45 mins so chanced my luck at finding them there rather than waiting on the doorstep of the flat with no key for an hour. Ten minutes of scouring three floors and there was the familiar shape of Simon, head poking a foot above everyone else. I joined the shoe shopping activity while Simon found a bored husbands’ chair to park himself on and watch the crowds. Kuching residents who weren’t at the market were here in this shopping complex and others like it all over town. Seems everyone dresses the kids up and goes to town on a Sunday.
Shoes selected and weariness setting in we headed for home and the possibility of a late lunch along the way. Very few of cafes were open; empty streets with shutters down and locks bolted explained why so many were in the shopping mall food courts. We recalled the small place very close to home we ate at on the first morning advertised themselves as open 24/7. The chairs out the front were a welcome sign as we approached.
Plates of fried rice were ordered, coffee for the ladies and beer for the gent as we toasted our final lunch in Kuching, lamenting the fact we had to return home tomorrow. Most of the stalls in the hawker centre were closed but one food stall and one drink stall remained open to feed the trickle of customers and the staff from the other stalls who were preparing for the evening, cleaning after a weeks’ trade, or just hanging out on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Back at the flat I opened my bag to empty it of the extra snacks from the market for my afternoon tea and sat down to write as the others rested. An early departure tomorrow means my morning on the balcony will be cut short so I needed to get ahead or be left with an incomplete memory of this wonderful trip.
At 7pm we woke sleeping beauty from his afternoon slumber with a promise of a visit to his favourite barmaid accompanied by a final feed, or not, as the case may be. Reading the menu board of Lok Lok House for the last time, I chose Salted Vegetable and Tofu Soup (a real winner), Laura had her favourite Nasi Lemak with Chicken Curry and Simon chose the Diced Pork with Ginger. Grandma was happy to sell us our final Tiger beers and kindly allowed a photo. Something that doesn’t happen too often judging by her countenance.
Poor old dear can hardly walk with a terrible stiffness in the hips which makes her sway wildly with every step. I wondered how she carried the drinks to the table, particularly hot coffee without spilling it. But necessity makes us great inventors. She placed her tray upon a plastic chair and using it like a trolley pushed it towards the tables, collecting the empties on the way back. She must have those chairs worn to a super smooth finish so they glide easily across the tiled floors. Anyway, she was grateful that we collected our own drinks, returned the empties to the recycling bag and delivered cash to hand.
Farewell to my brother and sister-in-law and thanks for the company. It’s been lovely to have people to share the journey with and do so such with such ease and pleasantry. There will be one more post tonight as I have a long stopover in Singapore and who knows what might happen. I have some plans to fill in the 7 hours in my favourite city. Thanks for joining with us on social media and I hope we’ve inspired some of you to visit this most welcoming Malaysian city of Kuching and relived some of the memories of those who’ve been here before. Just make sure you get a balcony with a view of the sedate Sarawak River.