Kuching caught me by surprise. A place that wasn’t even on my radar other than as a jumping off spot for nearby national parks and jungle excursions has got my attention. About 400,000 people of many different ethnicities (Chinese, Filipino, Malay, Dayak etc) live peacefully in the city located along the Sarawak River. Begun in the 19th C, the core is a jumble of old buildings – many with heritage designations, myriad alleys, signs in different languages and did I mention the food :-). Laksa is an incredible soup found in many forms here. The word originates from an Indian word meaning a million – probably used to describe the many ingredients. My Laksa this evening was rice noodles in a rich cilantro gravy, the bowl filled with green onions, bean sprouts, prawns, chickens and egg.
The BEST lime juice I have ever had accompanied a memorable meal in an open air restaurant with fans pushing a welcome breeze over our table, 28 degree temperatures, air like warm silk and the river lights shining 50 feet from us 🙂 A wide promenade snaking along the river, populated by buskers, food stalls, music and light shows – added to an enjoyable walk home after dinner.
The hotel is lovely – right in the middle of the old quarter, facing the river overlooking the Houses of Parliament. While I unpacked the sun glinted off the river and parts of the old town as a muezzin called the faithful to prayer.
The tour group is diverse and well travelled – a mixture of couples and solo women. Our CEO is an accomplished birder and is passionate about wildlife. The trip is looking like it will be a good one. Tomorrow we head out to Mongkos Bidayuh Longhouse, visit the village and surrounding farmland before enjoying a traditional Dayak lunch. Stay tuned!