Journal

Syria’s Dream - Rainforest walking

We had the great fortune to meet the lovely Syria who is an ambassador for nature and her knowledge and understanding of the environment is monumental. Syria guided us on the Mulu canopy skywalk which is the longest tree-based walkway in the world some 480 metres long (built by a team that included our caving guide and Guru Paris). As we walked among the ferns and vines some 20 metres above the forest floor and river Syria provided us with intriguing insights about the rainforest web of life. Syria spoke with such love and passion about the environment she is a true ambassador for nature, she also reminded us of the risk of deforestation which is occurring with rapid haste in Borneo. Syria dreams of a time when we will all treat nature with the respect it deserves and understand that …

The Boogie Eating Fish of Mulu

Before you start – A word of caution – This is not the holiday special.…

I thought about entitling this entry “The Cultural Attaché develops a new fish food”. On his return from an expedition to the river the Cultural attaché informed me with vividly descriptive detail and some laid back candour that he had flicked a boogie into the river, much to my horror and aghast I was chastising him for such a lack of decorum in this foreign land. He gently reassured me that the fishes were well pleased with the feast, jumping significant heights to attain the delicacy. Since this discovery I have endured one slow boat ride down the river to witness the spectacle first hand as the cultural attaché discreetly but within my eye shot flicks the odd boogie to the waterways to the ever grateful deligh

A View to Sibu

Some people say there is not much in Sibu.

Today I have seen evidence to the contrary as I observed, from the seventh story of the sacred pagoda, the pulsating waterfront work force manually unloading trucks and re-loading the goods to the merchant vessels at the dock.

The hustle bustle of the market alive with sight and sound, brightly displayed fruit, vegetable and produce. The reflexology and beauty clinics with promises of removing all birthmarks and all this occurring under the watchful eye of the ornate Tua Pek Kong Temple – a seven storey pagoda that affords the most intriguing view over the city.

The Cultural Attaché Gets a Cut and Polish Or De Je Vu 1985

As is often the case when traveling throughout Asia, the cultural attaché seems to experience rapid although not widespread hair growth. The cultural attaché promptly attended the unisex salon within close proximity to our hotel in sibu. There were three ladies being primped and preened as only occurred last seen back in 1985 – tight rolled perms – and they were loving it. Makes you realise we always to seem what we do not have.

Did Malaysia bulk buy all our perming equipment back in 1990 when this fad finally died out at home?

The Cultural Attaché Gains an Assistant in Sibu

The Cultural Attaché looking a little perplexed, trying to orientate himself geographically and locate the nearest sweet buns (mainly for some well earned air-conditioned relief from the heat) was bailed up by a much older man scooting around on the moped – This elderly sage firstly directed the cultural attaché in the right direction and then armed him with some advice. The elderly sage advised the cultural attaché in no uncertain terms that he should not speak with the young women, insinuating that they might be so mesmerised by his grandeur that they might seek to trick him into staying. He informed the grand man that everyone else is safe to speak with. He also then followed the cultural attached discreetly from a distance to ensure his safe and timely arrival at the Sweet Bun.

Sweet Bun and Milo

In Malaysia they certainly love their Milo. I was struck by this immediately upon arriving at Kuala Lumpur airport when collecting our luggage a large box containing tins of Milo was circling the conveyor belt.…

We were then confronted with further evidence of this love of Milo when walked past the Milo stands dotting the esplanade waterfront of Kuching.

Today, the cultural attaché decided he needed a sweet buns fix (by the way this is a fast food chain not unlike those famous burger chains) and low-and-behold the menu read Milo Kids Meal. The cultural attaché enjoyed his iced Milo with breakfast, iced Milo for lunch and then again at afternoon tea iced Milo – That is what one might call really immersing yourself in the culture.

I have also since discovered that the fast food chain is ca

The cultural attaché’s biggest faux pas

Whilst calmly and casually walking behind the cultural attaché in a somewhat crowded group at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, I heard the frantic and rather frenzied talking of some young veiled Islamic girls who seemed quite alarmed. Within a split second I observed that a young girl’s veil had attached itself to the Cultural attaché’s tripod and was slowly pulling away from her head as he inched his way forward. I immediately directed the Cultural attaché to “stand still – do not move” to which he responded by doing so, remaining totally unaware of the drama that had almost unfolded. One of the young girls dislodged the veil from his tripod, thus narrowly averting a major international incident. The cultural attaché none the wiser and oblivious to the drama continued to walk away without ba…

The Holiday Special

No matter where or when we travel, the holiday special seems to present itself, usually at the most inopportune moment. I am devoting this space to the holiday special.…

As far back as the last decade, I can recall the holiday special almost always occurring and on this holiday we have encountered the holiday special yet again, so befittingly in Kapit.

I will not detail the nature of the holiday special for anyone here; suffice to say that it would broadly be considered a significant faux pas (decorum wise) on the behalf of the cultural attaché. It is the same faux pas every time, just a different location. In order to spare you the detail and preserve my own dignity ( as his wife) and save the last vestiges of his self-respect I will leave it to the cultural attaché to share the detail

Kuching Means Cat – Honourable Cat (Basil Takes a Wife)

Kuching Means Cat – Honourable Cat
(Basil Takes a Wife)…

We have experienced some spiritual enlightenment, culinary delights, visual spectaculars and natural beauty on this journey. Then there is the peculiar, eccentric and curious.

Kuching means cat and therefore there are fountains and statues honouring the feline throughout the city. There is also the cat museum which operates as a testament to the nobility of the cat, housing and displaying with pride every imaginable little ornament, trinket, book, poster and even a cat cemetery. The cat paraphernalia in this fine establishment defies logic.

There were even cat posters modelling a little character who truly resmebled the cultural attache’s most loyal and loving cat Basil.

Someone, please remind me to send then a little poster of the

Australian Chopsticks Or How to eat prawns in Kuching

The cultural attaché was experiencing a little difficulty maneouvering the old chopsticks around the large fried Kuching prawns – To the rescue “Australian Chopsticks”. The cultural attaché with all his airs and graces and the demeanour of a well bred Aussie just started to devour them with his fingers – A model citizen.

The Cultural Attaché Goes Urbex

How many times should a man return to an abandoned building in Kuching Sarawak? I ask you to give this question some considered deliberation as I have no idea. The cultural attaché has just returned from an individual exploration having returned to the site of his original discovery – the abandonment. He is grinning like a Cheshire cat. As fate has it the cultural attaché has happened upon a model shoot in his very own abandonment and was cordially invited to come on in and shoot along with the professionals. With all the airs and graces and contradictions of a cultural attaché in urbex mode he just casually strolled on in there and shot away, he tells me that he was conscious not to over stay his welcome.

A Trek Through Bako National Park Or Luna di miele paradiso

There is the 2.5 km trek and then there is the 2.5 km epic journey. Our trip to Bako National Park falls into the category of the later. This is where we meet the beautiful and delightful honeymooning Nicoletta and Gianlucca of Monza.…

Having shared the boat trip out from Bako HQ to the jetty we decide on the path which takes us to Pandan Kercil, a beautiful pristine beach cove. Now we all agree that nowhere in the travel guides both English and Italian does it tell us how bloody difficult this will be. Sure, they remind us to take plenty of water and sunscreen. No mention of the treacherous, gnarly tree root exposed, perilous, winding uphill, profusely sweat producing trek that this will be.

Never mind, because we are in the company of a couple who are the truest representation of lo

Sarawakian Cuisine What to eat in Kuching

While this might remain a mystery to many, we have now discovered to our delight that the Sri Shan Curry and Such (location 383 Persiaran Ban Hock) serve the most divine pineapple roti also banana and jackfruit roti with curry accompaniments (Perfect for breakfast). Highly recommended also is the lime and sour cherry iced – very refreshing.

The loveliest, most ambient coffee house is the Black Bean Coffee House on Bishopgate (extending off Jalan Carpentaria). This delightful little coffee house serves the most heavenly coffee and tea creations. My personal favourite (iced of course) – the Jasmine and green tea with lovers plum. The environmentally conscious coffee house also serves local coffees, the aroma of which is celestial – too hard to stop at one.

Orangutan Magic Or Monkey Business

What is it about orangutans that make them seem so quintessentially human?
Or should the question be what is it about humans that make us seem so intrinsically primate-like?…

What an absolute delight to be able to observe the orangutans, these awe inspiring creatures at Semenngoh Rehabilitation Centre. We were fortunate to see eight orangutans of very different character and physical build. They swung through the tree tops and slid down the trunks of the trees foraging fruit and frolicking around above in the forest. We were privileged to see a mother nurturing her baby orangutan and lovingly feeding the babe. There was “big daddy” who in his gargantuan status seemed to overshadow the clearly cheeky adolescent orangutans.

The pure beauty and majesty of these creatures makes me contempl

Taxi! - Simple guidelines for hailing a taxi Sarawakian Style

The Hindu celebrations completed we found ourselves stranded quite late at night in an area of Kuching which we were clearly not familiar with – and not a taxi in sight. We looked around in the dark of late night Kuching, no taxi, no telephone but a lone tea shop still lit up with only minutes until closing. We presented our plight to the bar maids but alas they did not understand. However, a short time later a lovely young man Wayne who was dining with his partner Shirley came to our assistance asking if he could help and drove us all the way back to downtown Kuching.

The Hindi Bindi Club or The law of Karma

As far as spiritual encounters go, our recent spiritual experience can only be described as surprising, vivid and energizing. Having just flown from Australia to KL and in transit to Kuching (Sarawak) a small misfortune transforms to a fortuitous moment. Heavily jet-lagged after a long-haul flight and slightly annoyed that we were not seated together for our next flight, I was blessed with the good fortune to be seated next to the loveliest, Sari clad, Subby and her husband Raj, who were flying to Kuching for a Hindu festival. Although I had fallen to sleep during the flight, Subby and I struck up a conversation and I discovered that her daughter had been living in Melbourne for the past 14 years. Subby told me of how she relished the annual festival held in Kuching and invited us to …

Truly Blessed

Is this a sign, a harbinger of things to come or the beginning of another discrete spiritual moment or simply the continuation of something that started earlier on the plane?

Our lovely accommodation at the Brooks Terrace has a beautiful and hypnotic calligraphy hanging on the landing of the entrance, it has the following inscription

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. Deuteronomy 28:6

The Urban Explorer Hits Borneo

While I lay gently sleeping only hours after arriving in Kuching the urbex man was out and about, in every nook and cranny, and within 3 hours found himself in abandonment heaven. Maintaining his high standards in urban exploration he continues on his quest to perfect the art. He is curious about where one can procure beer in this fine city, another quest which has led him to several internet forums and a still unanswered question. Poor urbex man likes to have the mini bar topped up with quality brew for his return. It seems at this point that he will need to content himself with beer purchased with meal or at the recognized bar.

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