Malaysia: Old Kuching 

It was a long day in the air on two flights from Sydney yesterday to Kuching, via Kuala Lumpur and a near miss on the connection. We’re here in Sarawak province on the island of Borneo in the hope of seeing orang-utan and other local wildlife.

Today we familiarised ourselves with Old Kuching and the diversity that its different cultures and histories have contributed to the city.

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The old Courthouse has been turned into a community arts hub with music, and art spaces mixing it up with cafes.

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This display is a nod to a horticultural feature of Sarawak. Two hours away in the Gunung Gadang National Park,  the Rafflesia tuan-mudae – a large parasitic plant is flowering. We haven’t the time to go see it and apparently won’t miss the smell of this so-called corpse plant.

This is the Textile Museum. No photographs allowed but there are examples of all kinds of crafts relating to costume and other functional fabrics including the use of shells, dye and beads. Silver and puppet crafts are also featured. The most unusual object was a vest made from anteater ‘shells’.

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We also visited the photo-free Sarawak Ethnology Museum where the majority of people were ignoring that rule. This is an orang-utan skeleton.

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Around lunch time on this humid Sunday, there were few eating options open. Fortunately, the Indah Cafe was in full swing. They make superb roti dishes and cool drinks. It also boasts a gallery and art workshop space upstairs where I found these great old Sarawak tourist posters.

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We walked back along the waterfront to our digs with a stop for coffee/tea and cake to rack up the calories we’d walked off in the heat.

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Kuching is full of cat statues given the Bahasa Malay word for cat is kucing. This is one of the less kitsch pieces.

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Tomorrow morning we’re off up the river to Bako National Park where we hope to see proboscis monkeys and wild boar and other creatures of the forest.

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