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Monthly Archives: March 2017

A morning flight from Kuching, a hotel check-in and time for lunch already. No better start to our Penang visit than to wander down the road to Hameediyah Restaurant in search of roti. We each had one roti canai (stuffed with chicken, onions and spices) with a side serve of red onions and sauce. Two iced teas to top it off and we walked out of there A$5.00 poorer.

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Over the next few days, each of the Penang posts will feature some of the amazing street art that’s in Georgetown (and food – don’t forget the food!)

Fifty-two steel rod sculptures hug walls around the town. They depict the characters, history and humour of Penang and were in a project led by Tang Mun Kiang and a group of cartoon artists, namely, Baba Chuah, Reggie Lee and Lefty.

Twelve artworks make up a series of murals in the 101 Lost Kittens Project created by a team of artists calling themselves Artists for Stray Animals.

Today’s post features Gedung Rumput – Bad Hay Day; Retail Paradise, and Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat.

We haven’t yet seen any of the murals by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic. Watch this (wall) space.

 

 

Our first walk around was relatively short given the considerable heat and humidity. Here’s a taste of what’s to come.

You need to look up to catch the shopfront features.

 

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The view from Chew Jetty where mid-19th century houses still house families and their businesses. The UNESCO World Heritage site is open to visitors from 9am – 9pm daily.

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Semenggoh Nature Reserve was the first stop this morning. The reserve opens for two sessions a day so that people can watch some of the forest residents come in for a feed.  It’s not news that these animals are endangered. And it’s not surprising, given the amount of old forest land that is now cultivated with palm oil trees.  Orangu-tans and palm oil do not mix.

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We drove out to Gunung Gading National Park, on the off-chance that the parasitic Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae was still showing off its large flower on the floor of the forest. The helpful Ranger said we were about 3 days late for the flower’s peak condition, but he gave us directions to find one specimen that was still holding on, before it fully deteriorated. They flower for 4-5 days. We were there on Day 8 and fortunate to catch it in this state.

This is the landing point to Bako National Park in Sarawak. From Kuching, it’s an hour by road and thirty minutes up the river. Even in the early morning, the humidity was high and the sun strong.
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Can’t post all of the photos I took, but you have another fifteen to scroll through to get a taste of the park and its inhabitants, large and small. It was well worth the hard yards in the heat.

First, the tiniest creatures we came across – mini crabs with one claw larger than the rest of their body, a mudskipper in the mangrove mud and termites on the move and a hermit crab in a borrowed shell.

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Many of the palm trees have strong defence mechanisms.

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Bearded pigs dig their way around the island with their very large snouts. 

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Bako is one of the few places that proboscis monkeys are found. We came across this fellow high above us on the path. My apologies for his immodesty in the second photo.

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The park also has macaque monkeys who can be quite aggressive if you are carrying food on your walk.

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At the end of the visit, I was treated to some alone time with a group of silver langurs before other people discovered them close to the beach.

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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.

I’ve been slowly building up a stock of blank white greeting cards using a mix of linocut prints, cut out drawings, pen and coloured pencil.

By the end of this month, I hope to have a number of card sets (3 per pack) available online for purchase. It will be a test run, and given the amount of time it takes to make them, I’m expecting multiple short runs over time.

In the meantime, we’re off to Malaysia for two weeks, so where there’s wifi there will be daily posts and pics of our travels.