Friday, September 25, 2009

Sibu: Farewell Fiona and Goreng this, Goreng that! Ayam & Telur, Yum!

Fiona and I went to the Kutching Airport together. While relaxing at the Starbucks and fiddling around on the Wifi we discussed our travel plans. Fiona would fly to Vientiane and visit Luang Prabang, while she waited for Pedro (as he is still in China enroute to the Laos border...arrival date still unknown) and I would keep on trekking in Malaysia, destination: Sibu! Sibu is the gateway to the Rejang River.

I wanted to visit the longhouses, which are the traditional dwellings of the indigenous people of Borneo (head hunters!). These communal houses are raised above the ground and may contain up to 100 individual family 'apartments' under one long roof. There are 3-day upriver trips available where you can visit and stay with the families.

Upon arrival I was told there were not any boats going upriver. The economy had hit the headhunters! There simply are not enough tourists, they explained, and if I wanted to go I would have to charter the boat myself. I was not interested, I already knew that the price would be very expensive as I was already told my 3-day stay would cost RM500. Ok?!!! The 'normal' price should be about RM200, and certainly no more than RM300 including the boat. "The curse of the beautiful blond hair strikes in Asia, Again!" (USD1=RM3.50) I smiled politely and told them I will get back with them.

It was a million degrees outside and I just wanted comfort and wanted to get away from the 'tourist welcome party.' I found it! My hotel was beautiful, well located, and it only cost RM35 a night. There was Air Con, Wifi, hot water, and cable...Real Cable! With movie channels in English, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and some local channels with English subtitles. Which was awesome, since Malaysian soaps tend to be hilarious. I soon forgot about the longhouses.

Let's be real. It is just the jungle! It is 50+ degrees, miserably hot and sticky, and mosquitoes would feast on me. Been there done that! Flashbacks of the Amazon (Which I just visited in April) became almost too vivid in my head and images of the spas I saw enroute to my hotel began to quickly comfort my disappointment about the 'boat situation.'

So, I spent 4 glorious day in Sibu watching tele and napping all day in the air con, daily massage and herbal bath at around 6 or 7 and then I would go to my favorite foodstall where the cutest Chinese family made my delicious Sarawak laksa. My other stall made tasty chicken noodle soup with a fried egg on top and fried chicken.

The first night I forgot my camera and my 'dining alone' arsenal, a book. So, there I sat waiting for my food while everyone stared (I was the only foreigner). At least 50 locals! This was the most popular stall. I was handed a fork and spoon with my laksa and when I asked for chopsticks, everyones' stares got a little more intense. H*k! I was very self conscious, but, Hey! I am not shy, so I just ate, minded my own business, and just stared back! Hello! C'mon folks, you seen people eat laksa before. "Quit trying to make me feel like a freak."... Most of the time it's like this, but here, everybody stared nonstop and little kids pointed at you, adults giggled at you, the young guys tried to make eye contact with you, and the person that served you the food waited for 'your' was crazy!

Funny enough, no one spoke English, therefore, no one ever spoke to me.....just stared....and as I requested night after night, Sarawak Laksa, mee goreng ayam-telur, sup-mee-ayam telur, ayam goreng, and a botched up order of nasi goreng ayam-telur.....where I received a fried egg, 1 chicken wing, and some white rice with diced up vienna sausages on 3 different little plates....I wanted fried rice with chicken and scrambled egg or fried egg on top.....when I freaked out about the vienna sausages, the lady immediately started picking the pieces out with her hands and throwing the bits on the table.....I was shaking my head, and trying to get the other lady to make me what I ate the night before. She was confused, so we cooked my nasi goreng together! But the other food was never picked up from the table, and my bill included everything. When I pointed to the rice/vienna sausage and the fried chicken wing with hair still on the skin, and shook my head, she immediately substracted it off the bill. She was really nice, but this is what makes eating an adventure!

The next day I forgot my camera again, I wanted to take photos for this was the same for the next 3 nights, no camera, but I always had my chick lit book and the best local meals Sibu had to offer! Surprisingly enough, I was always charged the local price.

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