Saturday, August 7, 2010

We are Kucing, going to Kuching

Inul (front) and Daisy changing places and seats during the journey.

On the 5th of August, Inul and Mama Daisy teamed with us on their 22nd trip back Kuching. Kuching is 600 km away and would normally take us 10 hours to reach from Bintulu using the singular Pan -Borneo Highway. On this trip Inul appeared to be 'acculturised' i.e. taking the journey well by sleeping most of the time. As for Mama Daisy ( inset) the long journeys have always been her opportunity to indulge in her marathon beauty sleep.
At around 8.45 am we left the farm and after one and a half hours of travel we made a pit stop at Selangau to cool down the engines and tyres. Typical of pit stop places in Sarawak are roadside cafetarias that offer a range of snack and cooked foods for travellers who come and go throughout the day and night by the busloads or individual cars. The most common table offering is the hard-boiled eggs and ketchup .
Hard- boiled eggs and ketchup reminded me of travel along Sarawak roads and rivers. At many pit stops these seem to be a familiar offering, indeed a welcome snack. I ordered thick black and iced coffee to keep me alert while driving, though I normally take chewing gum that could help with excercising the facial muscles and therefore making one less sleepy and boring while at the wheels.
Three hours from Bintulu is Sibu. Here we took a longer time to rest as we decided to have our lunch break for about an hour or so. The dolphin scultpure caught our attention and story about the dolphin and Sibu is narrated on the plaque below. In the background, the tall building and annex is the multi-storey car park and central market complex. A few yards away from the sculpture was where we had our lunch and a meal cost only RM 4.00, which was reasonable.
While the dolphin is the mascot of Sibu, our family of cats (in Malay 'Kucing' = Cat ) is the mascot of Kuching City.
Motorcycles or motorbikes parking area like these are uncommon in Bintulu. This parking place is next to the Sibu Central Market which to my mind is the biggest open market area in Sarawak.

Having arrived in Sibu is a signal that we've just covered a third of the journey to Kuching. Inul ( see inset) is taking the wisdom from Mama Daisy. Just enjoy the long journey by sleeping! Daisy would normally wake up to take some food and drinks just like we do at the many pit stops . On this journey the pit stops were at Sibu, Betong and Serian which are roughly a three hours journey in between them.

Inul enjoys her beauty sleep at 90 km at hour.

Finally we arrived Kuching at around 7.30 pm. Daisy has a sixth probably a seventh sense. On such long journeys she knew well in advance whenever we are about to reach Kuching by jumping to the dashboard as if she instinctively knew ( I guess ) that Kuching is a few miles away.
Note: On this 22nd trip back to Kuching City, our cats have added to their record a cumulative distance of 25,800 km traveling on the Pan- Borneo Highway. Catch more of their record breaking journey by following the link here and even earlier version here.

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