Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 2: Village of Culture

On our second day in Kuching, we went to my main targetted destination - The Sarawak Cultural Village, also the site of the Rainforest Music Festival. It was pretty convenient as we could take a shuttle bus directly from the doorstep of our hotel and back. It also goes to Damai Beach. Only RM20 for 2 ways.

The trip to the village took about one hour. The entrance fee for the village was RM60. I didn't think it was that expensive since it goes towards the maintainence of the various houses and the staff.

One thing we never figured out here was why they gave us a gold cover passport while they gave everyone else a green cover passport.

The first house we went to was a typical wooden Chinese house. Can you spot TZ in the picture? It reminded me of my grandparents' place. Inside there were knot crafting and various devices used by the Chinese in olden days.

Look at that wall with the wide variety of hats, saws and scythes.

After we left the Chinese house, we arrived at the Malay house where we had to remove our shoes before entering. We took a few crazy photos here, including posing in front of the congkak board.

There was a lady here making kuih bahulu using traditional charcoal fire. It takes only five minutes to prepare a set of kuih bahulu. The kuih is covered with two charcoal 'stoves', one above and one below.

The next picture is of course the mould for making kuih kapit.

One thing that caught my attention was this kayu tas being sold at the Malay house. It emitted a fragrant scent not unlike a pleasant perfume. The seller claims it can ward off wild animals and evil spirits. RM10 per set of three sticks, anyone? Later in our trip, we would come across many versions of these wood; some called it 'kayu hujan emas' and some said it was 'kayu gaharu'. Gosh, have mercy on our wood-illiterate minds...

Next up was the huge and tall Rumah Melanau.

It would be the start of my encounters with these hewn log stairs(picture below). I didn't risk using it because of my big clumsy feet and used the conventional staircase instead.

This Melanau House is very defensive in nature. The log stairs could be pulled up during an invasion. The floorboard below had holes for them to use their blowpipes against enemies. What we mistook to be water pots could actually contain oil and used against their enemies.

It was eleven-ish by now and so we proceeded to watch the cultural show. It was quite interesting and the performers were regularly recycled for the different dances and there was a blowpipe performance. Quite cool! If you missed the 11am show, there is another after 4pm.

After this, we headed to the restaurant for my targetted Sarawak Ethnic and Exotic Set Lunch for RM15 (No tax!) Included with the lunch was sweet free flowing Cordial drinks.

Next picture is supposed to be the steamed rice in banana leaf. I know, I know, where's the banana leaf?

The next dish was name 'Green Vegetables on season'. Looks Just ordinary stuff.

The next dish is quite a challenge for unadventurous people. It's called 'Umai Umai Sarawak' and it's a raw fish fillet salad. It was quite tasty but I didn't want to risk food poisoning upsetting my stomach so I ate only half of it.

The next picture is just... soup. I forgot to take a picture of the Ikan Assam Pedas.

The next dish is another local specialty called 'Chicken cooked in bamboo' but I didn't find anything special about it.

Sigh, the exoticness and the ethnicity of the set lunch didn't quite tantalize my taste buds as I had hoped. Anyway, the next building we encountered was a Sword Making House. No idea, which tribe it belonged to.

Next house up was Rumah Orang Ulu.

Well, the name 'ulu' might have negative connotations with some of us, but they seems to be quite gifted in the musical arts. First we saw this HUGE wooden xylophone made of wood pieces of varying lengths, sizes and weight. Carving off slices of wood helped to tune this instrument.

The next instrument is a stringed instrument called the Sape. It had a pleasant sound and frets. Being a classical guitar player, I was naturally intrigued to try it out. Turns out there is much difference between this instrument and the modern guitar. Firstly all the frets are spread out unevenly. Secondly, you press ON the frets instead of in between them. Quite a complex instrument, in my opinion.

Next is the small houses belonging to the famous Penan tribe. Here they had a section for you to shoot blowpipes at targets for a price of course.

The last house in my picture collection is the Iban longhouse below.

In this longhouse, this lady was frying rice cakes. I bought a wooden bracelet for her for RM5 and TZ followed suit. Later we realized how conned we were pricewise and secondly we found out most of these bracelets were imported from Indonesia and China (argh!).

The second item that caught my attention at this house was the Kain Pua weaving. It never occurred to me how difficult it was to weave this piece of cloth using the traditional method. In a day, the weaver probably can manage only about an inch's length of this cloth. As the tour guide in that building said, women who could weave demonstrated their skill and patience and became potential brides, while women who couldn't weave didn't have nice clothes to wear, ha ha!

Well, that's about it for the Cultural Village. This post is too lengthy for me. (Yawn!) The last building here is a pagoda near the entrance.

Well, that's it for now. Cheers and goodnight!


TZ said...

aiyo... I'm so tiny in your picture ... how can they spot me ... hahaha :p

Annie said...

*clap clap clap*

What a wonderful photojournal!

Jyannie said...

ooh nice nice... Seeing Sarawak the touristy way :) The umai-umai looks good! *thumbs up* just think it as local sashimi salad heh

NomadicMom said...

Eh...the raw fish salad looks soooooo yum yummy!! i mau lah. Ta-pau!!!!

And have to applaud you on the photos...look so good. Makes me wanna go to Kuching!!!

EastCoastLife said...

To me it's still worth a visit though not very much info is found here. :P

Jonzz said...

TZ: Shall I enlarge it for them? :P

Annie: Thank you Thank you. You should go there one day, he he.

Jyannie: Touristy way, rofl! Define touristy, please. You talk big. You go and try the umai umai.

Nomadic Mum: Wow, you and Jyannie have Fear Factor candidate potential. Go Kuching! It's fun!

ECL: Yes, go. It's so near and cheap too.