26th June 2014
The sun rose early in Kuching. It was just 5.50 am and I could see the sun already rising, telling the people to start the day. I did not know what to expect. It was supposed to be a long day today. The frog race would start later tonight. Today is the day.
I went to a stall at the back of Tune Hotel after cleaning myself up to try the Laksa Sarawak. Ever since I arrived here, the dish has become my personal favourite, more than my likeness towards mee kolok.
“A laksa for breakfast?” some might asked.
No need to raise the eyebrows as eating laksa for breakfast is nothing as compared to drinking stout early in the morning, which I found some locals happily indulged glasses of them at the same stall.
After breakfast, we were all taken into a van to Bau, a gold mining town some 46 km away from Kuching. The van was driven on a normal dual lane carriageway, since expressways like the ones in the Peninsula are almost non-existence here. Along the journey, we were greeted by lines after lines of greenery, thick jungles surrounding the road. Once in a while, villages and small residential areas greeted us but most of the time it was just jungles and thick vegetation.
After a while, we stopped by a local market. I found the market amusing as the seafood and vegetables were fresh, not to mention the odd species of fish that I swear I have never seen before throughout my whole life. The way they sell the vegetables and the poultry was different too. For example, fish were put in small plates and they sell them by plates instead of by the number of fish wanted.
I took some time walking around the market and chit chatted with the sellers, all of them were happy with their life and had nothing to complaint about. I took some time thinking about how hard their work is but they still manage to draw a smile. Something that us city dwellers should do instead of being zombies going to and return from work everyday without living the life to the fullest.
Our journey then continued to the actual place that we planned to visit, the LAN E Tuyang Homestay. This homestay is so unique as it provides learning opportunity to the visitors, to learn how to live, eat like a local. The homestay is situated besides the main road but is not visible from the main road.
The longhouses were built by bamboos and when I arrived, I was amazed to see the longhouses which I had only seen in school textbook before. We were greeted by the chief and was entertained with a dance by the local teens. We walked around to see all the handicrafts made by the locals and to see how living in longhouses system works before being treated for lunch.
Lunch was also unique.
“Masak manok dalam buluh!” said one of the cooks, referring to chicken as manok in local language to tell us that even the chickens are cooked inside a bamboo. The taste? Simply amazing! I could not resist the temptation of adding another plate of rice and dishes since everything were cooked by using a bamboo on charcoals which consequently produced great taste.
After spending some time at the homestay, we were told to get ready for our next destination. Our guide told us that what we were going to see would be something unique to the locals here. Something superstitious yet practiced among the native tribes. And it would be done at a clearing near a jungle. What would it be?
I would like to personally thank the Sarawak Tourism Board and Tune Hotels for making this trip possible and to Planet Borneo for the hospitality throughout the trip. This trip was held in conjunction with the International Bornean Frog Race 2014.