We checked in at ‘Nook Guesthouse’ and the owner, Frankie, settled us in our room and invited us on the tour she was doing the following day to see the Orangutans and the tradition long houses. We walked around for the remainder of the day; getting a feel of Kuching, one thing was certain, this place loves cats. The name ‘Kuching’ literally means cat in Malay, they have cat statues all over the city and even little cats carved into their drain covers. The fascination with cats became even more obscure when over the course of 7 days we realised we were yet to see a real cat roaming the city, something that is bizarre in itself for a South East Asian country.
We all got out of the car and walked over to a group that was gathering at the bottom of the trees. Frankie told us that there was an Orangutan sitting at the top of the tree. All 4 of us stared up at the tree before looking at each other and asking Frankie why it wasn’t moving. Justin zoomed in with his camera to find that the amazing Orangutan which everyone was excitedly snapping up pictures of, was in fact just a fern attached to the tree trunk… Even though Frankie was still skeptical we moved on to the feeding platform. We were lucky enough to see 3 Orangutans, 2 adults and one 6 month old Baby, we gathered silently with the crowd, trying to blend into their habitat – even though there is nothing more un-natural then a bunch of tourists fumbling over their cameras and whispering in excitement – and watched whilst the Orangutans gathered fruit and milk from the feeding platform.
The long house village we visited was made up of 200 families; after we all complained we were hungry Frankie took us straight to the homestay where our chef for the day was starting our lunch. Justin and I helped with the meat which was being cooked traditionally in bamboo over a fire, whilst Lily and Steph started cooking the ferns in the kitchen. 20 minutes later we had an absolute feast in front of us and were ready to dig in. After our stomachs refused any more food we started our walk around the village, we stopped in at Arthur’s house, a musician who plays and instrument called the ‘Pratuokng’, we sat as he told us the history of the instrument and how he makes them. He played us various songs, one of which he calls ’The Happy Song’ which was played for warriors when they arrived home victorious with human heads as their proof. After this we got to see the skulls that were seen as trophies from battle. We then crossed a dodgy local bridge to reach the river for an afternoon swim.
The first cave we visited was ‘Fairy Caves’ after climbing up hundreds of steps you’re rewarded with breathtaking sights of this cave. The next one was called ‘Windy Cave’ although we are not sure why, as there was no wind what so ever inside. This one spooked me a fair bit (I’m petrified of the dark) and left me clinging to the rails and whispering what the *$#% was that every second.
I better go, our spin cycle has finished.