But, I didn't. And 10-14 July 2011 was spent in Kuching with Teeming, Tien and Nasha. The trip turned out to be great fun in a laid-back sort of way, with all sorts of unexpected little twists and turns.
Tien and I had been meaning to visit Bako, Teeming hadn't been on a holiday with us in some time, and I wanted to hang out a bit with Nasha before she left for the States.
We arrived on Sunday, spent Monday in Damai and Santubong, Tuesday in Bako, Wednesday in Semenggoh (after which Nasha parted ways to return to KL) and Kuching, and Thursday just hanging about town, before nearly missing our evening flight back to KL. We were joined now and then by Teeming's friend, Lynn.
Tien got us a room for all four nights at the Anglican Guesthouse, St Thomas [sic] Cathedral.
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St Thomas Cathedral, where Teeming and I went for evening service on Sunday.
Main hall, Anglican Guesthouse.
A simple accommodation, but reasonably priced (it was something like RM40 a night for a twin-sharing room) and managed by the very friendly Pilot.
They don't call the city Kuching for nothing.
Damai and Santubong
The stretch at Damai Beach, my introduction to Sarawak in 1999.
Water carves its way, Damai Beach.
The rose amid the rocks, Damai Beach.
Bako National Park
The second oldest national park in Malaysia, after Taman Negara in Pahang. The park warrants a four-day stay, although we could only manage a day trip, as accommodation was fully booked way in advance.
On the cliff overlooking the gorgeous beach at Teluk Pandan Kecil.
Sandstone formations, Teluk Pandan Kecil.
The young woman and the sea, Teluk Pandan Kecil.
Some think Taib's Sarawak is a good place to start. ;-)
50-sen river crossing, Sarawak River.
The day awakens, Jalan Gambier.
The hidden Indian Mosque, Jalan Gambier.
Tucked away behind shops and stalls selling enough spices to sink the Portuguese armada, the Indian Mosque is perhaps one of (old) Kuching's most understated charms.
Newspaper wallah at the open-air market, end of Jalan India.
The huge mosque in the distance is the Kuching Mosque. The open-air market, at the west end of town, is one of the best places to eat in Kuching—if the locals say so, it must be so!
Tien and archway, Bishopgate Road.
There was once an entrance/access from this road to the compound of the Anglican Mission complex (the present-day St Thomas Cathedral grounds). A giant brick wall separated the complex from the shophouses of the bazaar, but today most parts of the wall have been torn down to make way for a new road.
View of Kuching from the Star Cineplex building.
The large compound in the foreground is part of the Anglican Mission complex. This is the view facing west.
Variations on the 'Tak Nak' theme.
This sign was spotted at the shop selling herbal tea at its front counter. We stopped for a glass or so each.
No such thing as a free pee, somewhere near Jalan India/Jalan Gambier.
Old and new, Kuching.
I loved the juxtaposition of the Main Post Office with all its Corinthian pillars, against the signboards proclaiming 'new development!' just across the street.
Anglican Guesthouse, rear.
Shot with a red filter with polariser, hence the vignetting and slightly more dramatic sky.
Rainbow over traffic, Kuching.
Stuck in a traffic jam with barely 15 minutes left for check-in, we were really pushing it. But the rainbow gave us some sort of hope, and in spite of a pit-stop for petrol, the taxi driver got us there just in time.
Tien in ERL.
This shot, taken on the ERL from KLIA to Bandar Tasik Selatan, reminded me of the quote from Georges Simenon's The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By, which was used as the epigraph for Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star:
"That feeling about trains, for instance. Of course he had long outgrown the boyish glamour of the steam engine. Yet there was something that had an appeal for him in trains, especially night trains, which always put queer, vaguely improper notions into his head."
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All B&W footage shot on Kodak TriX. All colour photos shot with the phone camera.
Nikon FM10 with 28mm and 105mm lenses. Red and polarising filters for some of the landscapes. Yellow filter for the 'Kuching awakens' shots.