Link to the story…
I recently shared one of my favorite activities with my Tasmanian friend Rosemary; we spent one whole morning strolling the more quiet streets of Kuching which have retained a rural atmosphere. These are pictures taken in what used to be a Malay kampung (village) and has now become part of the big city.
A decouvrir, les jolis quartiers de Kuching.
Nous avions prévu de passer la soirée avec des amis avec l’idée de sortir un peu de notre ordinaire. C’est ainsi que nous nous sommes retrouvés à Siniawan, environ une demi heure de route depuis Kuching sur la route de Bau.
Ce sont les chinois qui ont construit Siniawan en 1821, lorsque Bau prospérait de ses mines d’or. Les propriétaires et les occupants des maisons et des magasins construits en bois on depuis déménagé pour s’installer dans des villas modernes ; mais ils reviennent chaque vendredi soir et restent jusqu’au dimanche pour redonner la vie à leur vieux village. Les cafés servent des repas et boissons et les vendeurs de rue vendent des nouilles frites ou des souvenirs. On a même construit une scène pour les talents du karaoke qui contribuent à l’atmosphère de charme qui règne dans la rue.
Plus tard dans la soirée, la « grand rue » éclairée de lanternes rouges s’est remplie rapidement de tables et de convives tandis que les chansons se succédaient bon train. Assise sur ma chaise, je savourais une Tsin Tao Gold (bière) bien fraiche tout en réfléchissant au potentiel que Siniawan offrait pour des soirées inventives. Tour operateurs, à vous d’explorer !
J’ai rencontré Macik au village de Pusa, sur le Batang Saribas. Elle était fort occupée à faire un balai à partir de la tige d’une feuille de palmier nipa (palmier d’eau).
I feel I spent sometime in paradise but really I was staying in one of those chalets built on stilts planted in the sea bed. Best moment: soaking in the bathtub while gazing out the window at the Andaman Sea..
What’s YOUR favourite island resort?
Il m’arrive de croire que j’ai passé un peu de temps au paradis; en vérité j’ai séjourné dans l’un de ces chalets construits sur des pilotis ancrés dans l’eau. Mon meilleur souvenir est d’avoir pris un long bain en regardant la mer d’Andaman par la fenêtre ouverte au dessus de la baignoire.
The resort: Berjaya Langkawi Quel est VOTRE hotel préféré sur une ile?
The insect world will never cease to amaze me; merely observing those surprising creatures is an adventure in itself that does not even require me to leave my garden and often my house.
CLICKEZ POUR LA VERSION FRANCAISE
Only this morning, as I was getting organised to spend some time on my lap top seating on the terrace, I started moving one of the rattan armchairs to position it under the cooling draft of the ceiling fan.
I am far from being the only one to enjoy the comfort of the semi-outdoors and I am not just thinking of my family and friends; I often find tree frogs under the cushions (I guess they feel more comfy than a branch) if not one or two of the unavoidable abominable Cicaks* and too, elusive night-birds that enjoy perching on the back of the chairs and leave droppings behind them to let me know.
For all these un-invited visitors, I like to cover the cushions with sarongs printed with Sarawak tribal designs which stand out white against a beautiful palette of greens.
Those shades of green keep reminding me of the trees which line our river bank and keep watch over our home from the hills around us. Clearer patches of batik ink also seem to mirror the grasses of our lawn or, as I love to recall, the cheerfulness of the new padi in the near-by fields. In all these associations I am not alone; my Sarawak sarongs seem to have admirers in the family of winged insects that I keep finding, although they are masters of camouflage, amongst the batik designs, so much so that it makes me wonder which came first: the artist’s batik or the insect to copy it? Silly me! Amazing nature!
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From my passenger’s seat, I check the meter: 10km passed the famous Bidayuh longhouse village of Annah Rais. We take a right turn to Kampungs Rudan Rayang and Senah Rayang. Our destination is the latter. Danson, whom I like to nick-name “tattoo driver” (for good reasons!) is never short of witty comments: “If lama on this road, no need drink beer, I mabuk free” (If we drive too long on this road, we won’t need beer to get drunk). He’s right, the road is winding and that’s what makes it such a great country ride through sceneries of amazing forest greens punctuated with striking white limestone cliffs which have been eroded by a million years of tropical rains. There are caves in there, some are known to the locals for their priceless bird’s nests; certainly as priceless to the swiftlets who build them as to the men who sell them.
On our left, the village reveals itself in the valley. Even from a distance Senah Rayang looks pretty and squeaky clean. Beyond the pleasant soft greys of the roof tops, the hills seem to have been gently shaped to cocoon the village without dwarfing or chocking it.
We reach down the hill and cross a wooden bridge; it’s so pretty, really. Danson remembers his last visit, a couple of years back when there had been no tar road and slippery mud had made it a real challenge to negotiate the slope, whether driving up or down. We stop at the Ketua Kampung’s house (Ketuah means “head” and Kampung means “village”), the village’s chief. He brings out a few cans of Malta for the men. Because he is Muslim, it is meant to replace beer. He explains that he belongs to the second generation of Muslim converts in this Land Dayak village which now counts six hundred souls, a small mosque and a brand new Anglican church in the making.
Today, and again, I am following Hubby and the Sarawak Rivers Board Delegation. There’s going to be a dinner followed by an audio visual show in the village hall. A team of experts will be answering questions, mostly on how to manage fish reproduction in the natural environment of the river and how to attract tourists, now that there is a proper road to come here, that they have beautified and cleaned up their river and that a home stay programme is being approved by the ministry of tourism.
Danson has volunteered to guide me through the kampong; he’s also set to become my photo-shooting manager: “From here, good photo. Not here; here, this way. Yes!” And I agree that it is a splendid sight as I am standing on a conventional wooden bridge, looking yet at another traditional Bidayuh bamboo bridge over the almost perfectly clear waters of Sungai Sungan. Danson is impatient to take me further into the streets, to visit the old longhouse, walk to the waterfall… It is true that the place, the children and the people I have met are very charming, but for a while I just want to stop and stand right here and love what I’m seeing.
Clean water is fast becoming a scarcity on our dear planet; in Africa only, some three hundred million people are either suffering or dying from lack of drinking water and irrigation for trees and crops to grow. Here in Borneo, it seems so plentiful, so easy and so it had always been until came the age of plastic, non recyclable and non degradable, which followed other degradable garbage into our rivers. Bad habits, like throwing waste where ever we stand and counting on a river to take it away and make the problem disappear (down to someone else’s village) is one of them, and that is why awareness campaigns, educating people on the need to preserve and protect our rivers are so important. Programmes promoting the conservation and rehabilitation of the Sarawak rivers have turned the clock back some twenty five years in Senah Rayang where a river has become again a metaphor for life on earth.
Down below me, in the sungai, children are jumping and splashing water; they want my attention; they are laughing and need not worry about the future here, now that their parents have learnt to respect their environment, their heritage. There will be fish and birds that feed from them; there will be all sorts of living creatures and there will be crops to feed the village.
Once again I meet Ketuah Kampung Rosli who asks me how to keep tourists satisfied? I am happy to list out many things visitors could do here, like visit the school during class, go trekking through the jungle looking for herbs and plants, go hunting or why not look for night insects; learn cooking from the women (they are good cooks!) and obviously enjoy the river and the waterfall. Yet, and truly, what will win over any visitor is the kindness of the people and their inspiring care for their environment.
I tease Hubby and his Chairman YB Datuk Roland Sagah that with an internet connection, I would gladly settle in Kampung Senah Rayang.
From Kuching: direction SERIAN for 10 miles
At Kota Padawan (also known as 10th mile bazaar): direction ANNAH RAIS.
Pass ANNAH RAIS junction (on the right is Annah Rais Home Stay) straight direction JALAN KUCHING SERIAN.
5km down the road, turn right. (if straight it is still Jalan Kuching Serian).
Pass Kampungs BUKIT NANAS and SEMERU.
7km from Annah Rais cross KAMPUNG DUNUK.
10km from Annah Rais you’ll find the road sign to: KG RUDAN RAYANG – KG SENAH RAYANG. Another 3.2km and you’re in KG SENAH RAYANG (on your right).
HOME STAY CONTACT:
Mr. Johari tel: (60) 146921075 Within Malaysia: 014 6921075
Mr. Amin Bin Abdullah : email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bilingual Post – Billet Bilingue
Yes my garden of Ko Ko Wangi is Wonderland. Look at what I found this morning!
C’est bien vrai, mon jardin de Ko Ko Wangi est le jardin des merveilles. Voyez ce que j’y ai trouvé ce matin!
Yes, they live in my garden; but I have yet to find out what sort of butterfly or moth they transform into. It will have to be a large one; perhaps I’ll recognise one someday, just looking at its eyes.
Elles vivent dans mon jardin; mais je n’ai pas encore réussi à découvrir le papillon. Ce doit être un spécimen de taille ; peut-être arriverai-je à le reconnaitre à ses yeux ?
God the Artist
God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?
How did you dream of the Milky Way
To guide us from afar.
How did you think of a clean brown pool
Where flecks of shadows are?
God, when you thought of a cobweb,
How did you think of dew?
How did you know a spider’s house
Had shingles bright and new?
How did you know the human folk
Would love them like they do?
God, when you patterned a bird song,
Flung on a silver string,
How did you know the ecstasy
That crystal call would bring?
How did you think of a bubbling throat
And a darling speckled wing?
God, when you chiseled a raindrop,
How did you think of a stem,
Bearing a lovely satin leaf
To hold the tiny gem?
How did you know a million drops
Would deck the morning’s hem?
Why did you mate the moonlit night
With the honeysuckle vines?
How did you know Madeira bloom
Distilled ecstatic wines?
How did you weave the velvet disk
Where tangled perfumes are?
God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?
Angela Morgan (1875 – 24 January, 1957 / Mississippi)
Le travail mène à la richesse.
Pauvres poètes, travaillons !
La chenille en peinant sans cesse
Devient le riche papillon.
Apollinaire – Le bestiaire ou Cortège d’Orphée (1911)
Bilingual Post - Billet Bilingue
An ancient olive tree standing guard in front of my bedroom window is the most comforting memory I have kept from my childhood home in Provence. The oldest part of the massive dark brown trunk must have been at least a hundred years old. Wrinkled, knotted, twisted and by then hollow, it had given, before it died, all it has left of its essence of life to a new shoot that had grown into a young and productive crowning tree. For many years, the centenary guard was a kindred spirit to mine, and until my father moved my mother and I to the city, it was my friend.
Un vieil Olivier qui assurait la garde devant la fenêtre de ma chambre est resté le souvenir le plus agréable de la maison où j’ai grandi, au Logis Neuf, en Provence. La partie la plus ancienne du tronc, marron très foncé, devait bien avoir une centaine d’années. Couverte de rides épaisses, nouée et tordue et désormais creuse, la vielle souche avait transmis tout ce qui lui restait d’essence vitale à une jeune pousse qui était devenue un jeune arbre bon producteur.
Au fil de mes années d’enfance, le garde centenaire était devenu mon âme sœur et jusqu’à ce que mon père nous ait fait déménager à la ville, il était resté mon ami.
FORWARD TO BORNEO… DES ANNEES PLUS TARD A BORNEO…
It has been almost ten years since we moved to Ko Ko Wangi; once more, my bedroom window opens onto a garden and now I can wake up to a tropical spectacle of red heliconias surrounding a palm tree heavy with dark grapes .
I still keep a poem I learned at school with my own illustration on the opposite page.
Some insects that used to bless my childhood garden between spring and fall have Asian and tropical relatives which thrive in my Borneo garden; however, grass hoppers, praying mantis, cicadas, ants, rhinoceros and other beetles, caterpillars and moths all seem to have developed a gigantic gene!
Voici bientôt dix ans que je vis à Ko Ko Wangi et là encore, la fenêtre de ma chambre s’ouvre sur un jardin. Je peux désormais me réveiller émerveillée devant une scène tropicale d’héliconies rouge vif qui entourent un palmier chargé de grappes sombres….
Je garde encore, dans un cahier d’écolière, un poème que j’avais appris et l’illustration que j’avais dessinée sur la page opposée.
Quelques uns des insectes qui peuplaient le jardin de mon enfance de la naissance du printemps à l’automne, ont des cousins asiatiques et tropicaux qui pullulent dans mon jardin exotique ; toute fois, les sauterelles. Les prie-Dieu, les cigales et les fourmis, les rhinocéros et autres scarabées, les chenilles et les papillons, tous semblent avoir hérité du gène du gigantisme.
Since I started with a French poem, it was only fair that I should end this page with at least a quote in English. So here I pay homage to all of Earth gardens.
In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.
~Abram L. Urban
Ko Ko Wangi is now for sale…Time to move on to new adventures!
COUNTRY HOME IN SARAWAK
Located 25km from Kuching, this fully furnished 4 bedrooms single storey country home has a unique design. It sits on a 1.0765 hectares lot crossed by a small mountain water river. Easy access by Kuching-Serian road.
Mile 16 – Kuching-Serian Road
4 with bathrooms
MYR 2.5 Million Net
Genuine inquiries welcome through email to email@example.com Ref: “Ko Ko Wangi”
Located only 25km from Kuching, yet the ideal country retreat for nature lovers and bird watchers. Nicely furnished, own unique design, solar heated water system, covered car park for 3 vehicles and large store room attached to car park. Huge deep terrace (120 X 50 feet) with belian wood flooring.
All rooms are over sized: 4 bedrooms each with own bathroom, family room, living room, kitchen dining room, laundry and pub-karaoke room. Most rooms with native timber flooring and fitted with an individual air-conditioning unit.
Landscaped property with 2 fish-breeding ponds and 1 decorative pond, small mountain river running through. Fruit trees (yes, durian trees!) and heliconia plants.
Village style wooden house for working couple accommodation. Easy access by Kuching-Serian Road. Access road is tarred.
Bedrooms: 4 | Bathrooms: 4 + 1 Visitors’ Toilet
Car porch for 3 cars
Staff Accommodation – Can serve as B&B
Land area 1.0765 Hectares
Built up area 6,000sf