Boats against the current…

We do not have to look too far at the other towns in Sarawak or those in Sabah or West Malaysia for I am sure there are a number of people in Sibu even who have never been to the towns upriver like Kanowit, Song, Kapit and Belaga. Kanowit is now easily accessible by road unlike the time when I was teaching there in the late 70s and early 80s but to get to the other towns mentioned, you will need to take an express…

Sibu Express 1

I remember at one time, when I mentioned travelling by express to my friends in the peninsula, they thought that I meant going by train or by bus. Well, there’s no train in Sarawak and when we say “express”, we are actually referring to these boats that ply the mighty Rejang – the only link between the towns upriver and Sibu. Nope, there is no road connection either.

You will have to take one of these express boats at the Sibu Express Terminal…

Sibu Express 2

…and a 2-hour ride would take you up to Song and another half an hour or so, you will get to Kapit. The journey to Belaga is definitely much longer and you will have to go through the Pelagus Rapids – the mere name of which would scare the living daylights out of some people.

Well, I went to the terminal as ah^kam_koko’ came down from Katibas to Sibu again for the weekend. To get to his school, you will have to take a longboat which is something bigger than a sampan, powered by an outboard engine up a small river beside this town called Song. It should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to the school right in the middle of the remote jungle – no town, no shops, nothing at all around except perhaps for some isolated longhouses in the distance. There is no telephone communication nor mobile phone coverage and internet access via the is limited and in no way reliable. Thankfully, there is the generator-generated electricity.

I guess such weekend trips to Sibu would be a welcome break even though it only means staying in the house playing Mafia Wars online and sharing whatever simple meals my missus and I would be having at home.

Sibu Express 3

We did go out once to shop for some of his groceries and we stopped for lunch at the Mei Le Cafe not far from my house. These may be stuff that I would take for granted as I can have them anytime I want but to him, it certainly was like a feast! We had roast chicken and duck…

Roast meats 1

Roast meats 2

…and the barbecued ribs, Chinese sausage and char siew

Barbecued ribs

Barbecued Chinese sausage

Char siew

All those plus two plates of chicken rice and complimentary clear soup came up to only RM20.00. Real cheap, don’t you agree? I do not think ah^kam_koko’ could get that in Song, much less in Katibas. He actually asked for another plate of rice! The poor boy must be really deprived and starving up there in the jungle.

When I was in Kanowit, I would come down to Sibu almost every weekend to catch a movie or go to a party or the disco with friends and at least in Kanowit, there is a town…and people! In Katibas, there is absolutely nothing other than the school staff and students with nothing to commune with other than the trees all around and the wild life lurking amongst them. But at least, ah^kam_koko’ seems to take it all in stride and is handling it all pretty well…

Sibu Express 4

A pat on your back, boy, keep up the high spirits…and our door is always open anytime you want to come down to Sibu.