Let’s get away from it all…

After our awesome prawn noodle feast, I drove my friend from Singapore and his friends all the way to Kanowit to the Dayak/Iban longhouse at Rantau Kemiding. I’ve blogged about this place before here and also here – the longhouse where I would bring anyone who would be interested and my Singaporean visitors were very keen on the idea.

When we got there, it was very quiet as everyone was probably sleeping after the partying the night before. The tuai rumah (headman) said that they had their own countdown to usher in the new year, 2015 and at midnight, they played and sang Abba’s Happy New Year. Oooo…interesting! That certainly would be a great change from the traditional Auld Lang Syne, don’t you think? I even saw some traces of fireworks and firecrackers that had been played and empty beer bottles. Hmmmm!!! It must have been quite a party! I am pretty sure we would have had a lot more fun had we driven here the day before to stay the night and join in the festivities.

I brought everyone into the tuai rumah‘s bilik (house, though literally meaning room) and they were amazed by the size – much bigger than their cubicles in their HDB flats, they said. This was the living room…

Longhouse - living room

…and these were the traditional musical instruments…

Musical instruments 1

…that probably were used for the New Year’s Eve party…

Musical instruments 2

…and they had yet to put them away.

They are a licensed homestay operator here at this longhouse so on one side of the corridor to the dining room and kitchen and everything else at the back, there were their occupants’ own bed rooms and on the other side, they had these rooms…

Homestay room 1

…specially reserved for any visitors who are staying there…

Homestay room 2

…on one of the packages available. You can check their website for the details on what is in store for you if you come and visit and I did gather from the tuai rumah that they charge RM120.00 (around SGD46.00) per head, inclusive of accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner (eating all their exotic traditional ethnic delights) and some cultural activities and presentations. There are other activities available but anyone interested in those would be charged accordingly.

My Singaporean friends were enthralled by what they would be able to get on those packages available and were anxious to make another trip to Sibu and come and stay here to get away from it all and to experience their exotic ethnic way of life. If anyone is interested in doing the same, you can call the tuai rumah himself, Mr. Benjamni Aki at +6013-8823076 or email him at ben_8845@yahoo.com for further details.

For one thing, there is free wifi here…

Free wifi

…and you can make use of one of the 15 computers available at their computer centre…

Computer centre

…if you are not bringing your own laptop along. Isn’t that great?

After our brief visit, we headed to the town for the special red kampua noodles

Kanowit red kampua
*My friend’s photo on Facebook*

…which they all enjoyed very much. When we had had our fill, it started to get cloudy so we quickly made our way back to Sibu…but the sky was clear when we got to the Durin Bridge (Jambatan Batang Rejang) and they insisted upon stopping at the durian stall by the roadside where they got to try the buah pakan/pakon

The orange/golden ones

 – the orange/golden ones, another variety of the wild durians that we can find in Sarawak but unfortunately, the few that they had were not really good. The man was very nice and explained to us about the different types of buah isu (the green ones with the long spiky thorns)…

Durian seller at Durin Bridge

…and according to him, these were called buah isu taik anak which is not a very nice name considering that it actually means ” a child’s shit”. These were different from the ones they tried at the Sibu Central Market and I did sample a bit too. I would say they were quite similar to those durians that we are more familiar with but there was a distinct difference in the overall taste…and I quite liked it, unlike those that I had tried before that I thought had an unpleasant smell, something like kerosene.

We moved on right after this and I dropped them off at one of the mega malls in town while I went home for a nap and a rest before coming back a few hours later to pick them up and send them back to the hotel. They agreed with me that there wasn’t anything much really at the mall and that was exactly why I never brought any of my visiting friends here before. They even went to try the fast food franchise there that I had never set foot upon myself and they were somewhat disappointed with what they had.

It had been a long day but no, it wasn’t over yet. We agreed to meet for dinner that night but of course, that would be in the next post…(to be continued)