I’ve passed this way before…

I was here

India Street

…that morning after the scrumptious kolo mee breakfast in Kuching but they are working on it at the moment. I understand they are going to put up a roof, probably something like what they have now at Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. Yes, it was business as usual but one could only walk along the very congested five-foot way outside the shops, not something one would enjoy so I went into this narrow passageway…

Passageway 1

…that I used to walk through a long long time ago, probably in the 70’s to Jalan Gambir at the other end or from that road to get to India Street.

I seem to recall that it was very much narrower, none of those shops along the way…

Passageway 2

…and at the time, I would walk very fast as I had that feeling, a kind of phobia, that the walls would close in on me. I guess that was the result of watching too many of those Hercules or Maciste or Goliath sword and sandal movies when I was younger.

There is a mosque midway, the oldest in the state capital…

Mosque Gambir-India Street

…probably for the many Muslim Indians in all the shops in the vicinity and hence, the old name, Masjid India. I understand that it has since been changed to Masjid Bandar Kuching. Well, it certainly looks very well-maintained which is a good thing – personally, I am strongly for restoring and preserving these heritage places, instead of demolishing them and replacing them with those ghastly modern monstrosities.

As I neared the end of the passageway, I saw this man…

Sifting curry powder

…sifting what appeared to me like curry powder, a foreshadowing in a way of what lay ahead.

In no time at all, I was out on the other side, the Jalan Gambir side…

Jalan Gambir entrance

…with a glimpse of the roof of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly) building…

DUN Sarawak

…in the distance on the other side of the Sarawak River.

As the name implies, one would see lots of shops selling spices and all the stuff…

Spices 1

…used in the cooking of curries and those kinds of dishes…

Spices 2

…commonly found in Indian or Malay cuisines in general…

Spices 3

I am pretty sure my friend, Opal, in the US would be enthralled by the sight of all these and would love this place so much.

I spotted this old-school barber shop…

Gambir barber shop

…close by that seemed to be surviving despite the competition from all those classy salons all over the city.

After walking around a bit, I headed back to the passageway and walked back to India Street.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

21 thoughts on “I’ve passed this way before…”

  1. So special to have a mosque there. The mosque with its wooden floor looks so antique. I thought you would go into the old barber shop to have a hair cut.

    I just had my haircut before going over – an old habit, to try and look a little bit more presentable when travelling somewhere. Hehehehe!!!! I did not peep inside – probably there’s an Indian barber, the kind that will massage and twist your neck to make a crack sound – some people love that!!!

  2. I love walking through that narrow passage way. Feel like walking through a time machine back in time. Haha.

    Nice shots. Can see you enjoyed the walk and happenings there.

    Yes, it sure was good – tracing back my footsteps, a walk down memory lane. Stll more places to cover – will have to leave those till my next trip to Kuching.

  3. I like the sign they put “Pardon our appearance”. πŸ™‚

    Hope they will not do further damage to the place. They already closed that road, paved it nicely with modern tiles…but that was not what it was like before – the old charm is gone! Now they are putting a roof over it – like this Jalan Petaling in KL, Chinatown. They did it up nicely, put a roof on top…and completely ruined it. It just isn’t the same anymore. I’d much sooner go elsewhere – no reason to go back there. 😦

  4. Second and third picture reminds me of Pratunam, Bangkok.. Without roof also I could walk and shop for hours, kekeke, but not now anymore, no energy..

    It has a roof now, somebody said in my Facebook share. Did not notice. I remember last time when it was raining, I had to walk very quickly to get to the main road where one could get shelter from the rain all along the five-foot way outside the shops.

  5. Dewan undangan? that must be the city center!

    Nope, that’s across the river – around where the celebrated Dayang Salhah kek lapis is.. Must it be in the city centre? This is the new one, the old one was also across the river, close by – away from the hustle an bustle, the traffic jam and all. One thing about Kuching – it is all spread out, not like Sibu – very centralised…so it would be hard to get around there if you do not have a car or people to take you around. Will be confined to a few places around the hotel only. Plus it would be hard to put up a building this huge in the already very congested city centre – no more space.

  6. Yes, a walk down the memory lane. The mosque is indeed well maintained. Bet you are getting some sio pao at Kai Joo lane.

    No, I did not get any. Come back tomorrow and see what I bought! Hehehehehe!!!!

  7. I will take quite sometimes to walk the place, look look here look look there…

    I am sure you would love it…if ever you get to hop over to Kuching! I sure enjoyed it.

  8. haha, I haven’t been to a barber shop for over 40 years, since I got married as my wife would cut my hair. Now I have no hair to cut!

    Muahahahahaha!!!! Thankfully, I still have a little left but if I sit in a chair in a salon with the spotlight directly overhead I would be able to peer right through the sparse growth and see my scalp very clearly. Going…going…but not quite gone yet. 😦

  9. It’s quite common for spices to be sold like that…by weight. But butter and margarine, I’ve not seen before being sold like that. The one behind looks like mayo and ghee? How do they keep them from getting spoilt in our hot and humid weather.

    Are those butter and margarine? Margarine is ok, I think but wouldn’t butter melt in the heat? My mum used to melt her own pork fat for the lard when I was little and she would keep in a big pot for her cooking – perfectly ok, no need for refrigeration…or maybe those days, the weather was kinder – cooler, not so hot.

    I’ve seen ghee here, pre-packed in plastic bags hanging from the stalls all day – seems ok. I don’t think that’s mayo – if I’m not wrong there is a whiter version of ghee (read somewhere that buffalo ghee is white and cow ghee is yellow) but I never buy these – used to buy the ghee in cans for my nasi kuning, green colour – the can…but of late, can’t get that original brand anymore. The present, three rifles or something, is not fragrant at all. That is why I am not all that keen to cook the nasi kuning anymore. Not nice if without the ghee smell.

  10. I don’t like the narrow passage, I would feel insecure. I didn’t stuffy place as well, I guess I’m a bit clautrophobic. The new mosque is on construction. I bet the old mosque will be replace by it.

    Looks like we’re birds of a feather.

    Where’s the new mosque? Didn’t see any construction going on around there. Would be a pity if they get rid of this one – it’s a heritage. Like the old Sibu mosque – so glad they are keeping it – exactly where it has been all these years, right beside the Muslim cemetery in front of Methodist School.

  11. Oh, the lane is really very narrow… I wouldn’t dare to walk through that passageway too unless with a group… Shopping is always interesting!

    It used to be narrower – two-thirds only, I think…and there was a corner of a building jutting into the passageway – there, had to give way to people…only one could cross at a time. Looks like they’ve done something to it already.

  12. a journey down memory lane, literally! i guess there are many of these older commercial corners in practically every malaysian city and town, just side-by-side all the newer, sparkling office blocks and malls…

    Yes, I love going through such places – anytime nicer and more interesting than those soul-less malls – you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all…or to me, at least.

  13. there will always be a market for the old barber shops, with customers preferring the no-nonsense cut, one of them being me! the prices have increased to RM10 though where I’m at.

    Oh? I like salons…hair wash, head, neck and back massage all in. Need to pamper myself sometimes. Hehehehehe!!!!!

  14. Those spices reminded me of a spice stall at the Kuala Terengganu market. I noticed ladies telling the shopkeeper what they want to cook and she will batch up the mix for the customers. Quite amazing how she knows how much and which spices to mix.

    There was one place in Kuching too near the old state mosque, Jalan Ajibah Abol – just tell the man how many kg of meat you’re cooking for your curry and he would mix all the pastes and pounded ingredients for you. In Sibu, there was a Chinese lady doing that same thing – I used to buy the green-can ghee from her but they had demolished those stalls, dunno where she has gone to now, probably not running the business anymore.

  15. Oh, I love places like this. They are so cozy.

    Yes, I find them very interesting, a lot nicer than walking around the modern malls – maybe it’s because I’m old. πŸ˜‰

  16. I am pretty sure my friend, Opal, in the US would be enthralled by the sight of all these and would love this place so much.

    Indeed I would! I would be in spice heaven. There is a large ethnic store up near where the BF lives and I’m hoping that we can check it out some day soon.

    I see the motorcycles too. This past Saturday, the BF purchased me a Harley Davidson tank top to wear when I’m riding on the back of his Harley. It’s really cute! I’ll have to post a picture with me modeling the shirt.

    Wowwwww!!!! Cool! Big bikers! We have a club here! Can’t wait to see the pic. Don’t forget one of the two of you on the bike too! LOL!!!

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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