For old times’ sake…

When I was in Kuching for my nephew’s wedding, I took the opportunity to walk around the area around the hotel where I was staying…for old times’ sake.

This hotel…

Riverside Majestic Hotel, Kuching

…where I’ve stayed before a few times, is located right across the road from mine in what was called “The Golden Triangle” of the city. The Hilton, where my nephew’s grand wedding reception was held, is right behind it (with Tune Hotel right across the road) and the Pullman’s a stone’s throw away. There is a shopping mall adjoining this hotel but I did not manage to go and check it out.

I did drop by here…

Sarawak Plaza, Kuching

…though – the Sarawak Plaza and it actually looked kind of sad, nothing like what it used to be. I guess most would flock to the very much bigger and more impressive malls in other parts of the city  plus maybe it was because of the Gawai and the public holiday that weekend so there was hardly any life there…except at the fast food franchise outlets by the side to the extreme right. If anyone is interested, yes, that eat-all-you-can Hartz chicken buffet place is still there on the lower ground floor but I did  not bother going down to check their current prices.

Well, having said all that, believe it or not, I actually managed to buy something from the gift shop there – these cuties…

Luggage tags from the Sarawak Plaza Kuching

I thought they were so cute and simply could not resist grabbing a few to take home. I wish they had not missed out the apostrophe though. Sigh!!!

Things weren’t much better at this Tun Jugah mall…

Tun Jugah, Kuching

…opposite. The hair salon was packed, probably because it was the weekend and a public holiday but other than that, there was hardly anybody except for a sprinkling at the bookstore and the food gallery…

Tun Jugah, food gallery 1

Maybe it was that time of the year – even this favourite Sarawak/Kuching laksa place…

Chong Choon, Kuching

…that some insist is the best in the city, nicer than Anthony Bourdain’s favourite, was closed so there were only two or three stalls open at the food gallery…or maybe on any other day, there are only those few, I wouldn’t know. I used to enjoy some of what they had here a long time ago but this time around, I did not see anything that would be worth wasting my calories on. There were some employees at the stalls, chatting away and none of them paid me any attention when I was walking around. Why, they did not even bother to clear the tables…

Tun Jugah, Kuching food galelry 2

…where there were customers earlier! They have done up the place very nicely so it was kind of sad to see how things have changed, so different from how busy it was, the way it used to be.

This is another hotel a little up the road…

Abell Hotel, Kuching

…of that same name, the name of the 3rd Governor of Sarawak during those colonial times. It is newer than those established ones around but I have never stayed there before so I do not know how good it is. I used to love going to that eatery on the ground floor when it was at its former location a long time ago but I have not been there since they moved here.

There used to be a cinema, the Capitol, here – since demolished, and at the block of shops right beside it, there was one…

Chicken rice shop

…that was so very popular for its chicken rice. They told me that the current people are not the ones who were there before – the original people have moved to a shop towards the other end of this same block but I did not notice it when I was walking around that morning.

However, I do know for a fact that the people at this barbecue meat place…

BBQ specialist, Kuching 1

…were formerly the celebrated ones at the shop across the  road from the Capitol and the Odeon Cinema was right beside it. They are here now…

BBQ specialist, Kuching 2

…still enjoying brisk business and so is that “tim sam” place next door. The latter used to be beside the Pavilion, facing the Kuching General Post Office – both of which are beautiful buildings of colonial architecture. Personally, I am no fan of their pao, sio bee and har kao (that’s all they have, just these three things) but obviously, everybody else does not agree with me for the place was packed to the brim, as always, that morning.

A short distance away is this totem pole…

Totem pole, Padungan

…with what looks like Fort Magherita on top and yes, there are more cats here – you will get to see lots all over the city.

I went along the road and took a shortcut through one of the small lanes to that Sarawak laksa place that I have mentioned earlier and since it was closed, I moved on from there to this hotel…

Longhouse Hotel Kuching

…a short distance away. This used to be one of the leading hotels in town alongside the Aurora (now Merdeka Palace) and the Borneo Hotel but today, it is a pale shadow of its old self. My friends used to work at the coffee house there, now a coffee shop, and I used to hang out there with them. On Saturdays in the mid-70’s, there would be a live band performing and needless to say, I would be there rockin’ and rollin’ the night away.

Going round the corner, I spotted this hotel…

Padungan Hotel Kuching

I am pretty sure there was a bank here. I don’t think it was the HSBC – I think it was the OCBC. Can somebody in the know confirm this, please? What I do remember vividly is that there was a man who would set up his stall at the corner in front every night, selling char kway teow and we would walk over from the hotel regularly to buy, “Char kway teow gor kak, kway teow chay chay, nui chay chay, taugeh chay chay!!!” (fried flat rice noodles 50 sen, lots of the noodles, lots of egg and lots of bean sprouts) Yes, it was only 50 sen then, believe it or not and no, the guy knew us very well so he would just laugh it off everytime we said that.

I did walk further in search of one particular shop but that would be in tomorrow’s post…and if you go around the area behind that plaza in the 2nd photograph above, you will get some nice views of the Sarawak River like the ones in my earlier posts here or here and you may even get to see these colourful fishing boats…

Kuching, fishing boats

…at the wharf where the ill-fated MV Rajah Mas and Pulau Kidjang used to berth a long long time ago. I used to come to Kuching then using the former (I never did go on the latter) for only RM10.00, deck fare…but unfortunately, there is no way I can do that all over again…for old times’ sake.

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Author: suituapui

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

15 thoughts on “For old times’ sake…”

  1. Thanks for showing us some parts of Kuching. I see you did a lot of walking around in Kuching.

    I was surprised myself! At the end of it all, I was all drenched, soaked to the skin and looking like a drowned rat. I sure was glad to get back to my hotel room eventually, had a bath and a change of clothes…and I just stayed in my very nice room which was as cold as…Antartica (ok…ok…maybe it wasn’t that cold) till I went out again around noon. Had the temperature control at its lowest, 10 and the fan full blast -3. I loved it! 😀 😀 😀

  2. the place looks quiet and peaceful. those roasted ducks looks very juicy. but hanging like that feels dirty though.

    This was early on Saturday, around 8 something, and it was a public holiday here, the King’s birthday…plus it was the Gawai Dayak week – Gawai in Kuching’s like Chinese New Year in KL. All the workers would have gone home for the festival, so many places would not be open…and it was the school holidays – people these days are not like those in the past. The old folks were frugal to the max, saving every cent and they would work their fingers to the bone from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. These days, many will take a week or two off to go on a holiday – even my car workshop boss went to Taiwan. Times sure have changed.

    In all honesty, I thought the kitchen was very clean. Many have warned me not to look into the kitchen of Chinese restaurants, have you? This one, in my opinion, was good. There was an employee there doing the roasting, probably he had just taken those out of the cauldrons so he was hanging them there to let the oil drip before taking them out to hang in the display cabinets. You can see the bricks underneath – obviously that is so that the dripping oil and whatever else will not spoil their very nicely-tiled floor.

    What I did not think much of was the fact that the employee did not look like a local, working without any supervision. They must be very lucky to get a good one and the place is as popular as ever – I have heard of many doing that in KL and Singapore…and of course, the food they sell is no longer what it used to be. The descendants are running that “tim sam” place next door now, also very very popular but I thought what they have now is a far cry from what they used to be when the old folks were doing it at the old place…or maybe we did not have much then so we thought theirs were so very very good.

  3. Wow! You walked a lot!!! I never cover that area as detail as you! Wahaha. If you have more times, I think you would cover the other side (Main Bazaar and all the way down).

    Tun Jugah Mall! Where I spent my 9 years there as a young apprentice! Those glory time. But it is gone now. And so those surrounding buildings. Just there for the old time’s sake.

    Actually I went to the plaza and the mall and the area behind the plaza by the river (the KTS wharf) the previous day in the afternoon (before the wedding banquet) and the rest the next morning. I even ventured up Song Thian Chiok to the punting shop near this place – won RM120, came home…and my car battery had gone dead, paid RM220 for a new one. Tsk! Tsk! Me, born loser. 😥 😥 😥

    I was planning to do Main Bazaar and Carpenter Street that night, go and check out Lau Eya Keng at night, but I was invited to dinner at the club so that would have to wait till my next trip to Kuching. I really enjoyed myself, these walks down memory lane.

  4. Beautiful photos! Thanks so much for sharing this lovely tour, and I love chicken, as you know. 🙂

    Glad you like what you see in this post. I had a great time myself walking around taking photographs along the way.

  5. Ahhh I remember Chong Choon, i didn’t get to try that on my last trip too! What a waste 😦

    Going over anytime soon? I can hop over and meet you there, take you to all the best places in town. There is a direct flight, Penang-Kuching…but not to Sibu. 😦

  6. If me, i will also walk around and see the surrounding…

    You will get to see a lot of interesting things that you will miss when people drive you around in a car and you can stop anywhere anytime you want.

  7. It’s nice to take a walk down memory lane and see the changes that took place over the years.

    Yes, so nostalgic. I had a great time walking slowly, looking around.

  8. Wow, you almost finish walking the whole part of Padungan. Actually, the hotel you are staying is within walking distance to every corner. Walk further down you can go & buy your favourite sio pao at Kai Joo lane.The dim sum place once located opposite the Kuching General Post Office, was great but not now.

    Exactly what I said, maybe the old folks have retired or passed on. Kai Joo is in the other direction – if I had walked a bit further, I would get to Xiao Pao Wang, some good stuff there too – love the ham and sour cream buns…but my cousin had come and was going to pick me up, go some place else. A little further and I would get to the end of Padungan, the cat that they always dress up in traditional costumes.

  9. Walk down memory lane huh? Odeon Cinema, now that’s a name I haven’t heard for a while.

    Was that the one opposite Pertama Complex, the one in the May 13th incident? This one in Kuching has been demolished but I dunno why nothing has been built at the site, just a vacant piece of land. No Odeon in Sibu but I remember one in Singapore, Victoria Street and there was Odeon Katong too.

  10. Seems like you walked quite some distance to capture all these for old time’s sake pictures… Very semangat… The plates hanging on the wall, that looks kind of special… The last time I was in Kuching, I stayed in Holiday Inn… I remember downstairs there is a Parkson mall there… it was in 2001… wow.. more than 15 years!

    About time you go again, your memory is failing you. Holiday Inn is the one where I stayed. Parkson is at Riverside Majestic, across the road – the first photo above, in the adjoining shopping complex. Used to have a cineplex and a bowling centre before, dunno now. So when? When? I can hop over, take you around to the best in town.

  11. Those are very cute luggage tags! Nice colors you have chosen, sharp, easily seen 😉

    Love the last photo of the fishing boats, like a postcard.

    Thanks.

    Yes, when I saw the tags I just HAD to buy, so nice…so I bought 3. Cheap, around NZ$4 only – I bought in Auckland last time, way over NZ$10. Things are so expensive there.

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