One day at a time…

We left Sibu in the pouring rain; the flight was delayed by some 20-30 minutes. This was the scene at the boarding gate before the crowd arrived and the mad scramble to get on board the aircraft. Gee!!! I just can’t understand this kiasu mentality; after all, the flight’s only half an hour or so! Simply ridiculous, these people!!!…And they’re SO stingy they would not pay a bit extra for express boarding facilities…AND I’m sure they didn’t pay the RM3 for checked-in baggage either for each of them was lugging no less than TWO bags even though only one’s allowed as hand luggage. Well, as they say, some things NEVER change…..

Sibu airport

Anyway, Gundot and daughter were waiting…and upon arrival in Kuching, we headed straight to Satok for Peterson’s hay pia (fried prawn ‘cakes’).

Peterson Kuching

Ummm…they were so very delicious. I ordered 6 pieces along with some of the other stuff…and later, ordered another four pieces…and hopefully, we can go back there for more before we return to Sibu in a few days’ time. For one thing, it seems that to him, taste is what is important and presentation is not one of his priorities…

Paterson hay pia

Probably someone should give him a few pointers and serving suggestions. LOL!!! Having had our fill, we went to check in at the hotel and after dumping our things in the room…
Grand Con triple deluxe

…we went to Spring, the new shopping experience in town…;the ethnic decor that you can see in the pic is in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak festival.

Spring 1
Spring 2

and in the night, Sophia came and took us out for dinner at…

JUNK sign

and her daughter and friend came along as well…

Sophia's gril and friend

Good grief! When did she grow to be one sophisticated, gorgeous looking lady? How time flies…!!! Sob! Sob! That can only mean one thing – I’m growing old!!! (Finally he realises it,you say? LOL!!!) Thank your lucky stars, everybody because right now, I do not have any photos of the lamb shank and the fisherman’s basket to insert in this post. The place was too dark to do those out-of-this-world dishes any justice. My daughter took some nice pics with her more technologically-advanced handphone so maybe I can get them from her to post at a later date.

By the way, I saw this on display at the hotel where we are staying…

Wedding dinner display

and that got me thinking! When was the last wedding dinner I attended? I went to one last year but it was because my father could not go…and I had to go on his behalf…and the one before that was in 2006, I think – an ex-student’s and I was invited to sing for the bride and the groom. Hmmm…so when will the next wedding dinner be? Archie? Cibol? Bongkersz? Tintin? KNB???…..In the words of JZ/Linkin Park, “What the hell are you waiting for…?” Hahahahahaha…..

Down by the river…

Archie was complaining about the deluge of food posts but all of you can’t blame me really! It’s just that my daughter’s home for the holidays and I make it a point to take her out to eat all the things that she loves.

Over there, the place where she’s studying has a canteen but they don’t sell much there…when they’re open, that is. I really wonder how they can survive and stay in business! There are a few food stalls outside the gate, right across the road…but the swarm of flies!!! And they do not even cover the food!!! Gee! Where are the Health Department people? Things are definitely much better here in Sibu!

Anyway, to move away from the topic of food, I was driving past Sungai Merah this morning, so I decided to stop and take a few photographs for this post. This was where the earliest Chinese (Foochow) settlers led by Wong Nai Siong first set foot in the region.  The small riverine town got its name “Sungai Merah” from the river that flows through it. It is literally red in colour due to the withered leaves that fall from the trees upstream. It had been murky and muddy at one time but obviously, the authorities have done something to restore its original reddish-brownish hue…

Sg Merah

Besides, they’ve also revamped the place by building a nice waterfront along the river banks with nice bridges of Chinese-influenced architecture. This would be an ideal place for taking photographs for remembrance as it is after all, a place of historical significance…and a good spot for evening strolls too…

Sg Merah waterfront

For one thing, I wish they had restored and preserved the old wooden shophouses for posterity…but they’re all gone now and in their place stand new ones like these…

Sg Merah new shops

There is a small park built in memory of Wong Nai Siong so shutter bugs can snap a few more shots here…

WNS Memorial Park 1
WNS Memorial Park 2

…and should you be feeling hungry, don’t worry!!! There are coffee shops all over selling all kinds of delicacies you’ll defintely be spoilt for choice.

And if you’re interested, you can take a leisurely drive along the country roads through the lush green rainforests to the smaller towns neraby like Kanowit or Sarikei.  Huai Bin has just posted a good write-up on Sarikei, so you can just hop over to his blog to have a look.

Well, I will definitely go around the scenic spots and places of attractions here to take more photographs for my future posts, so do make sure you keep coming back so that you won’t miss out on any of them…Hahahahahahaha!!!!

Home (1)…

I was born and raised in Sibu,…left at the age of 20, and came back 10 years later…and I’ve stayed here since! I’m not going to go into the history or the geography of the town;I bet you can find that in other blogs or elsewhere but I must say that previously, it was notoriously known to be the dirtiest town in Sarawak, and indeed it was! Visitors from other towns would just litter indiscriminately even though they would not do that in their own place; they said that the whole town was already so dirty anyway, so it would not make a difference! Pedestrians ruled the roads at the time (like the trishaw pedlars in Penang in the 70s); cars had to swerve to avoid them or stop to give way! And there were so many bicycles then!

Anyway, sometime back, the town council chairman then decided that it was high time for a change and  took the initiative to do something about it and due credit must be given to him and all involved for the massive facelift that changed the image of Sibu completely!…

Today, after the makeover, it is definitely a nice town…pleasant, not too busy, not very big and comparatively CLEANER than in the past and cleaner than many other places in the state/country.

Well, what’s the attraction, you may ask? The food, of course! Very nice and very, very cheap! Don’t worry, I’m not going to dwell on this as I’ve had quite a number of posts already about the food available here (And there are many more to come, I assure you! LOL!!!)…and you can get to see lots of that in other blogs as well.  For one thing, if you come to Sibu, perhaps you should take the opportunity to try the local delicacies, be it Foochow…

 

…like this bowl of dianpiangu or Melanau – the umai (raw fish) or the see-ert (sago worms) or Iban – the ayam pansuh (chicken cooked in bamboo), the babi kasam (fermented preserved pork)! You’ll be spoilt for choice, I assure you! What I just cannot understand is why people go all the way to a place and insist on eating the same kind of food that they have back home.  Many Asian tourists to Western countries, for example, would insist on having Chinese food provided in their tour package…or foreign tourists coming all the way here, would choose to eat at McDonald’s. But anyway, before I start straying off to the point of no return (…which I always have the tendency of doing!!! Hehehehehe!!!!), let’s get back to my post proper…

Other than the food, perhaps you would like to do a bit of shopping? Well, what do people do when they go to KL? Shop and eat! What do they do when they go to Penang? Shop and eat! Singapore? Shop and eat too!!! See!!!…..I rest my case! Well, some may have signed up for some tour package, so the guide may bring them somewhere to see how rubber trees are tapped or how they make pewter handicrafts!!!! Zzzzzz…..!!! You can shop for some real cheap bargains here; a friend will never fail to come here every December to buy his clothes for Christmas and Chinese New Year.  According to him, he can get the same in Kuching but at twice the price.  However, don’t bother to look for branded items or designer goods. Even if they are available, we won’t know whether they’re genuine or imitations. But, as far as I know, many people from West Malaysia or other countries will buy souvenirs – the native handicrafts e.g. the pua kumbu (handwoven blanket) or the rattan mat or they may want to bring home one of those beautiful Sarawak vases, a few salted terubok (fish) or the roe , and a kilo or two of the STRAIGHT udang kering (dried prawns). I always buy this for my friends in West Malaysia, and they always ask me why they are straight.  My answer is simple, “Because…they’re not gay!!!” LOL!!! It can be quite pricey now; the last time I bought some, it was RM70 a kilo.

But if anyone insists on sight-seeing, he can start at the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre)…

  

The cultural museum on the ground floor can give visitors an insight into the history of the town and the cultures of the people. Then there are a number of memorial parks around…but one must not miss the Sungai Merah waterfront where the first Chinese settlers landed and lived. Here are some glimpses at the historical bazaar, the way it is today…

Anybody knows the person after whom the road is named? Well, for one thing, I do wish that the people concerned had restored and preserved the bazaar in its original state.  Today, hardly anything of the old settlement remains…and I feel that somehow it has lost its authentic rustic charm. Well, as they say, time changes everything, so we’ll just have to move on….. 

So, to do just that,  what on earth do you think this could be? The stairway to Heaven???

Well, in a way, it is…or to the Catholics, at least! Those are the stairs up to the inside of the majestic Sacred Heart Cathedral.  It is huge…and may be worth a visit. Well, when we go to Thailand or perhaps, China, what do we visit? Temples…temples…and more temples!!! Here, there are a number of churches, a Tua Pek Kong temple with a pagoda that is one of the landmarks of Sibu…or you may prefer to drop by the Central Market! The live chickens wrapped in newspapers with their heads sticking out and all tied up in bondage are a tourist attraction.  I’ve seen many bloggers posting photos of the poor birds!!!

I will not recommend a visit to the nearby longhouses as they are all very modern so you won’t get to experience much that is authentic. For that, you will have to take a ride in the Boeing 747-lookalike express boat to Kapit or past the infamous Pelagus rapids to Belaga and visit the longhouses there…but you will need a number of days to do that.

So, if anyone would like to visit Sibu, you can fly MAS or Air Asia from KL, JB or Kuching…or from Singapore via JB or Kuching…or by MASWings from Kota Kinabalu!!! Come, “ngui neng ting nee neng li lor wo!!! (Translation: In Foochow, “We are already waiting for you all to come!”)