Saturday, 30 August 2014

11th August - Day 3; Kuching, Sarawak Borneo

For some reason the window had condensation on them this morning, and the view of the towers was just like it was shrouded in mist.  When I managed to find a clear spot in the window, once again they looked different in the pre dawn light, this of course meant yet another photograph.

After breakfast we left the room and checked out, for some reason everyone wanted to take my bag, leaving Helen with hers which she found amusing, which in turn completely confused the hotel porter at the taxi stand.

The ride to the airport was quick, with very little traffic, mainly because all the traffic was on the other side, coming into the city, long queues snaked over the elevated express way.  I was personally thankful for this, and the previous evening's antics were now beginning to take their toll, I was feeling rough.

As we headed towards the airport, two things struck me.  First, everywhere you looked there were high rise building being constructed.  the city is expanding outwards and upwards.  Secondly was the lack of birds.  In the many places we have visited, as we have driven or travelled anywhere, there would always be egrets or wading birds in the ditches or fields, but as we passed open expanses of water, and drainage ditches by the side of the road they were completely devoid of anything.  We only started to see crows and mynahs as we approached the airport.  I can't understand why this would be.

Our flight left on time, and was relatively smooth crossing the Malay Peninsula, and then across the South China Sea to Kuching on Borneo.  Near to the island there were several islands dotted around some looking very small, just like the typical joke desert island you see.

As we approached Kuching it was possible to see the Mangrove swamps that line the coast around this area.

Kuching is the largest town in Sarawak, one of the two Malay states on Borneo.  Borneo itself is the third largest island after Greenland and New Guinea.  It conjures up many images of wilderness, mountains and jungle, but over half of Borneo is covered by swampy coastal regions belo 150 metres.  Sarawak itself is a land of many rivers.  As we approached Kuching the sea was a muddy brown, where these rivers had carried and deposited their silt.  Coming over the land the main river, the Sungai Sarawak showed up as a huge meandering expanse of muddy water.

We were staying at the Hilton on the waterfront.  From the room we could see a nesting Spotted Dove feeding its young, and an Asian Glossy Starling as well with probably a nest as well.  It had been raining, and it was quite steamy, small unidentifiable swifts flew around the palms and buildings.

We went for a walk along the river front, small boats were acting as river taxis carrying people across to the other side, where another part of the city was located.  

Our walk took us back through Little India, with loads of clothes shops, and then to a western style shopping mall, and finally back though a Chinese area.

As we looped back around to the hotel, we returned to the waterfront, which looked a little different with the sun on it.

Back at the hotel we decided to just relax down by the pool, it was warm, but there was no sun.  On the lawn, Eurasian Tree Sparrows flocked.  Apparently these were introduced to the island and have done very well, its a shame they don't do as well now in the UK.

The clouds began to roll in once again at darkness came a little earlier.  Tomorrow we are off into the jungle to look for monkeys.

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