Malaysia – Truly Asia
Have just returned from a book reading and workshop tour of Malaysia. What a wonderful time meeting some interesting people and hearing their amazing stories. In Kuching had the incredible good fortune to stay with the family of Angela (Malaysia video fame) and partake of some of the best food on offer. George (Angela’s husband) informed me that Chinese Malays rate a holiday on how good the food was, this being the case, Kuching was five stars! Angela ensured my travelling companion and I experienced some of the highlights of her lovely hometown.
This included the Sarawak Cultural Village which showcases the state’s cultural diversity in an open air museum with seven authentic ethnic houses. It was a fun educational experience to meet the Bidayuh, Iban, Penan, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Malay and Chinese in their homes and see those undertaking traditional activities. The stage show was exceptional and one actor in particular was extremely funny.
No trip to Kuching would be complete without seeing orangutans in the wild (male plus female with baby) although the guide ensures you are aware there is no guarantee you will see them (yeah, lucky me!) and a kayak journey down a river in the jungle.
Then it was off to Kuala Lumpur and a whirlwind of readings and workshops. During a break got to see some of the sights and meet the people.
Melaka was the last stop and again a feast for the senses. As an ancient trading post there is a rich heritage of different influences and it was a challenge to see how many different cuisines and cultures could be experienced. Perhaps one of the highlights was being warmly greeted on arrival by the delightful William and Silvia Chan who then paid us the honour of a private personal tour of their Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum. This was in fact one of William’s family homes. I really do enjoy visiting this city, if for no other reason than the staggering age and history. Although I must confess the best part is the people. It’s raining and taxis are a bit scarce in the Portuguese Settlement so after dinner Juliana (owner of Restoran De Costa’s) drives us back to the hotel. That’s why it’s great to travel!
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