Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kuching, ka-ching

YUM. More on this in a minute.
Today was a Day O' Travel; we left our wonderful hotel in Hanoi at 7am and arrived at our hotel in Borneo around 6:15pm. The staff of the Rising Dragon Palace stood outside the door and waved goodbye to us, which was charming and just so them. The drive to the airport took an hour, and then we encountered the irritation that we've come to expect from paperwork in Vietnam. Whenever there's paperwork to be dealt with -- by anyone -- it's like they're just encountering it for the first time. The immigration dude took my passport and paperwork and just stared at it like he'd never seen it before and didn't know what to do next. And he was the regular immigration dude. But that's the way it was whenever there was paperwork, which somehow didn't make it a less annoying experience.

Anyway. We had a difficult flight from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur because of our fellow passengers. The ones seated around us were like developmentally delayed young animals who had never been socialized to be around others. The guy directly behind me kept grabbing my seat back and standing to holler at a friend a few rows up, and his long pointy (dirty yellow) fingernails kept freaking me out. He and the others in his row also kicked our seats and jabbed at their trays the entire flight, which was about 3 hours long. Man. Long long flight, no kidding. We had a pretty tight connection, which involved going through immigration, getting our luggage, trekking to the domestic terminal and checking in, but (a) our flight arrived early and (b) the next flight was slightly delayed, so it all worked out perfectly.

We have a couple ideas of what we'll do here in Kuching (the largest city on the island of Borneo, and the capital of Sarawak province), but one of the main things we're interested in, aside from orang utan sitings, is the food. Marc's research pointed us to Topspot Food Court, which turned out to be a block or so from our hotel. WINNING! So there we went for dinner, and it was a daring adventure. It's a giant collection of food stalls, fresh seafood primarily, and you just walk around and pick the one you want, then pick out the fish and vegetables you want, find a table, and they bring it to you. Marc said it was the best fried fish he's ever had, and it really was delicious. Perfectly crispy, spicy, and fresh. The stall we chose was the one pictured at the top of the post.

the crowd. the happy, happy crowd.
that's Marc at the end, ordering our dinner
our lovely fish -- deep fried sea bass, with spicy pickled vegetables (emphasis on spicy!). we also had sauteed fiddlehead ferns, some rice, a Tiger beer for me, and the whole thing was $12. We'll be going back the next two nights, for sure.
After our dinner, and some little cups of gelato, we walked along the river which was just beautiful at night.

not real sure what that building is, on the other side of the river, but i'm very sure that's a full and happy me in the foreground.

the riverfront, lined with more food stalls. lunch, maybe.
I plan to do a bit of sleeping-in tomorrow morning, and then we'll figure out how to spend our first full day on the island of Borneo. Borneo!

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