Sunday, October 25, 2015

The City of Cats

Little heron, spied on my walk into the city
I have just a few days holiday to enjoy some leisure time, and I chose to fly over to Borneo. I landed in Kuching and found my accommodation (a privately owned apartment). Once settled in, the owner left for work (he’s a chef) and I went to the kitchen to get some water. Plop! As soon as I opened the door a very surprised little green lizard landed at my feet. He took one look at shot off, and has been staying out of sight ever since.

I explored a little nearby – it’s a fairly rough and ready, fishing dock area. There was a man with his daughter fishing for crabs, and the most amazing aerobatics by the barn swallows. I slept reasonably well and today I began to explore Kuching – the city of cats.

Crossing the river
Apart from the feral cats (which are in abundance), there are caf├ęs, statues and even a museum dedicated to cats. First off I needed some breakfast. It was raining, but maybe it would ease off quickly like it had in KL. Wrong! I was drenched, through to the skin (despite my raincoat) in minutes. I had breakfast and headed back to the apartment to dry off, passing the market where I bought a watermelon and saw pig nosed turtles for sale (illegally). I went back into the city and spent the rest of the day walking round. I wandered along the river front and an elderly man in a small motorised boat waved. I joined the queue for the boat and we crossed the river. The tradition is you cross the river to buy cakes. I did – but instead of turning right, I went left to the ‘fort’.

wandered along a road that seemed to go nowhere, to nothing.  I think I missed the main attraction. As I retraced my steps, I saw glossy starlings, sunbirds and more swallows. Having finally purchased a very colourful cake, I went back across the river again and continued exploring the city.

I navigated my way to Reservoir Park. As I approached, passing the ‘Kuching Pensioners Club’, a charming, elderly man stopped and spoke to me. He had worked in the medical core when Malaysia was under British rule. He introduced me to his daughter who was about seven years old. If it was his daughter and not his granddaughter, then I am mightily impressed! Oh, and he had a cat. We shook hands, instant friends. I wish I had photographed him.
Welcome to the city of cats

The Reservoir Park birdlife was vocal, but elusive, though I was lucky enough to spy a collared kingfisher. In the water I saw several turtles surface and disappear quickly; very smart move given what I’d seen that morning.

I eventually walked back to the apartment with aching feet and sore ankles, having covered several hot, sticky miles during the day. Supper concluded with cake for dessert, of course. Tomorrow is another day!

PS - at least the torrential rain cleared the haze for a  while!

All photos (C) Carolyn Sheppard.

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