Bat City . . . and beyond.
28, 1995 10:50
16:12 Waterfront Food Stalls; Miri, Sarawak-Malaysia
:: 27 MAR 95
'The Guide' (Lonely Planet) is no more impressed with Miri than Bintulu, but as a 'not
on the tourist map' industry town I kinda like it here. The feel of Bintulu
is a bunch of fat cats sat around a map and said, "Hmmm, we need
a town to support the logging industry right about here." So they
built one. The airport is in the middle of town; you have to drive
around the runway to get from the wharf and commercial district to the
residential area and its various places of worship. (I've never seen so
many religious houses in one place.)
With Miri, on the other hand, there appears to have already been
a sizable town before the logging boom brought 'growth and prosperity'.
Miri's a fair bit larger than Bintulu. It even has one-way streets. Some
avenues are wide with rows of big shade trees down the median. Contrary
to expectation, it is the larger Miri's character that seems the more
relaxed of the two towns, perhaps because there is history and purpose
separate from the logging industry.
From the moment we arrived in Bintulu I wanted nothing much more
than to leave it. Unfortunately, we arrived at 15:15 just 15 minutes after
the last bus to Batu Niah, our intended destination for the day. Stranded
for the night.
That fate would not have been so undesirable in Miri. Nonetheless,
we've booked a flight to Kota Kinabalu departing tonight at 18:45.
Batu Niah is another thing altogether. There are but two reasons
to visit Batu Niah, to enter Batu Niah National Park, and to leave it.
Even these reasons are simply necessary evils since there is no other
means for the automobile impaired to reach the park. The Guide lists accommodation in Batu Niah, but don't even think about it.
It also specifies that for RM2 one can stay at the hostel inside the park
and even cook meals in its kitchen facility. Well, three years ago, when
my copy of The Guide was published,
you could. There's been a complete refit. Actually, the original hostel
was torn down and replaced by absolutely the most modern accommodation
I've encountered in Malaysia. Luxury for RM10 apiece includes wonderful
new wood construction, a nice spacious room with 4 single beds (for two
people), a full western style bath larger than some of the rooms we've
stayed in recently (Bintulu for instance, yuk), powerpoints galore, a
pretty verandah with table and lounge chairs, and an expansive kitchen.
The only drawbacks: all the mossies you can swat, and somebody forgot
to put the cooking facilities in the kitchen. Oh yeah, no scooters, no
roosters, and no mosques.
If you ever come here, take one of the little wooden long boats
from Batu Niah rather than a teksi. It costs the same, and takes as long,
but is a much nicer way to travel. From the bus loop, just walk up to
the river and someone will be glad to take RM10 off your hands for the
privilege of taking you up river to the park.
10:20 Shangri La Hotel; Kota Kinabalu, Sabah-Malaysia
:: 28 MAR 95
Another RM150/night hotel, about 10 times more than usual, just
for the direct dial phone. At least there are several English language
channels including CNN and BBC World Report. All kinds of neat things
going on in the world.
Checkout time approaches and I've got a date with a HOT shower.
Continued in Part II
Patrick. -- Responses Sought --
And when women do not need to live through their husband and
children, men will not fear the love and strength of women, or need
another's weakness to prove their own masculinity.
The Feminine Mystique
Feminists have always optimistically assumed that once
they demonstrate the merits of their cause, male hostility to women's
rights would evaporate.