By Gladys L. (13 years old)
My family and I went on a trip to Sibu with a group of our church members last month. We met at the Kuching Sentral Bus Terminal and after everyone had arrived, we began our journey.
Saratok was our first stop. After checking into a hotel, we went to visit Uncle Andrew’s Iban friend as it was the Gawai Festival. Our host who lived in a modern longhouse welcomed us warmly and served us exotic cusines like wild pheasants, a snake and a monitor lizard. The youngsters were not keen to try the dishes when told their origins. Some residents from the longhouse also came to partake the meal. The adults were not allowed to leave until they drank ‘tuai’ and participated in the traditional ‘Ngajat’ dance. We took a group photograph before we left.
That evening, we visited another longhouse to attend a traditional Iban wedding ceremony. We saw a live chicken roosting in a tree. City folks like us had never seen one perching on a tree branch so, we quickly snapped some pictures of it with our cameras.
The longhouse was beautifully decorated with balloons and colourful streamers. We had our dinner there. As the ceremony only started at midnight, we decided to leave. Everyone was greatly disappointed as we had never witnessed a traditional Iban wedding ceremony before.
Our next stop was Mukah. After passing through long stretches of spiky green oil palms on both sides of the road, we arrived in the small sleepy town. We attempted to check into the Kingwood Inn Resort but there were no rooms to be had.
After checking into another hotel, we went to the beach for a swim. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the boundless ocean as we drove along the main road. The weather was windy and some of the beach lollers were flying kites, while some groups of people were having barbecues. After an invigorating swim followed by a satisfying dinner, everyone slept like a log. Ungodly snores probably echoed throughout the hotel that night.
We went to the wet market the next morning. There were many hawkers selling fresh fish and crabs. We bought some of Mukah’s famous food products. One of the most well-known is “Tebaloi”, a flat biscuit made from sago flour. Mukah also produces lots of dried seafood like anchovies and prawns.
We then left Mukah for Sibu. Uncle Andrew, a native Sibuian, invited us to his family home to eat ‘meesua’. It tasted so delicious that I had a second helping. Uncle Andrew’s parents were involved in the recycling trade so there were huge piles of newspapers stacked to the ceiling and numerous bags of empty cans waiting to be recycled.
We visited the famous Bukit Aup Jubilee Park in the evening. There were many people feeding the hungry fish. Unluckily, my friend fell down and bumped her head but fortunately, she was not badly hurt. We went to the best seafood restaurant in Sibu that evening. It was so crowded with patrons that the customers had to sit by the roadside opposite the restaurant. The food was so tasty that I took two bowls of rice. With bulging stomachs, everyone went to the biggest shopping mall for window shopping to burn the extra calories.
We headed back to Kuching the next day. We stopped by at Saratok and visited the home of Uncle Issac’s parents for lunch. After lunch, we continued our way back to Kuching. It was an awesome and memorable trip; all because of the warm hospitality that our kind hosts and hostesses bestowed on us.