Kuching: tribal junkie goes shopping

Maybe there’s more to Kuching than the Main Bazaar that runs along a picturesque waterfront. Honestly, I have no clue and really don’t give a damn. For me, or should I say, for the person who waits for the clearance sales at ABC home and carpet, the main bazaar experience was like being a heroine addict running through a poppy field.

Here’s what it is…a long but manageable row of stall-like things that are just across the street from the waterfront. Stall after stall of enormously high quality tribal art at Loehmann prices. Antiques and modern, yes they still use the stuff. But all original pieces. And, they’re legit. I shopped, I conquered, I shipped. But darn it, not enough.

So let me just throw out these little pearls of wisdom. If this is your first stop in Borneo before becoming one with the Orangutans, SHOP! If you think you’ll find this stuff in Sandakan, KK or Kuala Lumpur, YOU’RE NOT! If you’re there and stop in my places (Nelson’s Lot 14 and John’s Gallery Lot 52), SHOOT ME AN EMAIL. We can coordinate shopping efforts. I’ll love you, and I’m not kidding. I have serious regrets about not buying more. Oh yeah, I forgot about Jonah. The 17-year-old man-boy that I travel with that needs to eat.  And yes, man, he had all the shopping he could take. So if you walk a block behind the Main bazaar there is a street that has a mega-charm all unto its own. Stop in at the Siang Ti Miao Temple.

After that, right next store is a little chinese dive with the best sweet and sour chicken I ever tasted. For what?, 2 bucks. It don’t get better than that.

So to sum up Kuching, I found more than I bargained for. I arrived there thinking it’s just some gateway to super cool things see and do. It was my little layover for tribes and Orangutans. Definitely well worth it. Tribes, 4 thumbs up. (see previous post). Semenggoh, waay more authentic than Sepilok Orangutan Center. There weren’t hoards of tourist corralled onto a viewing platform.

If I had to do it all over again, I’d keep the side trips and ADD a full day in Kuching just to embrace my inner shopper junkie, relax on the waterfront and enjoy finding another “this is light years better than any NY Chinatown” meal.