Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sarawak Cultural Village

Yesterday (Sunday) I took a shuttle to the Sarawak Cultural Village. It's sort of a living museum, showing how the various tribes here in Borneo live, eat, hunt, and celebrate. It's a bit touristy (especially after living the real thing in the longhouse earlier this week), but I was ready for touristy. I wanted to see the flashy outfits, wild dances, and hear the pounding drums.

The first part of the day I walked around visitinig the various kinds of houses built to show the varieties of communities depending on locale and lifestyle--mountain, river, farming, nomadic, etc. I might mention that they were all bigger, cleaner, more airy, and more inviting than the actual place I visited, but they were still very interesting.

The stairs and bridges were really fascinating. Here's a bridge from the Bidayuh tribe made from bamboo. I crossed it--but it felt precarious every second.

At each house people from the various tribes awaited to demonstrate skills, crafts, and so on--blowpipe hunting, weaving, cooking, woodworking, music. The things these people can do with so little to work with is quite amazing. I was especially impressed with the guy who did the blowpipe. His misses were few and far between. I wouldn't want him aiming that thing at me.

After walking around and sweating for a good part of the day--with several trips into the gift shop to cool down in its air-conditioned bliss--the main attraction of the day occurred: the dancing theater. Yes, it was touristy, but the costumes, music, and dances were quite astounding.

The man in this video is lifting a 20 kg weight with his teeth--that's about 44 pounds. It exemplifies his strength as a warrior (and having a good dentist, to boot).



video


No animals today--this is for my anthropological friends who often ask me more about the native culture of the country I'm in. (All right--to be fair, there was this kitten in the Chinese house that I played with for a good 15 minutes, but you can't expect me to go totally against my nature for a whole day).

I have two free days here in Kuching before we leave for Bako National Park, so I'll do some cultural stuff here--mainly shopping (think of it as hunting and gathering). If there's anything anyone craves from Borneo, now is the time to tell me.

2 comments:

  1. Looking at that bridge brings to mind the one we crossed in Canyon de Chelly trying to get to the ruins. I remember it was a bunch of sticks strewn hilly nilly across a raging river. We made it, but I remember a German tourist or two having to be fished out.

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  2. .... Canyon de Chelly, wonderful... but don't encourage Barbara again, cause "hikes can be strenuous and are NOT recommended for those who have respiratory problems"... :-)))
    we also have been there a century ago, therefore the intotheriver falling Germans couldn't have been us,... by the way, Germans never fall into water, must have been french people, I guess, Cornelia

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