10 December 2011.
We woke up very early on the second day and without long found ourselves driving to Serikin, a small bordertown 80km from Kuching which famous for its weekend market. The road cutting through the Kalimantan thick jungle, so it was blue and green all the way.
The weather was nice, and Garmin was a bit of help. Road signs aren’t many and there is no direct indication from Kuching, so we have to take one place at a time. From Kuching we aimed Batu Kawa, then Bau and from there starts the sign to Serikin.
We arrived at Serikin ten minutes past nine, and it was already tailgating to the market.
We managed to get the parking in spite of the many vehicles, and started walking to the make-shift shops lining along the narrow street.
It was very hot in Serikin although it was only 9.30 in the morning, so we chose to walked in the shady side. Serikin is very much in proximity to the equator thus the sun is directly overhead sooner than elsewhere.
Some of the goods are local, but mostly Indonesian made. In fact most of the traders are Indonesian themselves.
I lost count on the shops spotted selling something similar to that found in Jakarta and Bandung, such as these intricately embroided fabrics.
Beaded pouch bags, with Sarawak tribal design.
Local crafts – bamboo baskets used by the Bidayuh as ‘backpack’ whenever they go hunting or collecting jungle products, and the Bubu, the traditional fish trap made of rattan.
We heard someone’s excusing himself at the back, it was the food peddler selling Minang dishes with his push cart which we immediately gave way. Push carts peddlers are common in Indonesia, same with the guy holding the kitchen towels. I’d seen this kind of business modus operandi back in Java and Sumatra.
Chips seller with cowboy hat, Serikin. Chips in high containers like these are also common back in the land of the Garuda.
A gemstones seller, sat next to the shop selling some old-school ovens.
Another one crowded with interested patrons, spotted a few blocks away. The gems, mostly agate are crafted as ring stone and the aura resonate from the stone is believed to have some healing power.
The market not only focus on local handicrats and Indonesian products, but also the rare and the wierd. The Tokay Geckos, or known locally as Tokek, are the most sought after lizard by men these days and the price could reach thousands, as it is said has the essence to boost the libido and remedy to many diseases including the incurable AIDS. However, there’s no scientific research made to confirm the claims.
The Salak fruits, scientifically known as Salacca Zalacca (sounds more of Harry Potter hocus pocus to me!) are a species of palm tree fruits mostly found in the jungle. It’s easily distinguishable by its reddish brown scaly skin. It could be eaten raw, which taste bitter sour with a tinge of sweetness, and thus often made into pickles. Not my kind of fruit though.
It was a long walk to the end of the market and Acha complaint that her sandals were causing blisters, so I bought her the new padded stripy flats at RM15 a pair.
I gave the PnS to my darling Ahnaf, and these were what he captured out of it. Sorry kiddo, you know that won’t happen.
It was unbearably hot, Serikin and the heat was giving us headache, so upon reaching the untarred road we decided to turn back. More over, it was the same thing being sold throughout. It was about lunch time too and since we hadn’t had any decent breakfast in the morning, a brunch was more than needed. Exiting the market we walked to a nearby stall selling ayam penyet (again?) and chicken rice, and we opted the latter.
We left the market and headed back to Kuching via the same road, and decided to drop by Bau township which situated along the way. It is just like any other typical small town, but it was not the town that we actually wanted to see.
We actually wanted to visit the scenic Tasik Biru (literally means Blue Lake) of Bau, formed from the gold mining activities back in the old days.
The lake is really blue, and under a bright sun it turns color to turquoise green which we at first thought a reflection of the surrounding lush vegetations and the blue sky. Despite looking so beautifully serene, we later learned that the greenish color was in fact due to the high levels of arsenic, a toxic element. Too bad.
On close look we spotted a shabby looking path on the nearby island. Wonder who’s living on the other side.
At a distant there’s a stream of waterfall, the source of the lake I presume. This is how much my telezoom can make out of it. The stream is said to even have higher level of toxicity. The lush and peaceful surrounding, the crystal clear jadded water and the calm sounds of the waterfall – the place is indeed a beauty, and it is ironic that such beauty is untouchable.