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Kuchig Sarawak
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | 7:18 PM |

The trip started off with a real bang! When my families and I arrived at Kuching International Airport (KIA) we grabbed our bags and looked for signs for the terminal carrying AirAsia flights, the airline for our flight to here. It was about 10:15 pm. We ran out of the airport to catch the next bus, only to find that the next bus to the terminal wasn’t for a half hour, so we had to take a cab. To stop cab drivers from making up ridiculous rates to charge, KIA has a system set up where you purchase a ticket from the airport taxi desk for where you need to go beforehand which you then give to the cab driver. A very good system.

This ride was quite possibly one of the scariest car trips of my life. Our hearts were racing, and we weren’t even driving. We were zooming down the road, weaving in and out of traffic. He squeezed in between two trucks in a maneuver I would have never thought possible, and later dropped from about 100 mph to about 50 as he blasted through a red light. This driver was experienced- he clearly had done this before. He seemed to enjoy it too. Thanks to his skillful driving we made it to the hotel in one piece with about ten minutes before our check-in. We gave him a tip. Tips aren’t customary in Kuching, and as part of the organized airport taxi system the airport cab drivers aren’t supposed to accept any, but this man deserved it. We ran to the check-in desk, checked our bags and then ran to our departure gate area, somehow by-passing the metal detectors completely. We rounded the area and saw sixty tired travelers, tourists and locals alike lounging around lazily in front of our hotel. So we grabbed a juice, settled into some chairs and smiled at each other, happy that arrived safely and glad that we made it there in one piece.

I was quite impressed with Kuching as a whole. The more I learned and experienced, the more the place intrigued me. There is a great deal of cultural diversity in the country. There is actually an official government program, Kuching My Second Home, openly inviting foreigners to come and live in Kuching. The cost of living is very cheap in Kuching. A meal for five with drinks only cost us about twenty five ringgit at the most. And the food was absolutely amazing. The cultural diversity of the country was represented by the meals that we had there.

Another point that really stood out was the country’s infrastructure. Getting from city to city and point to point was almost completely pain-free. It was small and very, very crowded. Combined with the heat and bus fumes, it was not the most pleasant place to wait for a bus. This station is currently being upgraded and a new main transport terminal is being developed). Overall, the network of bus transportation was very efficient in getting us from place to place. There were buses throughout the day to places all over the country. And the highway infrastructure was particularly impressive. All the highways were in great condition and well managed. It was streamlined, with toll stations that didn’t create serious bottlenecks and clean roadways that enabled vehicles to move quickly.