|A mural of the Orang Ulu Tree of Life -- note the hornbill at the top & the vegetation in overlapping curlicues representing the natural life force.|
In Sarawak one day, as if just-like-that, it struck us that our departure date for the US on the calendar was merely a stone's throw away. This sort of jolt to perception melts days rapidly & awakens the realization that pretty soon, the friendly faces of people you've grown to be so fond of seeing amost every week, will be halfway around the world. Secret plans to enter every lottery seem like a good idea. If only you could win the lottery, you'll bring everyone at Sarawak Biodiversity Centre to the States, hoping you could return the warmth & hospitality that they have so graciously shown you!
TROPICAL "ICE CREAM" TREAT?
One day we went to the SBC cabins for visiting scholars on our lunch break &"just noticed" that a tree we'd seen almost daily for several months now had huge four foot pods hanging down!
|4 Ft long pod -- when did this happen??? !!!|
|Ice Cream Bean pod, a walking stick?|
After some conferring with Linda Liman, Angelina Nguan & finally Tu Chu Lee, we figured out the tree was Ice Cream Bean (Inga edulis). It is actually native to the Amazon & used by indigenous people there! Introduced into Borneo, more than 20 years ago, it is now used by indigenous communities in Sarawak. When the pod is split open the "beans" are surrounded by a juicy, white sweet pulp that tastes like vanilla -- as the common name suggests.
|Fluffy, white, vanilla-flavored pulp surrounds beans, inside pods of Inga edulis.|
A GREAT DAY TRIP of Native Culture & Cats
(FIRST) A VISIT TO SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE
|Pillars of Orang Ulu House|
Our friends (Linda Liman & Nizle Jnp) took us on an incredible day trip to the Sarawak Cultural Village, tucked away in the foothills of Mount Santubong. Sarawak Cultural Village is a living museum that showcases the diverse heritage of the major ethnic groups of Sarawak & portrays their respective lifestyles amid 14 acres of tropical vegetation. Linda & Nizle, who both are from different indigenous Borneo communities -- Iban & Bidayuh, respectively -- made this visit especially fun & interesting.
Winding trails meander to the different houses & structures of each unique community -- & seeing the architecture & exploring approaches to living spaces of each represented group was fascinating!
|A Melanau tall house|
|Melanau Healing Room|
|Bidayuh Head House|
There were all sorts of other innovative and fun booths from the other departments as well as indigenous foods & articles you could try, buy or merely ask about. Booths included making potpourri (from spicy tropical ingredients), "Fear factor" (which featured a first encounter with a friendly tarantula), chromotography using skittles, art projects out of recycled materials,
Representatives of different indigenous communities display handmade plant-based tools & baskets and offer them for sale. The woven baskets of mesmerizing indigenous patterns are exquisite!
|These 2 lovebirds pose with a secret, indigenous cooking ingredient - fermented frogs.|
One of our favorite parts of Open Day was the segment for Traditional Dance. The music itself is very beautiful, but also the traditional clothes for the dance are bold with the curlicues, stripes and feathers. Men often wear a vest made out of the beaten bark of Atrocarpus tree. The ladies who danced used the herbarium to get ready and obliged us by posing near the cabinets. With the reflection of the light they look like two beautiful spirits!
|Two beautiful apparitions |
appear in the herbarium!
|SBC Director Dr. Charlie Yeo introduces the Traditional dancers to the crowd.|
So, with the celebration of Open Day, we finally close our Malaysian Blog. Thanks to all the great people we met on our trip and thank you all for reading the Glory Hog Blog!
Hope you enjoyed the ride, and, if you get the chance, go out there and see it for yourselves!