|Kuching, City of Cats|
This blog isn't about cats, but about exploring and discovering the plants in this area, as well as the people and cultures which also make this part of the world so interesting. Sarawak is a wonderful combination of different peoples, religions and customs -- the Iban indigenous people form about 30% of the population in Sarawak, with nearly the same percentage of Chinese-Malaysians, followed by Malay Muslims (ca. 20%) and others. In fact, Kuching is gearing up to celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 19th -- the Year of the Goat.
|Red and gold lanterns hail the Year of the Goat -- February 19th|
My first few days in Kuching have been spent becoming familiar with the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) where I am hosted. The SBC is well outside of town, located in the rainforest near the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. I got a tour of the impressive, beautiful grounds and facilities and got to meet many of the people involved in the molecular lab, the algae lab, the nurseries and the Traditional Knowledge Program. The Traditional Knowledge Program (TKP) is my host within the centre. The TKP is all about making sure that the many indigenous communities found in Bornean Sarawak -- Iban, Bidayuh, Kelabit, Kayan, Kenyah and several others -- are able to preserve and benefit from their plants and plant knowledge.
|In SBC nursery with Linda and Hanos|
From a botanist's perspective, it is definitely overwhelming to come in contact with so many plants you've never seen before --- and so many plant families you've never even heard of. If there was a word balloon that constantly floats around the head of a visiting botanist, I'm sure it would read: " What is THIS? What is THIS/ What is THIS?" I'll post again -- soon, I hope!
|What is THIS? (King Fern or angiopteris evecta)|
|Hard to tell that I am standing next to a FERN!!!!!|