Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scenes - Sarikei-Belawai Trip 2006 Part 1

Leaving Tanjung Manis Wharf - 2006.

ince we had hired a speedboat from Sarikei, we decided to travel to Belawai by boat from Tanjung Manis and then use the bus shuttle to come back to Tanjung Manis for a different experience. Goodbye, Tanjung Manis. See you later, alligator.

From Rejang River into Selumit River tributary -2006

From the Rejang River, we travelled north up a small peaceful tributary, Selumit River. It was peaceful till the noise of the boat freaked a crocodile which was lazing on the bank and it dived into the river. The "see you later, alligator" phrase became true literally! Full speed ahead, captain!

Selumit River Mangrove Swamp - 2006

Mangrove trees thrive in a habitat which not many other plants can survive due to its salinity, lack of oxygen in the waterlogged soil and the frequent tidal inundation. Observe the stilt roots above the water that have pores (lenticels) on it to faciliate breathing. Did you pass your Nature Study in school?

Selumit River Nipah Palms - 2006

In some areas of the river bank, the vegetation transitioned from Mangrove trees into Nipah palms which are the only mangrove plams in the world. Nipah or Attap palms are common around Sarikei town's rivers. Attap chee ("chee" means "seed" in Hokkien) is the immature fruit of Attap Palm. These are the sweet, translucent, gelatinous oval balls used as a dessert ingredient in Malaysia.

Selumit Bridge - 2006

After a while, we drove under the Selumit River bridge which was also the bridge that the van shuttle used if you travelled by road to Belawai. The afternoon heat was stifling despite the salty breeze.

Selumit River Mangrove and Hawk - 2006

Our boat overtook a sea hawk which seemed to be searching for food. The boat drove through the whole Selumit River before it converged with a wide river (name not known) that flowed east towards South China Sea (see the wide river above Rejang River in the Google Earth map).

Belawai Wharf during low tide- 2006

Land ahoy! We could see Belawai wharf! Belawai is a fishing village with a long beach. Adrenalin rushed through our veins as it had been 25 years since we last came here during the school holidays. Oh my God! It's low tide and our boat would be parked seven-boat deep. How on earth could we reach the top of the wharf?!!


gongpiang said...

One of the product which is very common in Sarikei area is the "Gular Apong" a product from the Nipah palms' flower which is far more superiour than the "Gular Malacca" a product from the flower of the coconunt tree.

During the Japanese occupation salt wasn't available and the locals will cut down Nipah palms and burnt ash will be collected and cooked, the remains is salt.

The leafs of the Nipah palms is ofcourse used commonly in the formative years of Sarikei as roof top. That is where we got the name Attap house

Also the natives smoke tobacco rolled in RokokChow instead of branded cigarette. This RokokChow is actually the dried young leafs of Nipah palm.

So the next time we look at the Nipah palm please remember not only the Attap Chee.

Sim Y said...

Thanks gongpiang,that is very good education.

I had experience of picking the attap seeds myself. It was very dangerous experience, as mud is deep, lots of rubbish, and very slippery.

nung said...

Great report !

About 30 + years ago, during school
holiday , I
recalled my father used to
hired a small boat and took the family from Kuching to Santubong
On the way,
I was really intrigued by the mangrove swamp and all the little creatures living in it.

Daniel Yiek said...

Gong Piang,
Very good infotainment! The Gula Apong is "Attap Thng"(in Hokkien), I believe.

Sim & Nung,
The mangrove swamp is very interesting ecosystem.

Next post will likely be be Mon or Tue as I'm travelling. Depends on my internet access.

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