We are enjoying our time in Miri.Two days ago Randal and I got out our bikes and did a really long 15 mile ride. It felt long anyway with the 90 degree temperature and 90% humidity. And there were two hills too! We rode along the coast highway, but the view was blocked by several zillion dollar mansions. We took a detour to go to a more modest neighborhood near the airport which advertised a show house. It wasn’t opened so we gave ourselves a brief tour of the one being built next door. We rode back to the coast road and turned into a small beach park area. After a short rest we biked back toward town stopping to eat way too much fried rice and noodle soup.
Yesterday I went off to the Miri Public library. Here’s the story…..
Miri Public Library; you can only get there by walking!
Our first visit to Miri was at the end of July for part of Sail Malaysia. During that visit Randal and I rode our bikes to the Public Library. It is new and quite impressive and they had several watercolor books that interested me. They even had an art exhibit of local artists on display. Yesterday I decided to go back for another visit. Randal was doing a boat project with the alternator and battery charging system that necessitated running the engine for 2 hours. I decided to “leave the premises.”
The library is a fairly good distance from the marina so I decided to attempt the Miri bus system. There is no printed schedule on the Internet, but the local bakery ladies told me that the bus ran every 20 minutes or so. You watch the bus go by in the opposite direction and 20 minutes later it will be back at the stop in front of the bakery. I packed up my backpack, kissed Randal good-bye and walked the 10 minutes over to the main road where the bakery and several small shops and restaurants are located. It was 10:30: I sat down to wait for the bus. There was a young man waiting also so I confirmed with him that I was indeed at the right place. I had brought a book with me; but instead of reading I spent the next 25 minutes picking briars out of the bottom part of my skirt. I have no idea how they came to be there but they were itchy. Luckily they were just on the bottom part and only scratchy on my legs. I got most of them out by the time the bus came at 10:55. The driver was very helpful even calling the money dollars rather than ringgits. It cost 1 ringgit to take the bus into town to the local bus terminal. At the terminal the driver kindly walked me over to where bus 42 was parked; the bus that would get me closest to the library. He then took me back over to the tiny terminal building where the schedules are posted and we saw that bus 42 wouldn’t leave for another 45 minutes! A taxi driver asked if I wanted to take a taxi and I said no. Then I asked the bus driver how much a taxi would cost. He said about 5 ringgits which is less than $2. But I decided to walk thinking it wasn’t so far. Also, I would know my way back since finding a return taxi at the Library would be impossible. And it wasn’t so far; maybe a half hours walks. I had to ask along the way since I’m not great with maps. But it actually was quite simple other than crossing the really busy double lane wrong way traffic. At one point I found myself at a bus stop as a bus came along. I waited my turn to get on and asked if the bus would get me anywhere near the library. The driver said, “No, Wait for bus 42.” I continued walking, saw a taxi coming along and tried to flag it down. No luck. The weather was getting very overcast very quickly so I was getting concerned. But after one more giant complicated major intersection I came to the street where the library was located. As it turns out there are two libraries and I got to the “wrong one” first. Another 5 minute walk and I was at my intended library with the watercolor collection I had come to see. And most importantly, just outside the library, a small food stall. I had a cold soybean milk drink and then went inside. It was about noon and 10 minutes later it was pouring!
I sent the next 2 and a half hours there looking at several watercolor books and still there are more books I’d like to see. And I didn’t explore their magazine collection. So I will go back.
I left the library and walked back to the town center and then back to the marina. Along the way I stopped at a fruit stall to buy some crisp apples. Though I was hungry I wasn’t the least bit tempted to eat an unwashed apple. I did find a bag of lightly sweetened caramel popcorn at a house wares store. The popcorn was in a display at the front of the shop. That made a great lunch and got me the rest of the way back to the marina. It was hot but I did have a bottle of water and there was no second choice but to keep walking.
I had left the library at 2:45 and got back to the marina about 4 pm. That included stopping to browse the Miri Handicraft Center, buy the apples , buy the popcorn and cross several busy streets. It had taken me from about 10:20 am when I left the boat until about 11:45 to get myself “by bus” to the library. It took me just about the same amount of time to walk back. It really is a shame that it is so difficult to get to the library using public transportation: not for me, but for the locals.
When we were here in July I wrote an email that included photos of the library. These are photos of the landscaping around the library. I had to pass this way walking from the first library to the second new library. Miri means seahorse so you see lots of seahorse sculptures like in Kuching you saw cats. Kuching means cat.