The Comforts of “Home” Arrive
Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – How things have changed! For the first six years of our marriage, we would walk downtown to the small kedai's (shops) and bring back our produce and other goods we need for cooking the weeks’ meal. It was an arduous task because we ended up carrying a lot of groceries back to our home.
I convinced myself and my wife that it was good exercise and we would be healthier for it. I was soaked in sweat from the tropical heat while my wife had a few drops of perspiration on her forehead. I usually collapsed in bed after a shower and slept the rest of the afternoon away. Suriani (my wife) put the groceries away and busied herself with the odds and ends of housekeeping.
Now, we have Uber and a new three-story shopping center to visit in the same place where we used to go. It took us awhile to learn Uber. Three Swedish students helped us out with the computer arrangements, and strangely, it accepted our USA debit card – but not our Malaysian one.
We use the iPad, press a few buttons and the air conditioned car is usually in front of our condo in about four minutes. It takes us to Plaza Merdaka, where we do our shopping in air conditioned ease, eat lunch at a Burger King and take home pizza.
The school that Dzul (my son) attends is very close and Suriani and he just walk. Then we take an air conditioned car back to our condo. Such easy bliss! A car ride on Uber to our shopping center costs about $2, much cheaper that a car payment or searching for a parking place.
The days of not having anything in Kuching are over. Hardware stores have sprung up in the shopping malls. They having everything except lumber and plants. They are from the Chinese mainland, so one does not expect a hammer to last long, but then again, how many times do you a hammer?
There are stores that carry branded products (name brand items) but I rarely see anybody in them as the items are too expensive. The cheaper branded items were, of course, made down the street with inferior quality.
The grocery stores have also expanded. Instead of having long rows with a single item we now have many different brands with many from the United States. Campbell soup products are there along with items from England and Australia. They are usually very expensive and we avoid these products. A can of Campbell mushroom soup is about $1.50. A meal at Burger King (double burger with mushrooms on top, French fries and a Coke) is about $3.50. However, a small bottle of A-1 sauce is $5.50.
Presidents Donald Trump’s pulling the United States out of the Asian Trade Agreement and the Paris Accords will probably have little or no effect on us. The chains of commerce have already been built and these items will continue to roll in regardless of the political changes in Washington.
It will take a while for the USA products to come down, after all we are an island, but the prices will decrease in about three or four years.
The days of "roughing it" in the wilds of Kuching are over with. It has taken time but, as I get older, I am not complaining. An hour and half walk in the blazing sun just does not cut it anymore. I now enjoy the convenient of settling into my older ages in comfort.
...Life is good. . . . .