Thursday, August 26, 2004

Kuching - part 2: Sat 21/8 and Sun 22/8

Sat 21/8:
Set my alarm clock at about 6am. Looked outside to find out that the layer of haze was pretty bad. Decided not to run, bugger. I was so looking forward to a run around the city. Checked if their gym was open. They're only open from 7am - 10pm on weekdays, and 9am - 10pm on weekends, ARGH!!! Need to run. Contemplating of running even in the haze.

9:00am, woke up, went to the coffeehouse for breakfast. Buffet breakfast..biasa la, right? Not so, it wasn't anything much in terms of choice. Just one serving tray of mee goreng (which I can't take of course), toast, boiled eggs, some cereals and porridge. Disappointing, it was.

Left late from the hotel for soundcheck for David Gomes' band. The itinerary for the day for all the bands were running behind schedule. Anyway, the bus took us to the Kuching Amphitheatre. It was really nice, with al-fresco kind of setting, really nice outdoor venue for the show. People could sit on the grass, or with mats and all. Looks like one of those jazz fest in the US. Only problem was the weather was hot and humid. Add haze for extra spice! Finished our soundcheck and we were taken out for lunch. Had to go a second time for a soundcheck as I was playing for Alonso's Jazz Latino band as well. Doubly hot and humid! Finished that one, and we headed back to the hotel to rest.

Calltime: We all were called to convene at 7:15pm, had light snacks, and were scooted off to the amphitheatre for the show. There was already quite a crowd when we got there, made us even more excited. Went to our dressing rooms, engaged in some formalities with the VIP, as he launched the fest. And on with the show!

Showtime: "All The Best", meaning the cream of the crop from Sarawak, led by Shafie Obie, was the first to perform. They had Razak Rahman, sax player extraordinaire, Zahid Ahmad, one of KL's top session drummers, flown in to play as special guests.

Next up, David Gomes Quintet feat Junji Delfino-Gomes. Me, eddie, and charles played for this group. The band was swinging hard that night, playing a mix of jazz standards, latin and originals.

Farid Ali, guitarist extraordinaire, and good singer, performed next. He had a few friends flown from singapore to play as well. And he's the only musician you'll see play gambus (traditional indonesian string instrument) jazz!

Sabah's Double Take (Mia Palencia and another extraordinary guitarist, Roger Wang) played next.

Finally, Alonso's Jazz Latino (me and eddie played this too!) performed. We rocked the stage with dance-heavy latin and afro-cuban rhythms, with blistering solos from everyone in the group, from the horns to the percussion to the electric bass!

We ended with a jam session tune, where we invited all the artists that performed to jam! The kodak moment happened when, at the last strike of the last note of that song, it rained cats and dogs! Talk about taking a cue to stop! It made pretty much everyone take shelter under the covered stage. I found out shortly that it didn't rain in Kuching for more than two weeks! Wow, I began to think we brought the rain down with all our music! About almost an hour later, umbrellas were brought and all the artists were escorted to the bus to go back to the hotel.
After showering, changing clothes and refreshing ourselves, we had snacks at the coffeehouse. Wasn't enough though, we had a second round of supper a few blocks away from the hotel at Khatulistiwa Café 24 Hours, until almost 4:30am. Then we all walked back to the hotel to retire ourselves to bed. It was a real fun night.

Sun 22/8:

Set my alarm clock at 7am, thought I could go for a run. Didn't get up until 9:30am. It still looked hazy, although I thought the rain would've dissolved it. At that point, it didn't matter, I put on my new pair of yellow Asics running gear, heartrate monitor, my new Nike Hydration belt (very cool, nice design, it's a belt with a special water bottle holder), my New Balance 765s, and out I went. Ran around the city, park, until I reached the previous night's show venue, the Amphitheatre. At almost a half hour later, it got pretty hot and sunny, so I ran for about 45 minutes only. Didn't matter, I got to run and check out the scenery on foot! An afterthought: if they ever organize a race in Kuching I will surely take part! Feels good running. I didn't run since MPAJ, actually.

Around 12:30pm, came back in time for lunch. We were brought to the seafood place again. Lots of food was ordered again, and I think we pretty much ate until we bloated! After that, some of us took a walk to the Waterfront again to check out some souvenirs. And we saw the fried ice-cream stall again! Second round!

5pm: Came back to the hotel, chilled a bit, and then it was already time to pack and checkout. Wow, talk about time flying! We were then taken for a short city tour in our bus, then headed for the airport, and back to KLIA.

10:45pm: At the KLIA terminal, we actually met up with the KL guys who were touring with Wang Lee Hom, like Greg Lyons, Andy Petersen, Lewis Pragasam, Aji and Jamie Wilson. They had just returned from a show in Beijing and they came back around the same time we did! Talk about coincidence. This was really quite a trip!

Epilogue: We took the KLIA Express ERL train back to KL Sentral (my first time taking that train), and we parted our separate ways. It was quite a trip!

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