Yesterday I called my friend who is working in Bintangor, Sarawak. Bintangor used to be called Binatang, and because of the meaning of the word in Malay it was changed to Bintangor many years ago. The only claim to fame that Bintangor has, as far as those of us who don't live there are concerned, is that it has one of the oldest teacher training colleges in the state.
I have invited this friend to join me and my family to the Gawai (harvest festival) celebrations at my parents longhouse which is located in Saratok. Saratok is not that far from Bintangor and she can easily take the bus and I will pick her up from the bus station.
I don't think this friend, who is Chinese, has ever spent the night in a longhouse before! It will most certainly be quite an experience for her especially with the noise and merry making that goes on all night during the Gawai celebrations.
Gawai celebrations begin on the evening of May 31. My parents and my family will drive to Saratok from Miri on May 28. It will be a long drive but at least this time, we won't be caught in a bottle neck in Durin where in the past we had to catch the ferry across the river. There's a bridge over the river at Durin now. A few days before the 31st is the busiest time on the road because many people are also making their way to their various longhouses, and the bridge will most certainly help us arrive at our destination a lot quicker.
I am so looking forward to celebrating the Gawai celebrations with my kids. The last time the kids were at the longhouse, Denice had just turned one and Duncan was 10 months old. It was not a happy time for Duncan because he fell ill with a fever the day after we arrived there.
Hopefully, this time around they will be stronger and able to take the changes in the weather better.