Sarikei has the feel of a highway town. Several large roads disect the town's numerous blocks of 3-storey high shophouses. Many restaurants closed for business between lunch and dinner, although a few stayed open. It was to be our place for the next couple of days as I recovered from my cold. The river on which Sarikei is situated appeared brown, and full of logs and branches - a clear sign of soil erosion due to some questionalble logging practices in the area.
Sarikei is populated by many descendants of Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China. They are locally referred to as 'cowboys of Borneo'. We met a small group of them. They like to hang out at the local café (Café 88). We had dinner there a few times. Each time they kept buying us round after round of beer, and not letting us pay for our meals. They wouldn't take no for an answer, and loved asking us about cycling in Borneo. They often asked us why we choose to do it in the first place, stating that a bus or plane would surely get us there faster. We kept trying to tell them that we like the slower pace, and that to us it is more about the journey and not so much about the destination. They were very generous with their spirit.
Myles decided to get a haircut at a local barber shop. The owner was just sitting there in his tiny shop with only a couple of chairs. Outside the shop he parked his ride - a 30 year old RobinHood bike with a Sarikei license. We couldn't resist. After chatting with him for a while, we were once again reminded of the overwhelming generosity of spirit in this part of the world.