Iban ethnic is Sarawak will be celebrating their biggest festival - Hari Gawai on 1st and 2nd of June. It is a 2-day public holiday in Sarawak as Iban is the biggest population in the state.
Don't be surprised if you walk out to Sibu town on these 2 days and discovered it is abnormally quiet because most of the Iban people have go back to the long house where they came from to celebrate this festival.
The busiest place in Sibu a day or two before the festival starts will be Sibu wharf.
It is because those going back to their long houses at upstream of Rejang river such as Kapit, Belaga and Song which are not accessible through land will have to use boat express from Sibu to reach there. Sibu is the gateway to these places.
I went to Sibu wharf to experience the real situation there. Really... it shocked me! The boat express terminal were packed! People are waiting for their time to board the boat express. I hardly moved around when I was inside the terminal.
Those going back to their long houses not going back empty handed. Beside luggage, usually they will bring lots of thing back from foods to electrical appliances which are hardly acquire at remote area. Some people treated this as a business opportunity. They pushed their trolley around and asked if anyone needs their service to help carry the luggage by charging certain amount of money.
These were the eggs they gonna bring back to long house. I think it is not for sale... is for their own use.
For the boat expresses, they were full with passengers, from inner to outer. As long as there is still a place to accommodate a person, they will try to fit in. Everyone want to reach their destination as earlier as possible. Just like the boat express below, I think it was a bit imbalance because of overloaded.
The boat express not only need to carry human being, but also the goods or luggage those people carried. See the goods on the roof top of the boat expresses... Ya! you can even see passenger on it!
No need to rub your eyes... yes... that is a sofa set on roof top.
I believe this situation will gone by today when most of them already make their way back to long houses and prepare for their biggest celebration on the next day!
So for all the Iban friends, Selamat Hari Gawai... Gayu Guru, Gerai Nyamai!!