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Published: January 23rd 2009
Seeing the Orang Utans was so special that we went to the Semenggoh Sanctuary three times!!! These gentle creatures, that match our DNA at 96.3%, are called "The Man of the Forest" with "Orang" meaning man and "Utan" meaning forest. Whether it was rainy or sunny they arrived to eat the 60 pounds of fruit provided by the rangers. I can't begin to describe the experience of standing on the viewing platform and hearing the trees of the rain forest bend and crash as they made their way to the feeding area. At first, they were impossible to see, only the moving tree tops and the noise indicated their presence. As they moved closer their gymnastic abilities and their sheer size were breathtaking. Because of their fear of snakes, they would come to the feeding platform just long enough to grab as many pieces of fruit as they could carry or stuff in their mouths and then returned to the safety of the trees or ropes to eat it. They all had personalities with some being shy, some being show-offs, and some being a bit bossy. We totally loved seeing them in such a natural setting. They were healthy, well-fed, and
able to come and go as they pleased. It was simply amazing.
Bako National Park is about a 40 minute drive outside the city of Kuching and then a 20 minute boat trip. It is the home of Proboscis Monkeys, Bearded Pigs, Macaque Monkeys, Pit Vipers, over 200 species of birds and various reptiles. The day we were scheduled to visit was windy but not rainy. However, the wind was so strong that it was kicking up 6 foot waves in the China Sea. This caused a 2 hour wait before the boat captains deemed that the waves were manageable and that we could depart. What a wild ride it was!!!! At times we were airborne as we crested a wave and other times we were racing along side the wave to move out of its way before it crashed into the boat. It was pretty scary, but well worth it since we got to hike the rain forest trails and see all the main residents of the park.
The many tribes of Borneo live in communal homes called Longhouses. These sometimes had as many as 100 people living in them. The longhouses have both a common area
and individual private areas for each family. At the Sarawak Cultural Center we were able to see 8 examples of the early longhouses. These are not quite like the modern version used today. The modern longhouses have generators, satellite dishes, and indoor plumbing.
Kuching was our home base while in Sarawak. It's a charming city with early 1800 architecture and quaint Chinese store fronts (or shop lots as they call them). The Sarawak River meanders through the city with a lovely, wide promenade along side it. Food stalls and vendors line the promenade at night and the riverfront becomes the evening hot spot.
Sarawak was a gem of a discovery for us and it will definitely be a highlight of this trip. We have now moved on to Phuket Island in Thailand. The beaches are beautiful and the water is to die for. Yesterday was spent on a boat trip swimming, snorkeling, and seeing the pristine beauty of the surrounding islands. Tomorrow, we are going Elephant trekking and Sun. we leave for Burma/Myanmar.
Enjoying the journey,
PS - I know there are a LOT of photos, but I just couldn't limit the Orang Utans. They
are just too cute!!
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