Warning, this entry may have some scenes that some viewers may find seriously cute!
09.05.2010 - 11.05.2010 35 °C
After the disappointment of Mt Kinabalu, I had actually felt quite lonely in KK. So, a couple of days of five star luxury, some good company, and seeing orangutans in the wild was just the tonic I needed. I met up with Mark, who I had previously met in Penang, in a coffee shop in KK. After grabbing him a smart shirt from the mall, we jumped in a cab headed for Tuaran, about 30 min drive North from KK, to stay at the Rasa Ria resort. This place nicely comes complete with its own nature reserve and orangutan sanctuary! As the welcome gong was ‘gonged’ to sound our arrival and all the associated fussy razzmatazz you get in the places, I had the major giggles and felt much happier.
This place was super smart, super comfy, huge empty beach, huge room, great pools, steam room and Jacuzzi. We had the most amazing dinner at the mocked up street fayre, all kinds of dishes cooked fresh in front of you, satay, curries of various ethnic origin, roti, dumplings and and and dessert....... marshmallows dipped in white choc sauce. All washed down with a heavenly couple of glasses of fruity red wine mmmmmm....... Had a great time telling each other our life stories. One of the great things about travelling for me is actually having time to sit down and talk to people properly, simple pleasures. Back at home, everything is so rushed and I barely have time to sit and talk to close friends let alone spend time getting to know new people. Next day we lounged around for a bit, Mark in the sun trying to get a tan and me under shade trying not to go wrinkly hehe! Well we were on different schedules I guess, me on a one year trip, Mark was only away for one month so needed to get a trophy tan to take back to Northern England ;-)
Then, the most amazing experience and a dream come true. I will let the photos do the talking but I cannot begin to describe how awesome, uplifting and humbling it was to see baby orangutans in the wild. A real privilege. The Rasa Ria nature reserve is home to 6 juvenille orangutans of about 4-6 years old. They were there as part of a programme to rehabilitate orphans whose mothers had been shot in the palm oil plantations. We were shown a video that described how the orangutan numbers have been seriously dwindling in recent times due to the demand to turn more and more of the land into palm oil plantations, destroying the natural habitat for orangutans. Palm oil is a relative cheap addition to all kinds of processed foodstuffs as well as used as cooking oil and is a thriving business in Borneo. If orangutans are found roaming the plantations they used to be shot dead but now the rehab centre are notified and the animals are sedated and removed. This still of course commonly results in serious injury or death, and many orphaned orangutans, who love to cling rather comically to their mothers and anything else they can grab hold of!! Heartbreaking.
We saw two of these young dudes swinging freely through the trees, showing off, showing the macaque monkies who tried to steal their food who was the boss! Pure entertainment and I completely melted. We topped off a great couple of days with a posh dinner in an over-the-top restaurant on the beach that looked more like a nightclub, with mojitos of course. A very different experience but a great couple of days. I will never forget seeing the orangutans. Right,onwards. Best ditch the fancy clothes, strap the backpack back on and hit the road again.....