Ramble on Rose (with the usual Dick) travel blog

Beautiful views at Kinabalu national park

the queen of the swingers

Urangutans #1

Urangutans #2

Look at the this place (first picture)!!! It was very like being back in the UK. The weather was awful, and cold at altitude to boot. Borneo confused us quite abit actually, the Lonely Planet for Malaysia is strangely unhelpful and it's felt like every move we've made has been a gamble. It became clear early on that things weren't going to go to plan. For example, we wanted to go diving but three typhoons were raging in Taiwan and we were getting the back end of it. This stirs up the water, affecting the visibility. It was also very expensive and we surprised at how difficult it is to travel independently in Borneo. It's a pricey, difficult affair and I'm afraid, for most things, we were priced out of the market (I think the worst insult for Jon and Rich has been the high price of the beer. They almost seem to regard it as a breach of their human rights, Amnesty International take note!)

So, after much thumb twiddling, we made a decision to head north to see the orang-utans and then make a fairly hasty exit. The pilgrimage to the Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre was one I felt compelled to do. It's been a dream of mine that I've nurtured for years, so I grabbed my somewhat reluctant travel partners by the hands and we crossed the country to find the elusive men of the jungle.

Borneo is undoubtedly green and their are very few inhabitants. The problem is that the landscape across most of the country is a mono-culture of palm oil plantations, for as far as the eye can see, for hours upon hours of driving. I would dearly love to report that the situation isn't quite as bad as we may have imagined but the truth is that I was saddened by what I saw. The jungle is now just small pockets of protected parks. But what there is is very special. It's dense and alive and inhospitable. The noise that it creates can only be described as a cacophony of screeches and singing and ringing and calling, all of which gives the impression of an environment united in telling you to get out, get out!! Always in my mind was a nagging sense that I didn'd belong there and was by no means welcome.

To reach the apes, we had to walk quite far into the jungle along a treacherous walkway which ends in a viewing point. Then we waited for them to arrive. There was a rope for them to swing in on and lots of sugar cane and bananas at the end. Feeding time is at ten and three every day and they were excellent timekeepers because sure enough, we got our first sightng at five to. It was very special for me. Bless their precious little souls, they were gorgeous!!!! Little, hairy, monkey babies with big eyes and comic antics. Each one to swing in was a different personality and a different size or shade of brown. The kids all swung around and weed everywhere and bashed each other with the fruit whilst the females (the males have got serious jungle stuff to do elsewhere) watched carefully on. We, the people, were utterly enchanted by them. For their part, they seemed almost unaware of our presence. I like to think they enjoyed performing for us and bringing us pleasure but I think I'm guilty of giving them qualities that they probably don't possess. And then, after they'd had their fill, they were gone.

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