Week 20 …Malaysia (assorted)

This week is Primate Week! We have jetted all over Malaysia to see orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and silver leaf monkeys! All of which I will talk about later…for now, I'll tell you what we've been up to in chronological order!

After the fireflies, we headed back into Kuala Lumpur for one night and managed to get rooms at a lovely little hotel called The Yard Boutique Hotel (http://www.theyard.com.my/theyard-boutique-hotel/) which was right next to Jalan Alor which, for reference, is a tripadvisor recommended road as is it filled to the brim with food stalls every night! I went there 5 times in total and had different, lovely, food each time! While we were tucking into gorgeous steamed fish with garlic, lemon and chili, I happened to look up and see our friends Kate and Michael walk past! I had known they were in Malaysia for 10 days but what are the chances of them being in the same city, let alone the same street?! We went for a drink with them later that evening and it was great to catch up: especially as Kate is currently living in Singapore and Michael in Hong Kong, so we might not see them for quite a while! It seems I always bump into Kate and Michael in odd situations! A few years ago, I went to a festival called Fieldview (only 3 thousand people are admitted over the four days, so it's pretty small and unknown!) and, as everyone packed up their tents, we realised we'd not only been at the same, obscure festival, but we'd pitched our tents right next to each other!

Mum and Alex are both keen photographers and happily took themselves off to the Petronas towers that night and managed to get some lovely photos like the one below:

The following day, we flew across to Kota Kinabula, which is on the Borneo side of Malaysia. Mum had heard that there was a Shangri-la resort with an Orang-utan rehab centre. We were led through the beautiful resort to a very well presented centre where we met the ranger who took a group of us to a viewing platform deep in the jungle. From our vantage point, we saw two young orang-utans come in for the food left out for them. Very sweetly, the orang-utans were very scared by the macaques who were trying to steal some food here and there: they hid behind the keeper who was sitting on the platform with them until the big, scary macaques had their fill and left.

Kota Kinabula itself is not worth the trip: it is like any other Asian town, with open sewers, crazy traffic, and a slight disjointed feel to it. However, even with our subsequent orang-utan visits, I am glad we went to the Shangri-la as it was lovely!

After KK, we flew up to Sabah and checked into the Sepilok Jungle Resort which is a five minute walk for the Sepilok Orang-Utan centre. Sepilok is the biggest and most successful orang-utan rehab centre and, luckily for us tourists, allows visitors to watch the feeding of the animals who are in their first stages of rehab. Of course, as it is a MacLeod holiday, it was pouring with torrential rain! Mum has notoriety as the person whom rain follows wherever she goes! If any country is having a droug: just hire Anna MacLeod for guaranteed rain storms! 🙂 Even though, despite being drenched to the skin, we had a wonderful time watching 6 orang-utans swing into view, happily munch on the food and then swing away. One of them was very small and scrawny looking and was led to the platform by the hand by the keeper which was adorable. We thought she was very young but apparently she was around 7 years old but would sadly never be fully rehabilitated as she was too dependant on humans. The reason she is so dependant is that her best friend sadly died and, because she was so lonely, she's taken to the keeper as her new best friend despite being different species.

The day before yesterday we…..went to see monkeys! For a change! Haha! This time, we went to watch the Proboscis monkeys being fed. Unlike the orang-utans, proboscis monkeys live in large social troops so they were really fun to watch. They are also hilarious looking creatures! We watched their 2.30pm feed and then our driver took us to the other feeding platform for the 4.30pm feed. On the walkway horn the mangroves, back to the car, we came across a lone proboscis male happily munching through a pile of cucumber and pancake (odd I know!) that had been left out. Our driver told me I could get pretty close to him for a photo and, despite being terrified of the HUGE canines, I crept closer and he continued to chew noisily and contentedly behind me! Pretty exciting!

As we were driving along to the second feed, I mentioned that I would love to see Silver Leaf Monkeys and he said, if we were lucky, they'd be at the next platform and they were very friendly! Little did I know that, by the end of the feed, I'd have got two cuddles from baby silver leaf monkeys, had a lot of the babies playing with my bracelets, had one try to stick his fingers in my mouth and had managed to get photos of one adult climb nonchalantly onto Alex's head! They were absolutely gorgeous and perfectly happy to be stroked or even groomed! I was in my element!! (Lots of pictures now!)

For the last two nights, we've stayed at a really lovely place called Paganakandii (http://www.paganakandii.com/Home.html) which has lovely huts with their own inside/outside bathrooms so you can have your showers overlooking the jungle! I love it! Well done, mum!

If you ever come to this part of the world and are being convinced to go to the Gomantong caves….just don't! We spent 2 hours driving to the caves and, when we got there, discovered that the walk way was inches deep in bat- and swiftlet-poo as well as armies of cockroaches, it stunk and was almost pitch black. Dad turned back without setting one foot inside, mum and I managed about 5 minutes before heading back and Alex had to be fetched as he'd pottered around in there so long that our coach needed to leave! Haha! That man will endure anything to get a good photo! (I'll show one that he got in next weeks blog!)

Despite the morning being less than palatable, we then were taken to a boat “cruise” which was lovely! We puttered down a jungle river and spotted all sorts of wildlife and, I have to say, I could have put our guide out of a job as I spotted most of the wildlife well before he did! To be fair to him, though, he did spot a water monitor lizard fast asleep on a tree branch….that thing was very well camouflaged!!

Sadly, today is sort of our last day all together (which isn't taken up by travelling) as tomorrow we are spending the whole day getting back to KL in order for mum and dad to fly back to London and Alex and I to fly to Singapore the following morning. I am really not looking forward to having to say goodbye….it'll be another full 6 months until I see my parents again! 😦 However, next time we are all together again (including Gustus!) will be in Disney, Florida!

Milly x



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