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The adventures of the Mel

Rasa Ria Nature Reserve

MALAYSIA | Thursday, 11 January 2007 | Views [2846]

Selamat tengahari,

Well, our time in Malaysia has drawn to a close. We spend one last night here, and then we fly off to Singapore for a few days before returning home. After posting last night, Chels and I just returned to our hotel, ate ourselves stupid and watched TV. I love my life. It's great.

We got up this morning, and my legs finally gave me permission to use the gym. Hurrah! We checked out of our hotel and walked for 10 minutes to check into our next hotel, the Magellan Sutera, the, believe it or not, more expensive and classier section of Sutera Harbour. And boy, they weren't kidding. They step up the rooms a notch, add a balcony and make you feel very comfortable. Choice.

We did not have time to marvel at our new surroundings, as we scooted into town to attempt to catch a shuttle out to Rasa Ria, part of Shangri-La's hotel chain and home to a nature reserve which has the primary function of rehabilitating orphaned orang-utans before shuttling them off to Sepilok. We had been told that if it was raining, the viewing of the baby orang-utans would be cancelled. And I tell you, it was threatening. The shuttle didn't turn up and we had to taxi it out there, 80RM later (unintelligible grumble). And it was spitting. We were not going to be impressed to pay so much money to get out there and back to find it cancelled.

But, God loves us very much and it wasn't cancelled. Hurrah! We payed our 65RM entrance fee and shuffled through some more glorious rainforest to the feeding platforms to await the circus. They ventured out in a gracefully awkward fashion, swinging between trees, flinging sticks around, cahorting and generally enjoying themselves. Five of the seven orphans came to feed, and it was just amazing to watch.

Editor's note: Chelsea has been getting quite grumpy with my table manners, and we have decided after watching this, that my eating habits are not disgusting, but quite frankly adorable as I am part orang-utan. Well, we do share 96.4% genetic material, or as the stupid DVD pronounced, they are 96.4% human (more, louder unintelligible grumbling).

Some of them were little posers, eating and making sure that we could see their faces. Some ate and quickly retreated to the safety of the treetops, away from the circus freaks observing them. It was fantastic to watch, we didn't even notice that we had been watching them for an hour. They have a clumsy kind of agility, swinging between trees, not quite achieving perfect dexterity or gracefulness, but making their movements seem easy and well-timed, mostly. They mostly come out at night. Mostly. Well, actually they are diurnal as far as I can tell.

They were just gorgeous. Think 15 year old gushing and you might come close. Mind you, we had an adorable encounter whilst waiting for the shuttle earlier. A little girl, about 3 years old, just walked right up to Chelsea and me and held out her hand. She promptly shook both our hands, and her parents smiled, and told to her to wave bye-bye. She waved bye-bye, but not before blowing us both a kiss, a big grin and off she stomped to jump up the stairs. Kids. Pfft. They think they're so cute. But I digress....

Unfortunately I don't think many photos will turn out, as I had to turn off my flash and zoom in to get pictures, and with these actions combined, I am Captain Planet. I mean, it tends to blur.

It was bloody great though. So, back into the city, though this time we managed to pay to use the shuttle, so it only cost us 60RM. Great. Never mind. It was money well spent, I don't even mind now that I missed seeing them at Sepilok.

****NEWS FLASH**** I have NO, I repeat, NO Chelsea moments to report. This is breaking news Tim, and I just can't believe it. Seems quite surreal. We will keep you updated with any.....updates.

It's amazing how different and how similar countries can be, particularly, as we are often reminded, that Malaysia is a developing country. Despite a lot of western influences, such as Mac-go capitalism-Donald's, shopping malls and department stores, there is a lot around to remind you that we really are an affluent society and don't have to struggle to achieve any of our basic needs.

Many people live in shanties on stilts, roughly constructed with rusted tin slapped together, complete with mangy dogs and makeshift clotheslines with clothes that wouldn't be suitable for an op-shop. Many walk around bare-footed, carrying an ant's load of groceries, while smiling their rotting toothless smiles at the blonde foreigners. But strangely enough, what hits you is the construction sites. Nobody wears hats, you are allowed to walk through them whenever you like, and small children run around freely. They wait in anticipation until a bulldozer drops a load of dirt, and they run, screaming hysterically (in a way that only a five year old can) to play in this dirt mound. Not something you particularly find appealing. Or maybe it's just me.

Anyway, that's too much reflection for a hot day, I'm going to go back and eat some more, pretend that I'll go for a swim but in reality sit in our cushy hotel room and watch more TV. Mmmm....relaxing TV. Maybe we'll order some cocktails or go and sit on the banana lounges. Mmmm....banana lounges.

Anyhoo, we're off. Chelsea just made a stupid face. Yep, one of those ones. She is so attractive. Hope you are all well and stuff, see you all soon!

Selamat tinggal!

Tags: Culture

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