Sunday, September 18 – Kuching, Malaysia (Borneo)

Up pretty early for one last breakfast in KK (waffles for us today) and then our bus delivered us to the KK airport. At the airport we met an Australian couple with their new friend Koko, a huge-sie stuffed orangutan they bought (…to fill their empty nest). We all posed for photos then and when Koko was reposing in the overhead bin of our flight to Kuching.
On arrival there we were met by our new guide and driver and whisked off to the Pullman Hotel. After settling in we met to head out to Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. We were warned that this is not a zoo. The 25 or so animals are free to come and go and it is hoped they’ll return to the wild. However, food is put out for them twice a day and usually at least some come and enjoy it.
As it turned out, 9 of them Came! We watched them for about an hour before they all disappeared back into the forest. It was just amazing to watch them swinging through the trees and clambering along ropes. One pelted a covered bridge with coconut shells and other food debris. Another, carrying a baby clambered down and crossed through the area where people were standing, causing a scramble out of her way. Photos were difficult because of the lighting unfortunately.
We stopped at a pottery shop on the way back where people picked up souvenirs ( Larry and Jane couldn’t resist carved headhunters (with carved heads on their belts)).
Back at the hotel most of us went for a swim and drink by the pool. Dinner was Chinese (again!) but much more tasty and interesting than we’ve been having. Gail, Doris and I had our own special dishes, free of garlic, crab and MSG. Lots of variety and all good. At the next table a Chinese family was celebrating a birthday. They had an elaborate cake, with candles and sang Happy Birthday in English. We joined in the singing and I took over one of our CANADA buttons as a birthday gift. They sent back a plateful of small slices of cake for us. We were each given 2 cans of Tiger beer with dinner, but few people drank both. As a result, we left the restaurant with many cans of beer in purses and pockets.
Back at the hotel, some of the mini-bar fridges are not connected so we may need to round up some ice tomorrow (or carry them to our next stop). (There are rumours of a “Hall Party” tomorrow, an Intrepid tradition.)
(Click Slideshow for larger view)

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