Face to face with a person of the forest
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Bukit Lawang Indah Hostel
We had a short walk around the village with everyone smiling and saying hello to us, and without trying to sell us anything. It was all so lovely. Then we went over to Graeme and Ewa’s hotel to meet them and decide what we were going to do with the day
We basically had to climb up rocks in to the cave which was pitch black we had each brought a torch so we could light the way and we did find a few creepy crawlies underfoot on our way in. We managed to get quite far in to the cave where we saw and heard the bats which were all hung above our heads menacingly. Having seen what we came to see we made our way back to the lodge and ran in to a Dutch girl who had a tractor tyre in hand and was on her way to the river to spend the afternoon tubing. The four of us gate crashed and grabbed two huge rings (they were big enough to share) and spent the next couple of hours on the river getting soaked and submerged under the water. The latter wasn’t supposed to happen especially as I had the old camera with the room key and Andrew’s watch in a sealable plastic bag but somehow on the first rocky waterfall rapids bit I threw the bag (or it fell out of my hands) and it went in the water and Andrew managed to catch it
We all left the Dutch girl and the guide to carry on down the river as we wanted to see a taster of what we had really come to Bukit Lawang for and make the 3pm feeding at the Bohorok Orang-utan Viewing Centre. On the way to the centre we had lunch at a little restaurant that Graeme recognised as being in the Lonely Planet we all really enjoyed it but had to rush it down so we didn’t miss the start of the feeding. It was a very steep climb up to the viewing platform and when we got there two centre staff where sat on the platform occasionally banging a plank to call the Orang-utans. We thought we might have to wait a long while to see any Orang-utans but literally within 10 minutes they started to arrive and it was such an amazing sight to see them swing down from the trees and vines with such ease, some carrying babies to grab some bananas and drink. Apparently the centre has successfully re-released 200 Orang-utans that were previously in captivity or victims of habitat displacement due to logging – oh don’t get either Andrew or myself started on the subject of logging
We stayed for about 45 minutes and saw about 6 Orang-utans come to feed and hand around posing for pictures. A few, including the infamous Mina who has bitten quite a few of the guides and is known to be ‘crazy’ came round to where we were sat and we had to quickly move out of the way, it was weird to be so close to these semi wild creatures. We came away from the place on a high we had been blown away by what we had seen and now at least if we didn’t manage to see any wild Orang-utans on our jungle trek we could still leave happy. We all had dinner together that night in our hostel again but didn’t stay out too late as we weren’t sure what tomorrow might hold.