Welcome to Monkeyville

Trip Start May 17, 2006
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Trip End Jul 01, 2006


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, June 10, 2006

I flew from Miri to Kota Kinabalu and then to Sandakan on Friday I think it was. I saw a Muslim Malaysian lady at the airport wearing a t-shirt that said, "blondes do it better." Kind of odd. The flight from Miri was fine, but from KK to Sandakan was heinous. We hit turbulence so hard the flight attendant fell and I was scared to death. When we landed it felt like there were no wheels on the plane. Where do they get these pilots?

When I arrived I took a cab to Sepilok, 30 minutes from Sandakan, to find that the hotel I reserved was full, but it was okay in the end because the place I stayed, Sepilok Jungle Resort (not as posh as it sounds), was really weird. They have concrete sculptures of monkeys and trees everywhere and even have benches and tables shaped and painted like logs but made of concrete. There is also a set of tables covered with concrete umbrellas shaped like mushrooms. Very strange. The grounds were huge and had a manmade lake you could boat on, but the rooms were just like any of the other cheap joints I have stayed at. Plus, there was hardly anyone there, so this huge resort seemed kind of spooky and abandoned. They had an AWESOME painting of proboscis monkeys playing cards with orang utans that looked like one of those paintings of dogs playing poker.

Apparently the concrete statue thing is big here, because every roundabout has some kind of concrete monkey with a slogan like "I love Sandakan!" or "Thank you for visiting us, DO come again," kinda sarcastic like.

After I settled in I went to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center for the daily feeding of the orang utans who have been released into the wild but may need supplemental feedings. Four of them showed up, along with a bunch of really cute little macaques. I think people give macaques a bad rap because they are common and a lot are not afraid of people and are therefore "cheeky," but I really like them and think they are funny. Anyway, the orang utans swung around, ate some bananas, and were really cute. They were all adults (I was sorry I did not get to see any babies), three male and one female. It takes them a long time (4+ years) to rehab abandoned, orphaned, or confiscated orang utans before they are released into the forest around the center, which is really cool for these particular orang utans. The problem is that the wild ones are still being captured and losing their living space.
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