Day 1 of Jungle Adventure

Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Kalimantan Tengah,
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Tuesday we awoke early, packed our small bags, and got picked up by Yani, the local who arranged our Borneo adventure.

After a ride in a large car which included Yani's kids and sister-in-law, we arrived in Kumai and saw our boat!  The boats which take people into Tanjung Puting National Park are called klotoks, and they're fairly large (ours was 12 meters long), complete with lounging/sleeping space both above and below deck, plus a kitchen area and a bathroom.  Our klotok was called Kalimantan II, and our captain and guide was Suma.

On Day 1 we traveled through the Java Sea into the river which led us into Tanjung Puting.  Suma pointed out orangutan nests and langurs leaping through the jungle and it felt SO COOL to see these things in the wild--little did we know the cornucopia of real animals "in the wild" that we were about to see over the total 4 days!

Our staff (which also included Bandi, the assistant, Anakmama, the cook, and Fitre, her daughter and cook assistant), fed us tea and snacks.  Late morning we stopped by a small river village and got to walk around.  We saw lots of dogs, cats, chickens, and ducks (and their babies) as well as a lot of people who seem to live really simply and pretty poor lives.  It's hard to imagine living there permanently, so far from other busier parts of the country! 

In the afternoon we visited Tanjung Harapan, the first camp.  We hiked about 1 KM into the jungle (REALLY buggy), following a guide who made orangutan noises and carried a huge sack of bananas.  At the feeding, very slowly, 1 or 2 orangutans at a time began to come to the platform and eat.  They would peel a ton of bananas and eat them, and then stick 5-10 in their mouths and run off.  We were enthralled with the first baby orangutan we saw, clutching his mother desperately around her belly, never letting go.  We also saw a dung beetle literally rolling a ball of dung, and that was significantly less cute than the baby orangutan.

Back to the boat and lots of sightseeing as we slowly put-putted up river--we saw 3 sets of proboscis monkeys, 2 sets of long tailed macaques, 1 kingfisher and 1 pigeon.  Lunch was a grand feast of veggies, meat and rice!  Dinner was much of the same.

Before dinner, though, we had to shower.  And that meant going to a secluded corner of the river while our staff loaded up the generator.  The generator powered our shower, which let us use an actual shower head (instead of a bucket).  That was luxurious, but the water was less so... it was cold, black river water which had a slight smell to it.  We soldiered through the episode.  Being that up close to amazing nature, it's worth it!
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