Trip Start Feb 26, 2008
94Trip End Ongoing
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The next morning we took the bus to the city of Sandakan, checked into the Mayfair Hotel with its eccentric Chinese owner and rooms with all sorts of bits and pieces including satellite TV and DVD players. We watched some films in the afternoon (still too wrecked from the trek to do anything else). Our main aim of coming to Sandakan was to get to see Orang Utans in the wild. The best place to see this is the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre just outside of Sandakan so we went there on Sunday morning. First we watched a DVD about the work that goes on in the rehabilitation centre. Basically it's located in an area of protected rainforest where they have a centre for rescued Orang Utans. They treat the orphans until they are ready to be released into the wild and then release them into the surrounding rainforest. They feed the weaker animals milk and bananas every morning at 10am and again at 3pm in the afternoon.
After seeing the Orang Utans we went for a short 2km trek through the jungle with the hope of seeing some more wildlife. Unfortunately there was a really loud Malaysian family about 30 metres ahead of us making enough noise to scare off every animal in the jungle. We ended up only seeing a couple of lizards, huge ants, a squirrel and I got the blood sucked out of my foot by a leech.
To get to the Rehabilitation centre we had to pay for a taxi as we had missed the last bus that would have got us there for feeding time. On the way back we were waiting at the bus stop with a girl from Singapore for well over half an hour, then a local guy pulled up in his car, told us there was no buses on this route on Sundays and that he'd drop us to a different bus-stop where we could get a bus back to Sandakan. This is just one example of how really nice we've found the Malaysian people since getting here. They all say hello on the street and never expect anything in return, just genuinely nice people, happy to be able to say hello to a white person!
When the local guy dropped us at the bus-stop, we were waiting for no more than a minute and another chap pulled up in a big pick-up truck. This guy was white and he asked if we wanted a lift. So the 3 of us bailed in and it turns our he was German, doing a PhD studying the behavior of Ants in the rainforest. I couldn't help but laugh in his face - nice guy though!
Where I stayed