Fifty shades of .... Green

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Friday, May 10, 2013

I arrived in Kuching on the 30th May after a flight from Kota Bharu via Kuala Lumpur. Internal flight are very cheap and Air Asia has some very good deals every now and again. Even though Borneo is part of Malaysia you pass through border control and they issue you with another free 90 day visa. I'm not complaining.

Kuching, otherwise known as the Cat City, is a vast sprawling city, but has very laid back feel. I have found a hostel close to the waterfront and most things are in close walking distance. As usual the streets are lined with all sorts of food so i am happy. The staff at the hostel are really friendly and helpful and it is great place to chill out. Lots of different travelers coming and going so meeting lots of interesting people. 

Decided to have a traditional Borneo tattoo. it is a symbol of Bejalai, which means travelling or gaining knowledge through one's travels. the spiral at the centre of the eggplant flower means the rope of life or the start of a new life and t the petals represent that one must always be patient. I am not a big fan of tribal tattoos but this represents where I am at the moment in my life.

Kuching is great place to walk around. Lots of Chinese and Malay culture and food mixed in with some remnants of the British Empire. There are statues of cats all around town and some are quite bizarre.

Went out to a Orangutan rehabilitation centre. This is one of the few success stories in Malaysia regarding orphaned or captured animals. The animals are nursed if necessary and then slowly introduced into the park where they are free to roam. they have successfully bred and already some have been released back into other Nature Reserves. These animals are semi wild and are not allowed to be touched. Wardens are very strict and some people have been savagely attacked when getting to close. The animals fend for themselves but the rangers do put food out for them as some are not that adept in finding their own food yet. Some days they come down for food and others they are content to fend for themselves. In total I was privileged and lucky enough to see about 14 of the awesome animals, some with babies. They move with such grace and ease through the tree canopy and must have immense strength as the can hang suspended for long periods.. A very special day. 

i have also been back to the local hospital a few times and have been given the all clear regarding my eye. I can go back to wearing contacts in a couple of weeks which will be great as I have found it difficult adjusting to glasses.

Another great trip was to Bako Nature Reserve. Once again this was a combination of buses and boats to get to Malaysia's oldest National Park.  Very well set up with basic accommodation huts and a small restaurant. You are are free to wander any of the 17 trails around the park. The main attraction here is the Probiscus Monkey. There are also silver Leaf monkeys and Long Tail Macaques. these are a real nuisance around camp and pretty much like the Vervets back home and will steal anything the find and can get rather aggressive. The walks through the jungle are brilliant. Very few people about and the sounds are unbelievable. The colours of the trees and plants consists of every colour of green that you can imagine.It is quite dense in most places so spotting any wildlife is difficult. You normally hear the monkeys crashing through the tree top canopy first and then you stand still and start looking. the biggest animal they have is the Bearded Pig which is similar to a Wart Hog and like any good nature reserve there are a few 'friendly ones' roaming around the camp.

We are so privileged to live in South Africa with our diverse nature and wildlife. We take so much for granted and it used to amuse me when i watched people over here get excited about seeing a gecko and the near hysteria when they see a monkey. We have such amazing wildlife on our doorstep that sometimes we don't really appreciate it. I try and explain it to people and sometimes feel that they think I am exaggerating. I have seen many fantastic sights but when it comes to nature and the outdoors I have yet to see anything that we in SA don't have. Tourism should be booming in SA. There is so much diversity and choice for people to see and do but unfortunately the most common question asked of me is about the crime and violence.

There were some sandstone cliffs down by the beach and these have been weathered by the elements over the years. As you can see in the photos these have produced some magnificent works of art. These are all natural.. i would have loved to spent a few more days here but there was some film crew shooting a Malaysian love story and they had taken most of the accommodation.

Its back to Kuching and tomorrow I start a true Borneo adventure as head off up river to Mulu National Park which is yet again a UNESCO site and home to the worlds largest cave  and resident population of over 2 million bats. will let you know when i am back
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