Big, ugly, Ritchie
Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
273Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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This message was hard to take seriously while looking up at the young orangutan that was hanging out several meters up above the feeding area. He looked harmless, even playful. He would occasionally swing down to grab a handful and mouthful of fruit. He was cute.
It wasn't until Ritchie showed up that one could understand what a mean orangutan might be capable of
It was actually pretty comical. Ritchie would walk along wherever he wanted, generally directly towards the onlooking tourists. The staff members would call frantically from the background, "Stay away from Ritchie. You are too close to Ritchie. Ritchie is VERY angry." The crowd would, half-obediently, get out of Ritchie's way as if he had some sort of infectious disease. Except for a very daring camera-toting man who didn't seem to get the message. I half-hoped for the orangutan to grab his camera and snap it in half. But that would be mean...
Wherever his girl went he would follow along like a slow, giant, guard dog. Apparently the giant face flaps only develop on the dominant male. At one point a staff member brought over a plate of food to offer to the monster. Orangutans are messy eaters. Then he barreled through a group of tourists (I think he enjoys it) and disappeared. This left the mother to get some lunch. The baby just capered around. The whole thing was quite an amazing experience.
We got a ride from a very entertaining minibus driver who talked our ears off the whole way (You want to know the most difficult people to understand? SCOTTISH!) Then a surprisingly honest taxi driver to the airport. We'll have to come back to explore Borneo in the future. For now, we just wanted some relaxation and a little orangutan on the side.