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Great Apes

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Great Apes

Hi Kids. Yes, I have been away for too long. Sorry. Nothing much exciting here. Mostly. Paul has a new job, did he tell you? If not, email him for details. Still on the Island, so no, we are not leaving.

Thanksgiving was quiet. Our friend Greg was in town, so he and Paul went of to Borneo for a few days. Since I did not have as much vacation time, I joined them just for the weekend. Can we pause here as say how Thankful I am that my life has turned into something where I can say, “Oh, I’m just in Borneo for the weekend” as if that’s no big deal. It is a big deal, and I love it. It’s so great to be close to all of these amazing and exotic places. Even better, we get to share them with some many of our friends (and soon family in 2013). Rumour has is Greg may try to make Thanksgiving in Asia an annual event. Fingers crossed.

So, while I was working, Paul and Greg laid by the pool, took in massages, slept, relaxed and had a nice time staying at the Shangri La in Kota Kinabalu. Then Ryan showed up Friday night and things took a turn for the worse. Sat morning, 4:30AM wake up call, to get to the airport so that we could fly to the other side of the Island to see the Orangutans at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Center, in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo. It’s only a short flight, but it was a full day tour. Did I mention the 4:30 AM wake up…. yikes.

The tour was good, but not great. We saw little of the actual facility, the main part of the tour was to take you to a feeding platform to see the Orangutans swing in from the forest for food. The facility rescues orphans and others and teaches them the skills they need to survive. Apparently they learn how to nest (in the trees), forage, swing, climb, ect from their Mothers. So, if Mom is killed, then the baby never learns. Once taught (about 7-9 years) they are released into the jungle preserve to live on their own. The facility provides two supplemental feedings per day, but otherwise they have to learn to fend for themselves. FYI, Orangutans are vegetarians, and their foes are leopards and boa constrictors. So the feeding platform was neat, but about as much as I think you might see in a zoo. I wish they had walked us thru the facility to see where they were working with the young and how they ‘teach’ them the skills they need to survive. Oh well, it was still cool to see them up close and watch as they swung along the ropes and trees.

There were two feedings, one in the morning and then an afternoon. The only excitement in the afternoon was a smaller wild monkey showed up to the platform before feeding time and was chased for a bit by an Orangutan who was there. Proved for a good “ohh” and “ah” moments. After feeding the Orangutans head back into the woods, and as if on cue, the wild monkeys come in to eat the leftovers. Quiet amusing. Oh, in the morning feeding two of the Orangutans made love on the feeding platform. You know, got to give the tourists a show.

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