Down the river without a paddle

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
Trip End Aug 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Nature Lodge

Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Saturday, February 27, 2010

The lodge at Kinabatangan River consisted of about 10 rustic A-framed dormitory huts and about the same more modern brick built chalets. We had chosen the dorms which had three bunk beds in and we shared with a young English couple on a five month trip. The river pretty much guarantees spotting wildlife and we had booked two nights and three days there that included full board and boat trips at 6am and 4pm. Having seen so much on our short trip with Bonnie and Dave, we were very excited by what we would see and weren't disappointed as we watched at close hand the river life play out before us. Describing it is difficult and so the many photos taken are a better way for you to share the same adventure.

Ady had got all the staff up from their siesta to have a game of five a side football by the river and then the second night, Sunday 28th February, happened to be the same day that Aston Villa was playing Manchester United in the League Cup final at Wembley. We were deep in the jungle in Borneo, no mobile phone, no internet, no TV and at times no electricity. Aidan hadn’t believed Liz when she had sheepishly told him that we wouldn’t be able to watch the game and that she was so sorry for having got the dates wrong. Whilst he had forgiven her, he still harboured dreams of finding a way to watch it and he struck up a conversation with Ibrahim the chef (after Ibranovich, the Swedish footballer apparently) who was an avid Premier League fan and knew about the game. "Don’t worry boy, we’ll watch the game together, I’ll come to get you". Now, I’m not saying that I don’t trust my little fella, but this one was a bit hard to believe, I thought when Ady told me. I then got thinking that perhaps we would get a boat ride into a town or something with a TV. In fact at 10.45pm when he came to get us, he told us that there was a satellite TV in the staff quarters, but not to say anything. We walked the ten minutes or so along the forest track and then made it up the stairs of the large wooden structure into an open room with one piece of furniture in it. A table with a pretty big TV on it, and, The Game! Well the result shows that Villa lost 2-1 despite going into the lead but we had a surreal night sitting on the floor with 20 Malaysians all going mad cheering for both teams in the middle of the Borneo jungle. Watching footie doesn’t come much better than that!

The next day we trekked to through the jungle to an Ox bow lake. We saw some snakes, birds and little insects and the 8 of us trekking were hoping to see a little more wild life and THEN... Ady suddenly shouted “LOOK! “ in an excited voice .We all ran quietly to where he was standing and pointing into a tree directly above him, where there, larger than life, was the most enormous male 60 year old Orang-utan sitting right above our heads!!He was the most incredible animal and so human like or should I say we are so Orang-utan like! He swung around on the branches, looked bemused at us, scratched his backside and we were able to get a bird’s eye view of him for a few minutes before he sauntered off up to the tree tops.

We loved our stay at the lodge and loved the trips down the river to be a David Attenborough commentator. The diversity and richness coupled with the noise and serenity of the forest has left an indelible print on all of us.
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