Matang, Orangutans, Poo tubes

Trip Start Dec 12, 2012
Trip End Jan 03, 2013

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Friday, December 21, 2012

Meet our driver 'Zu' and we’re off to Matang Reserve. We take the new road which is a four lane highway that was supposed to lead to a new development (airport? new Kampung?) which never happened, so it’s 10km of super new road with absolutely no traffic that goes to nowhere. We turn off near the end and into a small valley around the back of Kubah NP.

Into the reserve and we whizz straight over to the orang-utan enclosure, there’s no ‘rangas out yet but there are a few voluntourists cleaning cages and tidying up. We dash back around to the other enclosures and check out the crocs and deer (in separate enclosures of course).

Moving through the reserve to the other enclosures there are warnings of the wild ‘rangas which may, or may not, appear at any time. After what we’ve seen and learnt we’re not so convinced we want to see a ranga in the wilds. It will probably attack me.

We come across some a civet, some porcupines (they’re pretty tasty) and my new favourite animal – a Bearcat !!! Like a huge black possum, small bear thing it yowls for it’s breakfast and paces in it’s cage. Bearcats. Who would have thought? It’s a bear, it’s a cat, it’s a Bearcat! I want one!

We pass by the sunbears, cause we’ve got some at our local zoo and come across a small copse of trees by the road, handlers are sitting on the platform and up above some juvenile Orangutans !!!!! are swinging in the trees cheekily. Real live Orangutans !! Yay. We watch mesmerised as they swing and jump from branch to branch. They are soooo cute.

Eventually we break the spell of their charm and move to the main enclosure to see the big guys and girls. We peer over the edge and ‘Doris’ is laying on her back putting on a show. She’s staring back at us, equally as intrigued with us as we all are with them. Some other tourists come up the platform and we hear that one of the cheeky young ‘rangas swung himself out over the enthralled crowd and proceeded to piss all over them.

Doris is reaching her arms out to us and crosses here arms in a hugging motion – she wants contact. It’s a real demonstration of their intellect. The big guy ‘Amaan’ who’s been separated in his own enclosure for his own and others safety is sitting out in the sun chewing on some fruit. He is huge, shaggy and completely mesmerising. He lazily swings up his platform and back down with a new piece of fruit. He stares disinterestedly up at us. He’s huge and immensely powerful. I’d hate to run across something like this in the wild.

We watch between Doris, so cute and aware of our peering over the wall, and Amaan, who sits lazily chomping on fruit with complete disdain of our presence.

So cool, so mesmerising, so cute.

We speak to the ranger out the back as we watch poor old ….? Eat and vomit, eat and vomit. He has psychological scars from his prior treatment by humans, cannot be rehabilitated and cannot be released with the other ‘rangas. Poor old guy sits in his big cage all by himself for the rest his days. Speaking to the ranger we discuss the endangered animals and I ask if porcupines are endangered, feeling a little guilty.

"I ate some at the Iban longhouse." I admit shamefully. “Yes they are highly endangered, but I eat them too” he confesses.

Eventually we make our way back to the young ‘rangas still getting a romp in the little forest and one of them spies me, he attacks ! Loping very quickly and threateningly towards me as I try to film, there are no barriers between them and me to offer any protection, I am backing quickly away. He’s only a little guy but I’m taking no chances. He resolves his authority over me and climbs a tree trunk whereupon his handler who has been moving quickly behind to save me from any threat is whacked solidly by this cheeky guy. Apparently this guy is the one who pissed on everyone and is, at a very young age, demonstrating his alpha male tendencies.

Yeh, well he’s just lucky I haven’t brought my knife.

Totally enthralled and our Bornean expedition is successful. Orangutans !

We make our way back with Zul and throw him a few extra Ringgitt as it’s his birthday. (I’m sure he says that to all the tourists.)

We’re done. We’ve seen it, eaten it, been attacked by it and J-she has the obligatory Bako injury.

We make use of our luxurious Pullman pool, it’s got a pool, man! And make our way to Top Spot to feast our successes. We order way too much seafood including some bamboo tube like crustacean from the sea floor. Poo tubes we nickname them. They’re covered in a thick black pepper sauce and have the consistency of a creamy baby poo. Well, not that we’ve ever (knowingly) eaten poo. But we don’t think we’d order them again.

Top Spot is hugely busy on a Friday night and the dishes are mostly slightly overcooked, it’s not fantastic, but it’s fresh, it’s seafood and it’s ridiculously cheap compared to Aus. Everything tastes better with beer and chilli anyway.

Orangutans !!! No Durian. Too much seafood.
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