Good food, thousands of DVD's

Trip Start Oct 28, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2010

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Where I stayed
May Fair Hotel

Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Monday, November 16, 2009

So after a 20 some odd hour boat ride from the Philippines we arrived in the afternoon in Sandakan.  We were starved so we dumped our bags at the hotel and went hunting for food.  Found a great curry house with a Buffet, exactly what we needed. The food was great and it was so nice to have flavour and spice again after the bland Philippino food. After stuffing our faces and drinking some of the best fresh fruit juice we've had so far we ran back to our hotel,because at this point it had started pouring down rain.  The weather wasn't the best so we borrowed some DVD's from the collection downstairs at our hotel, we're talking thousands of options, and vegged out for the rest of the day.  We'd decided to head to the Sempilok Orangutan sanctuary the next day so we had a quick bite at KFC (I know but it was the only thing open, stores close ridiculously early here) and fell asleep watching movies.  The next day we got up and headed to the local bus station to make our way to Sempilok.  We'd read that they do feedings at 10:30AM and 3:00PM so when we got there around 11ish we thought we'd walk around and check out the park.  Not the case, they only let tourists in about an hour before the feeding so we entertained ourselves by watching the 30min "informative video", ate some lunch and sat and chatted with a guy from the UK we'd met on the bus.  Needless to say when the ticket office opened at 2pm we were the first in line.  We headed down the elevated wooden walkways in the middle of the jungle toward the feeding platforms. All kinds of bugs, birds, monkeys and who knows what else making lots of noises. When we got to the platform which is about 20 feet away from the walkway there were a few monkeys hanging out playing with each other, and themselves.  After about 5min the first Orangutan came swinging into view, she made her way to the platform then proceeded along the ropes toward the walkways where we were all standing taking photos, there were about 10 of us there at that point. She then dropped down onto the walkway, walked past everyone and straight at me!  Now in all information we'd read and the video we'd watched, it stated that you shouldn't touch the animals.  So not knowing what to do I just kind of stood there with my hands at my sides watching her come closer and wondering what was gonna happen next and if this was normal.  She proceeded to take both my hands and climb up onto my hip settling in and giving me a gentle hug.  I was so amazed and unsure at the same time, I didn't get the feeling I was in danger but had no clue what to do.  She just sat there hanging out, everyone was taking photos.  Someone had to tap Erik on the shoulder to let him know what was up, as he was busy taking pictures of the other Orangutans headed in the same way as this one.  After a minute or two she pulled my hood back gave my hair a sniff and licked my head, then climbed down and tried to walk me down the platform with her but I had to let her hand go.  At this point some of the volunteers had made there way to us and after 3 more Orangutans came accross to the platforms the same way, the handlers led them away to another area.  When they came back I asked one of the girls if this was normal.  She said the Orangutan that came to me never comes out too the feeding platform she normally hangs out in an area away from the walkways and that they never come over to the tourists. She also said that I was very lucky to have that experience and that the Orangutans name was Nori and she is 8 years old.  After hearing all that I was so incredibly grateful for such an amazing experience. It was an unbelievable experience in my life to have I felt such love and peace from this gentle soul.  At this point they had started to feed the other Orangutans on the platform and more tourists had made their way in.  Having seen what we did it just wasn't the same watching them from afar so we made our way out to head back to town.
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