The Hunt for Pocket Elephants

Trip Start Apr 18, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2012

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Saturday, May 12, 2012

Remember those 100% adorable orangutans from my last post? Well, the pics in this post will be only 10% adorable...and 90% fascinating, but sort of gross.

We left our adorable bungalow in Sepilok a few days ago and took a car ride a few hours further into the jungle to Bilit on the Kinabatangan River. Our fun lodge housed only four guests, and included daily boat rides on the river, with our guide, Rodell, who had a crocodile-hunter like ability to spot wildlife in the jungly trees at the banks. We also trekked in the rainforest (and I escaped leech and kvetch-free).

It turned out that fellow travelers from our Sepilok lodge came with us to Bilit. I've always dreamed of having "travel friends"--on family vacations my brother always made beach volleyball friends while I listened to mix tapes on my walkman, harassed my parents and painted ceramic piggybanks at "kids kamp" alone. So, I've been a bit obsessed and, as I'm sure you can imagine, OVER-TALKATIVE with our new friends, Whitney and Tyler. I'm planning a trip to visit them in Seattle while, I'm guessing, they are planning their escape route.

Anyhoo, we've had loads of fun with out new besties. Highlights for me include (1) seeing orangutans in the wild (even cooler than the rehab center) (b) spotting proboscis monkeys, which have huge noses and look even more Jewish than orangutans and (iii) did I mention our new friends? I didn't get a good pic of the hilarious proboscis monkeys, so here is a link:

Lowlights include the following utterances by our guide: (A) "see the python?!? It's right above your head" and (2) "we just found this tarantula."

Oh and two more comments: (1) when we were on our 18 mile trek/death march in Hsipaw, Kyla commented, "oh! This will be good training for the steps up to our jungle abode in Borneo." There are FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SEVEN STEPS TO OUR BUNGALOW. That's a lot of steps. I was intimidated at first, but I have to admit that it's fabulous to be in such a remote spot, and the views and company are great here. So no complaints... Or at least no complaints that aren't tempered by appreciation of the scenery.

And (2): there are packs of wild pigmy elephants roaming the jungle here. We haven't been able to see any (though we have fastidiously tracked their poo with our guide). I've been envisioning them as Ira Glass, The Dog-sized lap- elephants, so I think that I'd be disappointed to see them in real life. I wanted one that would fit in a bag. Apparently, they are simply slightly smaller versions of regular asian elephants, with much littler ears and trunks.
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Liz on

Seeing those elephants was a major highlight on our trip! We had to pay extra to drive 2 hrs downriver, then we stalked them through grass that was taller than us! I was terrified they'd stampede as they had a baby with them. But even the baby was too big to fit in a bag.

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