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Summer 2007 - Malaysia VII

I wish it sucked fat; then it could be helping me too

-17 °C
View Summer Vacation 2007 on agc_cwm's travel map.

We got up at around 7:00 and showered in preparation for the day ahead. We ate some breakfast and then waited for the laundry to return. It ended up costing us RM77 (CDN$20) for the lot; excessive, but it was necessary. After packing our bags, we went downstairs to wait for the transfer to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. A van came, the hotel staff told us our drive arrived and we got in the van and were off. Or so we thought. Our driver started talking about Danum Valley (another wildlife area about 2.5 hours west of town), and I know there was a problem. Andrew wasn't convinced until we asked some people we picked up at another hotel. We then asked the driver to take us back to our hotel, and he also made a phone call to make sure that the right people were coming to get us. The other van arrived within a few minutes of our return, and we were off again, this time to the right place.

We drove to the reserve with a Spanish couple and an American girl who could have been their daughter. So we chatted for a few minutes before we just quietly watched the scenery. The drive in to the reserve was about an hour and twenty minutes, driving through plantation after plantation on dirt roads. It would have been shorter if we didn't have to stop every eight minutes for the family to get out and take photos. Meh.

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We arrived at the hotel to lovely drinks and some forms to fill out. Then Eddie, the manager, gave us the introduction talk about the resort, and how we have to keep our doors locked at all times unless we want to host a monkey party in our room (and if you're familiar with our past with monkeys, you know that is not our idea of a good time). This was followed by an itinerary briefing from our guide Jodi. We then ate lunch and went off to prepare for the first activity. our cabin was quite nice. We were up on a hill overlooking a river. There were trees all around, which I really liked. There were also monkeys in those trees, which made me like the trees a little less. We saw quite a few macaques on our first day at Tabin.

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Our first activity was a hike to a mud volcano, where animals (deer, elephants, and pigs) come to drink the minerals. Those minerals are also thought to be good for your complexion. We drove out to the start of the trail in the back of a truck, and hiked 700m in to the site. We passed tagged trees, and lots of footprints left behind by elephant and wild boar.

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We also saw some ficus trees and medicinal ginger plants. The trail was only a little muddy. When we arrived we were told to be quiet in hopes of seeing some animals (the group the previous day had seen some elephants). Unfortunately the other folks in our group weren't interested in being quiet, which frustrated me quite a bit. We did see some rhinoceros hornbills and pigtailed macaques, but no elephants.

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Our guide started calling some birds, which was pretty cool too. At one point, our guide said "look, hornbills!"; they turned out to be pigeons, and I told him I was going to take his job. We all had a good laugh about that, then went down to the mud volcano to have a closer look.

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By this time is was starting to get dark, and we decided to hike back on a different 2.1km path. The cicadas were starting to call (there are 2 types, with different calls). On the way we passed lots more ficus trees and vines. As we were walking, Andrew discovered a leech on his stomach, and flicked it off before it could bite him. He told me about it and I then checked myself over and found one crawling up my leg and one going to town on my stomach. I was really relaxed about the whole thing, I thought, having been mentally preparing for this moment for months. One of the people in our group had some insect repellent, and we sprayed that on her and she let go. It bled like you wouldn't believe though; if only it sucked fat. I think I earned some jungle credibility with our guide for not freaking out.

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When we got back, Andrew showered and we ate dinner before heading out on a night drive. It was pretty cool; we all sat in the back of the truck, and our guide used a spotlight to find animals. We saw two mouse deer, two slow lorises, a flying squirrel, a wild boar and its five piglets, a common palm civet, and another hornbill. Believe me, it was really nice (although I have no photos to show for it). When we arrived back we were both pretty tired so I showered and we went to bed early.

PS Videos will be coming soon; night-vision even!

Posted by agc_cwm 05:56 Archived in Malaysia

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