Jul. 22nd, 2006

gemfyre: (doe a deer)
I have come to the conclusion – I hate rainforest birding. I hear all these calls I can’t identify, and when I do see a bird it’s a bad look at a drab brown jobbie. The light here is also terrible, all haze, glare and shadow. Hopefully some of the prettier birds turn up in Borneo. The ones here I note the features of and find nothing to match in the book.

So today we went to visit the elephants at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sancturary, but it’s a long drive out and we saw a lot of the countryside on the way. You’ll never go hungry in Malaysia, everywhere along the roads are some stalls selling snacks and fruits and sweets. It’s what Australia needs – bags of fruit instead of bags of chips.

Because we actually got near the sanctuary early, Saiboo our taximan/tourguide took us to a place called Deerland, which is pretty much the hobby farm of a few guys. They had deer which we could feed (really healthy white bread). Sun bears which we could actually touch, which admittedly was pretty cool. A baby one busy drinking from a bottle and an adult which licked the honey/syrup stuff off your hand. You’d never be able to do that in Australia. And it only cost 10RM to get into the place (about $4 AuD). They also had cute little mouse deer, which we also fed ultra-healthy white bread. One wonders how any captive animal here thrives.


Daddy sun bear

Feeding a sun bear. His claws may have been huge but he was just happy to lick my hand.
Daddy sun bear



Then it was off to the elephants. First we were shown a video about the capture and relocation of pest elephants. Then it was half an hour to kill so I went for a wander and got bad looks at various birds which I can’t positively ID. Also saw a few squirrels – must find out the species.

Stood around for a bit watching the elephants get bathed then got to feed them. Again, in Australia you require months of training to go near the zoo elephants, and here any Joe off the street can come and feed them. Even the staff wear sandals as opposed to steel-capped boots. Next up was an elephant ride, just a short circuit but enough to feel what it was like to ride one bareback, and now I can say I’ve ridden an elephant.

Then was the best part. Riding an elephant briefly in the river, before the elephant lays down and throws you off into the water. Then you can scrub the baby elephants and the adult. Pretty cool.


Elephant bath Elephant bath

The big elephant being fawned upon. That's me leaning over in the black shirt.



On the way home we stopped off for some more bananas and I had an opportunity to try durian. It is not the manna of heaven to my nasal passages or tastebuds. It does ring of something I’ve eaten before but yeah, pretty gross.

This evening we went shopping again. Mum bought stuff for people, I couldn’t find the necklace I was considering buying (I saw it yesterday) and couldn’t fit into the gorgeous Chinese style dresses, so I save my money.

More photos from Day 4 can be found here - http://pics.livejournal.com/gemfyre/gallery/0000q9ws
gemfyre: (doe a deer)
I have come to the conclusion – I hate rainforest birding. I hear all these calls I can’t identify, and when I do see a bird it’s a bad look at a drab brown jobbie. The light here is also terrible, all haze, glare and shadow. Hopefully some of the prettier birds turn up in Borneo. The ones here I note the features of and find nothing to match in the book.

So today we went to visit the elephants at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sancturary, but it’s a long drive out and we saw a lot of the countryside on the way. You’ll never go hungry in Malaysia, everywhere along the roads are some stalls selling snacks and fruits and sweets. It’s what Australia needs – bags of fruit instead of bags of chips.

Because we actually got near the sanctuary early, Saiboo our taximan/tourguide took us to a place called Deerland, which is pretty much the hobby farm of a few guys. They had deer which we could feed (really healthy white bread). Sun bears which we could actually touch, which admittedly was pretty cool. A baby one busy drinking from a bottle and an adult which licked the honey/syrup stuff off your hand. You’d never be able to do that in Australia. And it only cost 10RM to get into the place (about $4 AuD). They also had cute little mouse deer, which we also fed ultra-healthy white bread. One wonders how any captive animal here thrives.


Daddy sun bear

Feeding a sun bear. His claws may have been huge but he was just happy to lick my hand.
Daddy sun bear



Then it was off to the elephants. First we were shown a video about the capture and relocation of pest elephants. Then it was half an hour to kill so I went for a wander and got bad looks at various birds which I can’t positively ID. Also saw a few squirrels – must find out the species.

Stood around for a bit watching the elephants get bathed then got to feed them. Again, in Australia you require months of training to go near the zoo elephants, and here any Joe off the street can come and feed them. Even the staff wear sandals as opposed to steel-capped boots. Next up was an elephant ride, just a short circuit but enough to feel what it was like to ride one bareback, and now I can say I’ve ridden an elephant.

Then was the best part. Riding an elephant briefly in the river, before the elephant lays down and throws you off into the water. Then you can scrub the baby elephants and the adult. Pretty cool.


Elephant bath Elephant bath

The big elephant being fawned upon. That's me leaning over in the black shirt.



On the way home we stopped off for some more bananas and I had an opportunity to try durian. It is not the manna of heaven to my nasal passages or tastebuds. It does ring of something I’ve eaten before but yeah, pretty gross.

This evening we went shopping again. Mum bought stuff for people, I couldn’t find the necklace I was considering buying (I saw it yesterday) and couldn’t fit into the gorgeous Chinese style dresses, so I save my money.

More photos from Day 4 can be found here - http://pics.livejournal.com/gemfyre/gallery/0000q9ws

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