A Visit To Orangutan Island, Bukit Merah, Malaysia - The Video That Made My Visit Worth It

Last weekend I visited this lovely place called Orangutan Island, up north of Kuala Lumpur.

I had my heart set on going here from when I was here last time and didn't have time to visit. It's quite far...I took a public bus 5 hours north, spent the night there in Penang, then had a private driver take me an hour back south to get to Bukit Merah. It was quite the journey to get here...but worth it I think. Plus it got me away from my work laptop all weekend, which I really needed.

The orangutans live somewhat free. They have about an acre per animal (so they claim) and the animals are being raised to be set free someday on a smaller island nearby that the organization owns (so they claim). I was told there is never any contact between the orangs and staff. Ever. Even with the babies, if the humans have to do medical tests or whatnot, they do so after knocking the orangs out first. They want no human-animal contact, right....cause that wouldn't be natural for a wild animal, now would it? The tourists walk through a long cage, filled with some amazing flora and fauna. The orangutans are beyond the human cage, with about a 3 foot space, then an electric fence between us.

I learned a LOT about these animals. But sometimes people tell you one thing, and then you witness another and then you have to doubt everything they say. Such is life, eh?

I don't have the pictures uploaded from my camera yet...but this video captures the highlight of my trip. Excuse my giddy school-girl laughter.

Every Office Needs a Pet!

After a long week, I am off to relax!

One of the best ways to explore a new city is by public transportation and so I bought a bus ticket to take me almost five hours north of Kuala Lumpur to go exploring.
When I came to KL in July, I stayed in the city on my one free weekend. And then I learned of an orangutan sanctuary up north of the city. I love me some monkeys!

Yesterday, while training, I nearly overturned the table when I saw a monkey crawling by inside the rafters of our building. It was by far the best moment at work. Maybe of my entire career. Monkeys do NOT just come walking by.
This was my view before almost knocking over the cobference table, right after I screamed MONKEY!

I had to go follow him...and he was perched here, waiting for the photo opp.

And then he made a hideously mean face and ran towards us...this is the pic as I was screaming and running away.


All he wanted was to check out the bag of potential monkey goodies.

Cute, but fierce!

Doin what monkeys do- mischievous little monkey!



On The Road Again - My Return to Malaysia

Back in Kuala Lumpur - land of humidity and heat.

I'm a bit of a zombie at present, but in another 90 minutes I will be starting a week-long training as the only presenter. Luckily, I'm only training three people-yay. In three weeks, I'll be in Thailand presenting to around 18 people, but will have my manager there to assist.

My journey here was fairly horrible only because of my non-stop interrupted sleep pattern. Somehow, I was lucky enough to have a row of two seats together for the first leg of the flight-an eleven hour journey. You can't really lay down much with just two seats, but you can really twist and turn and move around a lot, which makes 11 hours of sitting much more comfortable. I don't know why I didn't sleep well, just didn't. But I did watch three movies, two of which I would highly recommend. One of which I actually remember the name of: The East. Go watch it, it's good!

I had a 2 hr layover in my least favorite airport-Narita. It's just dirty, there's almost NOTHING there and it's uncomfortable. Did I mention dirty? And the toilet stalls are soooo tiny so getting into a stall with your roll-on luggage is literally a climbing adventure. The only food place in the vast part of the airport I saw was McDonalds. And there were huge lines there the entire time.

I asked the gate attendee if I had an empty seat next to me and he said, no, sorry, it's a very full flight, very few empty seats. And then I overheard many other people asking as well. There were quite a number of groups of people flying together and they ended up spread out all over the plane. So it was quite the surprise when we got on and they told us the doors were closing and I found myself with an entire row of three seats to myself. As did the guy in front of me. And the woman in the aisle next to me. I would say the plane was probably only about 65% full, to the puzzlement of all of us. I blame the Narita airport for the confusion...cause I strongly dislike that airport and anything bad that happens can be blamed on that place.

And from there - I was off on a six hour bumpy flight (thank you anxiety pills for helping me through that one) to Singapore. I was able to completely lay down in my three seats, but then my stomach was upset (probably due to being at Narita for two hours) and I didn't sleep well.

Landing at Singapore at 1am, I had a layover of 6 wonderful morning hours. I got quite a bit of work done, did quite a bit of walking, and just hung out for much too long. And then when it was time to go through security at the gate, my 4th trip through security in 20 hours mind you, they told me that my boarding pass was not acceptable and I had to go to the transfer desk. I debated a bit about it with the security folk, holding up the line, and they insisted I trek half a mile through the now-busy terminal to get a new boarding pass. Which I did...and found that my boarding pass was fine....but unfortunately, my baggage ticket wasn't transferred over to this new airline and it wasn't going to be on my flight. Sigh. Awesome.

Trek back to the gate and the lady who sent me off on the hike across the terminal waves me to the front of the line, where I explain that the Transfer desk told me that my ticket was fine. Her response - okay, please come through. Ugh...somehow this must be Narita's fault.

Typically, to win the fight against jet lag, the best thing to do is to force yourself to stay awake NO MATTER WHAT the first day you arrive so that you are on the right time schedule. I just couldn't keep my eyes open though, so I laid down with my alarm set for a 2 hour nap. A 2-hour nap will be just perfect, right? And then I had a great sleep. For eight hours. I missed dinner time, I missed time to adjust to the time zone, I missed an entire weekend due to flying. Thanks for nothing Narita!!!

This morning I will be training my team here in Malaysia and hopefully coherent words come out of my mouth. I have been awake since 3am, having a nice conversation with the love of my life, young Andrew.

I'm pretty confident that I can get back on a good sleeping schedule by just not coming back to the hotel until 8pm. So I'm going to get a massage immediately after work (not a laying down one, just a foot and shoulders one), will do a little touristy shopping, and then have a nice working dinner at a local restaurant.

Did I mention how heavy my eyelids are? Maybe the altitude is higher here..my lids are HEAVY!!

Here's some photo from my trek so far:
The Singapore airport is mammoth. It has these wonderful signs that tell you how far you're going to have to go though - genius!


I've seen these foot massage things all over, but never stopped at them before as I didn't ever want to dig for change to put in the machine...but they are FREE!!! I spent quite a bit of time right here in this chair.
 
The rules around using the chair (note that some of the words are cut off). I was really trying to capture the rule that you shouldn't get your feet and legs massaged while menstruating.
 

In the bathroom in Singapore - you can trap your baby in this thing on the wall so you can do your stuff while that child is trapped. Genius!
In every bathroom in Singapore, this is on the wall as you walk out. You just select an emoticon. I appreciate that they say the screen is sanitized regularly. I actually saw them sanitize it so I believe it must be true!
This was my home for about 5 hours in Singapore. Note all the hoards of people waiting with me. Not a popular location at 1am apparently. 



This was on my last flight - I slept for most it but every time I opened my eyes, I saw these knife patterns on the chair in front of me. KNIVES ON A PLANE!!!  (Or maybe they are meant to be seagulls??)

Sometimes Life is Random...And Most Times This Blog is Too.

So much going on lately! And I am leaving the country much too soon to head back to Asia. Yikes. The cats have been a bit clingy since I pulled out the big suitcase. I miss them already....but luckily, I have some great friends who are checking in on them.
 
I found that my camera has this option of letting me take a self portrait of myself while taking a picture of something else. And I pop in like a little postage stamp, as if I'm proving that I am in a particular location? I don't know why I would want a postage stamp of my face on a picture I'm taking...but it's available if I need it, I guess.

 
A few weeks ago, I took my foster girl to the local pet shelter (the one where Andrew and I fostered kittens a year ago), and we literally spent two hours there playing with all the babies.

This is why we should all spay and neuter our pets:

Seriously - please spay and neuter your pet!!!
 Andrew and I babysat a young relative before he left at end of summer. Battles were had.


This bucket of Star Wars toys comes in handy! It contains toys that are up to 15 years old.




This last weekend, there was another wonderful local kids fair that my foster girl and I went to, standard kid fest things - rock climbing wall, games and prizes, hot dogs (ew)...and then there was a man making balloon animals. But it wasn't your run of the mill stuff, this man could make ANYTHING. He was the most amazing balloon shaper I've ever seen in my entire life!!

She wanted a purple cat, he produced this cartoon style cat with it's tongue sticking out. She was thrilled with it. I wasn't as thrilled because she spent quite a bit of time having the cat lick me-which meant this rubbery-balloon material repeatedly rubbing against my skin. And I learned that I dislike the feel of balloons against my skin.

A Walk In The Woods of Beautiful Oregon

I don't often get a chance to hang out with just my girl friends as a group, so we planned a little hike and lunch on Labor Day (which was ages ago). I thought I picked a nice flat 1.5-2 mile route to walk, but immediately upon leaving the parking lot, we just kept ending up going down down down hill. It was worth it though because we came across a nice spot on the water that none of us knew about. It was a really beautiful day and we got a fair amount of exercise, including the unexpected hills, and then we had a yummy lunch together, just chatting about girl stuff.  We really must try to do this more frequently. I think we underestimate the value of same-gender friends. Especially when you're single, it's easy to feel more comfortable around men who sometimes inadvertently flatter you, and there's no unintended jealous feelings that come up when there are no girls around, and men are fun in some ways that women aren't...but having female friends is so important! We are all going to try to value them more and get together more in the future.
 
Here's some pictures from our hike in the beautiful Mary S. Young Park nearby.
 
 
Walking through the woods....random fire hydrant right in the middle of the trail! I've never been in the woods and come across this before.
 
 
Clearly it must be for animals to lift a leg on?


Our amazing river view!


Taking a break in the woods, halfway back up the hill.

There was this really short STEEP trail nearby and young Natalie thought it would be a good idea to challenge herself to run up it. It really was much steeper than this photo portrays.



It was so steep that she couldn't come back down it...so she just kept blazing a trail through the forest and looped back around to find us.

Our scenic rest stop.

Young Andrew - On The Move

I'm a wee bit behind on noting some significant life changes happening lately.
 
Young Andrew was home for the summer, but really I think I only saw him about 60 minutes in 3 months. And he was asleep for 50 of them. Such is life. You create life, grow a human, they absorb your heart and then they leave you.
 
Luckily he left me to go learn how to be a successful businessman so that he can provide for me in my elder years (in about 2 decades).
 
I miss his face already.
 



After I requested a kiss....

Maybe the wind was strong that day...

He seems to have gotten blown back in the yard...

Luckily he is strong and fought the wind.


Me and my baby.
 



He has my heart.


Off to college!!!  Driven by his cousin and her wee one.

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