Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Final Day on the River in Kalimantan

Early next morning, the boat was situated north-south so the sun rise photo with the sun reflected in the water was not a possibility. However, I was there to capture the first boat disturbing the still of the river.
We spent the day on the river and this turned out to be the best day to see the Orangutans up close. Saving the Orangutans is big business in Indonesia as witness by the billboard we saw as we walked from our plane to the terminal.
I found an interesting article on the Internet about the efforts to save the Orangutans in Borneo.
The Orangutan is the most introverted and antisocial of the great apes. They are solitary animals, spending most of their lives on their own. Even if a group assembles in a well-stocked fruit tree, they take very little notice of each other. Only the young enjoy playing with each other and indulging in mock fights. The males seek females only when they want to mate and play no part in the upbringing of the young or in family life.

They build nests, the only primate to do so, in high trees. The cutting of high trees taking place in most of Borneo is one of the greatest threats to the orangutans.

They are highly intelligent, resourceful animals, capable of amazing feats of memory and learning. In the wild, they can remember the exact location and fruiting seasons of a whole range of trees.

Orangutans have 96% of the same DNA as humans so they are a distant cousin to humans. Chimpanzees have 98%, so they are our closest relatives.
This orangutan has a small watermelon in his hand.
This one is sitting on a platform that the rangers use to deposit fruit. He had a large piece of cloth the size of a shirt which he then placed over his head as if to provide himself with some privacy. He anchored here for 15 minutes, and when he didn’t move, we moved on.
We visited another Dayak village where we anticipated being treated to some young girls dancing. When we docked, the dance troupe was not ready for us to we toured the village until they were. It was very hot and walked very slowly.
And I have added another item to my list of things that are changing the world, satellite dishes. There were several to be seen as we walked through a village containing about 30 houses and a school house and playground. The photo shows what are called “long houses”. They house an entire family. They are far enough from the water that they are not built on stilts.
I must say the dancing girls turning out to be a disappointment. They moved in a circle moving their arms and hands while their feet went, step, together, step-spin 180, together over and over again. And that all time the over-amped, distorted, repetitious music was blasting away.
It was a relief to then enjoy some coconut milk that was provided for us.
There was one girl a little older than the dancers who was a real beauty and when I asked to take her picture, she went into a flirtatious pose.
We moved away from the dock and anchored for the night on the river. The early next morning we ate breakfast as usual. The ex-pats always seemed to have a great liking for toast and on of them in particular usually had 3-4 slices. It reminded me that every breakfast table in the U.K. has a toast holder on the table. The meals on board were always excellent and we were reminded how good fresh eggs tasted. We traveled for 15 minutes at the previous dock at Tangkiling and again forded the plank to a van that drove us back to Pelangkaraya.

The van stopped at a small market area where the 8 of us found some real bargains. I bought a Borneo t-shirt for $2. Judith found an ornate used (which was desired) baby carrier that the mother straps on her back to carry her small baby. In Jakarta, it would have cost 4 times the amount.

The ex-pats were driven to the airport and we were driven to a new hotel, the Rungan Sari, 45 minutes away and enjoyed some food sitting around a swimming pool. The next morning we flew to Jakarta, then to Bali where we spend 4 nights at our favorite hotel, the Laguna in Nusa Dua.

1 comment:

GETkristiLOVE said...

That orangutan with the watermelon is an awesome photo.