Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elephant Sanctuary

Taxi drivers in Malaysia tend to have their own side business such as a tour package or daily hire.

We met one taxi driver who gave us very good tips, smart and speaks well which in turn earned our favours. So we hired him for the day.

He had never been to Kuala Gandah before but knew where it was close to. The trip just costed 300 ringgit as well as 4 waiting hour periods of 35 per hour.

Mum decided in the morning that she was too lazy to go and preferred a day of massages and shopping so she stayed behind.

We started with breakfast. Johnson the Taxi driver took us to eat local Malaysian food. Everyone stared at us as we walked in. I ordered a pork meefun soup (thin noodles) and tea.

Then we continued on our merry way. The drive took about 2 hours but Johnson went to fill up first. We learned that old taxis in Malaysia have a dual system of gas and petrol which can be switched on with a button. Gas tends to have less power but is cheaper and more efficient so when those steep hills come along, thats when they use petrol. Or if they are in an area with no gas stations then they resort to petrol. Interesting!

I pretty much sang to crazy 80's songs and slept with my fly-catching mouth open.

"These cucumbers are mine!"


We arrived at Kuala Gandah renowned for their homeless elephant sanctuary. This place takes care of homeless elephants and relocating them to safer areas. They also have some disabled elephants in their residence such as an elephant who lost a leg to a hunter trap or another one who lost its tail to a tiger.

They had two baby elephants. We donated some money and then explored the area. I shook hands (snouts) with the baby elephants. Well one was rolling about like he was drugged which was hilarious!

I read about some facts on elephants then enjoyed a video show of the relocation process. Its hard work trying to move wild elephants!

The resident elephants all came back from their walk. They use tame elephants to calm down the wild ones out in the Jungle. They introduced us to each one, and each one had a special little trick such as spraying water, standing on two legs, playing dead, playing fetch etc. It was endearing!

It was time for the adults to have a bath and then it was feeding time. We had a bag of peanuts and then pieces of fruit. Those elephants are greedy as any other animal, snouts were thrown in every direction to try and grab fruits off me! I was a little scared because they were huge. And you can also feed them straight into their mouths.. their tongues looked so mushy and huge.

I enjoyed an elephant ride (I had a teenager) with a Malaysian local. As we did a round, the elephant handed the local something he caught with his snout. It was this huge bug that was annoying the elephant, I thought it was cute he handed it over to the local LOL. The elephant didn't kill the bug though so the local just let it go and the ugly bug flew away.

She actually flickered her tongue on mine.. but it was too fast to capture!

The time had come for the baby elephants to take a dip, and for us too! We popped into the murky river and scrubbed the babies clean. One of them stood on my toes - which absolutely killed but it instantly knew so lifted straight off to only land on my other feet's toes. That killed again too but it lifted straight off. Now I'm left with a big purple thumb-toe bruise. Oh well, at least its from a mark of an elephant rather than my other one which was from a girl's heel.

Elephants are so dopey. They just kept on swaying side to side unable to stand still and when they are in the water they can't dip in, bob up and down or slide in gently so all you see is "TTTIIIIMMMBEERRRR" as they just slowly collapse into the river.

We moved on to Deerland, however we were a little late and the lady said we couldn't go in. However my awesome local Taxi driver did some awesome persuading and she let us go but told us we couldn't feed the deers. The people inside didn't care that we were passed closing time. He handed us a bowl each and I fed the little deers.

I was calling him a pig for ordering way too much for himself

They are so cute as well! I'm starting to think that I think all animals are dopey. I love animals. The only animals I think are smart on this trip are the monkeys. We fed the deers but had to continuously move spots as the ostrich would come to try and get a feast for itself. THE OSTRICH IS SO SCARY THOUGH! And its taller than me so I was very intimidated. The dude let us into the captivity and the ostrich slowly chased me around, as I tried to feed the baby deers.

We saw other species of deer but weren't allowed to pat/feed them. The Taiwanese deer looks exactly like Bambi which is funny because that's my nickname and I'm half Taiwanese.
Carlos took a photo of this and I shook my head and he was like, "WHAT? It's a cute banana!" and I looked at mum and we both told him that it was a condom..... LOSER

We also saw Chinese chickens, rabbits, turtles, doves and held another beautiful snake named Jessie.

I then got to hold this adorable ferret who didn't even move. It just sat their content in my hands only ever slightly twitching its head. Otherwise I would've just thought it was a plushie because it didn't hesitate or resist at all. I wanted to just pop it under my top and steal the cute thing named Wiki.

We had already missed the Sun bear feeding but it was great to see a Sun bear up close rather than those usual zoo confinements.

The Malaysian jungles are so lush and beautiful, the greenery is definitely such a contrast to the Australian bush or rainforest. We saw heaps of wild cats, dogs, goats and monkeys.
While I was having a massage, Carlos got me this which was skillfully done by a disabled handicraft - I love when disabilities don't disable an individual

It was time to journey home and I slept once again but woke up to the sounds of Celine Dion's classic "My Heart Will Go On" on the radio. We were stuck in traffic when we reached back to Kuala Lumpur but finally got to the hotel, collected my mum and went off to dinner.

We let the taxi driver take us to eat the famous Nasi Lemak dish. We had a Nasi Lemak each then shared a fish head curry, beef rendang and chendol dessert. It was hilarious after we ordered that we received the chendol dessert at the same time as the mains, it started to melt so we asked them to keep it for us until we finished dinner.

Oh by the way, we invited Johnson to eat with us too and he seemed really happy. We even paid so he didn't charge us for the trip from the hotel onwards. After dinner he dropped us off to Bukit Bintang to go look around a shopping mall.

Carlos and I both bought a new G Shock Casio watch to add to my collection. I LOVE IT SO MUCH and it was super duper cheap!

We then went home to pack as our Singapore flight was inthe morning.
Actually, I left out a massive story! I decided on my last night in Malaysia I would go and get a full body massage as it is very cheap. I was so relaxed as the lady used her elbows and knees and crawled all over my fragile body. Whenever she hit a sensitive spot and I would cry out with a yelp she would be like, "OH, I THINK YOU GOT PROBLEM HERE GIRL" and I'm reply with a yes I do... and she just goes hard out on the spot not letting me have any break. It was so painful.

Anyway, I started getting cold sweat and she turned me over to my back and the fan made me feel super cold so I asked her to turn it off (remember we're in the tropics so it was actually 30+ degrees heat so this is strange). Then the turmoil came, my stomach grumbled, I tensed all my lower body muscles and struggled to hold.. The Nasi Lemak came for revenge. I knew it had prawns because I read it on the menu listing but the lady said there was none (I'm allergic to crustaceans). I was trying to hold for about 10 minutes thinking that the massage would be over soon but I couldn't bear it anymore. I told the lady that I needed to go toilet, and jumped off the bed, naked and not caring if she saw or not which was a huge contrast to when I came in and I was so timid and told her not to look at me through the mirror (because I saw her peeking at me).

I ran to the toilet, my head flushed and my stomach in agony. The man finally came out and I pushed him out of the way and released all my stomach contents. That was so embarrassing and when I came out the massage lady yelled out in front of the whole store, "DO YOU FEEL BETTER NOW, GIRL!?"

I felt really bad too though because she thought I hated her massage and I assured her that I wanted to continue but to count my toilet episode in the 1 hour as I had wasted her time. I couldn't stop apologising to her at the end but it was a hilarious travel experience.