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Last Night In Kuching

On the way home.

Sara and I parted in Pontianac this morning and tonight is my last night in Malaysia. Sara is on her way back to IAR to resume her radiographer's job!


Note the high tec developing tanks and super custom made film hanger! Maybe in touch with Vet Direct again Bayan!

Sara had just got back from Solo and was so pleased that she had been able to meet the COP team and hand over the equipment and to see the set up at Solo Zoo..

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COP's Ape Warrior in front of the new clinic under construction at Solo zoo.

COP could not wait to open everything at the hotel and Sara said it was a bit like Christmas. Imam was delighted and told Sara that in his wildest dreams he had not expected to be able to acquire a microscope and had felt guilty even asking for it. All the items will be taken to Samarinda where they will be used for routine treatments of the orangutan and other animals in the zoo and to be available for new rescues. Hardi, Imam and COP have expressed their extreme gratitude for the generosity of everyone.

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Hardi (CEO of COP) and Imam (vet)


Never realised a microscope was so exciting!

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Its Christmas!


Imam..... Thank you Vet Direct!

P.S. My faith in Sara the Rottweiler was well placed because the other instruments inventoried and handed to officials re-appeared and are being kept safe for Dr Debby until the new clinic is modified and completed .....Phew.

There was time for a last swim in the pool at the Basaga this afternoon before exploring the waterfront. I was determined not to spend my last night eating in the hotel- whilst the Basaga is pleasant, hotel meals are spent with other less adventurous guests and are always more expensive and less authentic than the local cuisine. The receptionist assured me that I simply turned left outside the hotel and carried straight on to reach the waterfront but my Logisthicks sense kicked in and I seemed to remember that we had approached from that direction from the airport 7km away! I turned right and 25 minutes later was on the riverside. The walkway along the river is pleasant and peppered with local musicians and the early evening was cool as families promenaded along.

I took a little wooden boat across to the other side of the river for 5p and ate with local people at hawkers stalls.


Not quite The Ledbury in Notting Hill!

Rice with peppered chicken washed down with fresh watermelon juice set me back just £1.50! and hardly a tourist in sight.....until I caught the little boat back!

I had noticed an obviously American couple previously and had avoided the overfriendly USA ‘oh look another white person, we should speak’ look that he had directed at me but now they were clambouring into the boat behind me. ( I guess that sounds a bit pompous and sterotypical but we can all spot an American as easily as we can spot the British tourist on holiday with his sandals and short dark socks on!! ) He loudly and sycophantically commented on how great a fellow Indonesian passenger’s ‘pants’ looked and the chap embarrassed, responded. Having served a long ball just inside the baseline...15 love... Mr USA realised the rally was on and launched into a drawling discourse, “I’m Ray, I’m from the USA and this here lady is with me – she is travelling with me because she likes me” he proclaimed loudly to all and sundry. I felt like shouting ‘Fault’ and ‘you cannot be seeerious!’ but kept quiet. I didn’t even feel sorry for the unfortunate woman; I had sussed that he was a complete imbecile in 10 seconds – if she hadnt and had decided to travel with him she deserved to be with the condescending American idiot.

I jumped off the boat pressed my 50cents into the boatman’s hand and legged it while Ray was still mouthing off and forgetting to pay.

As I walked along and dusk was falling I heard some lilting music in the distance. Around the corner I came across a traditional Sumatran musician playing a Sape, with a muscular physique and authentic body tattoos he was in traditional dress with leather bands around biceps and calves; his incredible serene and handsome face was shielded from evening sun by a cut off and decorated straw hat. I recognised the music he was playing as that which provides the soundtrack on the COP video I sometimes use in talks and which highlights the plight of disappearing rainforest and orangutan. I sat and listened for half an hour as darkness descended and the music carried across the water. I don’t know whether it was the sound of the sape, his serenity or the connection with the destruction of his homeland and wildlife but it was so moving that it brought me to tears and made a fitting end to my visit.

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Maybe the diet at Solo zoo needs adjusting slightly!

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