Monday, October 24, 2011

The Place with Orangutans and a Scantily Clad Woman

One weekend, we decided to take our first road trip to Tai Ping on the mainland, about a 90 minute drive from Penang. "What are we going to do there?" asked the kids.

"You know. We'll all get out keyboards and typewriters and type," I replied. Hilarious, right? I bet you're laughing as much as the kids were. Which is to say, not much at all.

Our first stop was the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. It was a long holiday weekend celebrating Malaysia Day which commemorates the formation of the Malaysia Federation in 1963. So, the local tourists were out in droves, and Andrew was pretty much the only white person I saw all weekend.

The kids can barely contain their excitement. Or not.

The 3-acre Eco Park was small and contained a few native Southeast Asian animals. This way, I can accurately tell the doctor what bit me if I encounter the animal in the wild.


Next, we dragged the kids on the Skycycle much against their wills. "It will be fun!" I kept insisting. "We're hot," they kept repeating. Perhaps embarking on this journey after a morning of baseball games and birthday parties wasn't the best idea.

When I originally read about the Skycyle, I assumed it would be pedaled by foot. Silly me. It turns out that 200 meters feels like a long way to hand pedal, especially the uphill parts.

After that, we visited Orangutan Island which is actually the whole reason why I wanted to come here. I first heard about it from an Australian tourist, and it immediately landed on my Malaysian Bucket List. Did you know that "orangutan" is a Malaysian word? It's a portmanteau of "orang" (man) and "hutan" (forest) meaning "man of the forest." We boarded a small boat to make our way across the lake to the island. Once we arrived, we were ushered across a bridge into a caged tunnel. Unlike a typical zoo where the animals are in cages, and the humans wander around, the situation was reversed on this island.

The highlight of the island is the Orangutan Nursery. They care for babies who are suffering from maternal neglect or an illness. With the diapers and the cribs, it seemed very much like a human nursery. Imagine what it would be like if your baby could swing around and use their feet and tails for gripping things. What's the babyproofing in there like?

So very sweet! I think my kids were having fun at this point.

After leaving Bukit Merah, we headed towards Tai Ping for our hotel and a visit to the Night Zoo. Due to an overly long dinner and the 2 busloads of tourists that arrived just before us, we weren't able to board the Night Zoo tram until 10 p.m.

Kernel Corn is a BIG snack food in Malaysia. It's even an ice cream topping.

By this time, I think we were all rather tired. I actually fell asleep. This is what it must be like to be a toddler napping in her stroller. I'd momentarily wake up, look around and see an alligator or porcupine or whatever and then fall back asleep.

Okay, I know this picture isn't very good, but it represents my brain fog at the time.

The next day, we returned to Bukit Merah to enjoy their waterpark and chairlift. At first, I declared that chairlifts were useless if one didn't have skis strapped to their feet and snow on the ground, but the kids kept begging. After I caved and rode it, I'll admit that it's actually a pleasant way to see the sights. This was probably the best part of the trip for my younguns.

The waterpark was small but had enough activities to entertain us for a few hours. The kids seemed to enjoy the Giant Wet Bubble which was an inflated 20-foot-high bouncy dome with a water mushroom on top. The most memorable part for me is that I was the one and only woman in a bathing suit. The crowd was predominantly Muslim, so all those women had on headscarves, shirts that reached down to their wrists and pants that went down to their ankles. No, there were no burkas since I imagine that would be rather hard to manage in a waterpark. There were a few Chinese women wearing shorts and T-shirts. And then there was me as the most scantily clad woman around. Me in my Lands End one-piece that I selected because I thought a small child could hang off the front and still not reveal anything was the one showing the most skin. Fortunately, no one seemed to be gawking at me or else I would have been even more self conscious. Note that there is not an accompanying picture for this part of the story.

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  1. It looks like you and the family had a great time. I cannot believe you were the only female in a swimsuit!

  2. Lyn - A Hole in my ShoeSeptember 18, 2016 at 12:32 AM

    I love the pic of the nursery, such a gorgeous moment you captured. We have only been to Malaysia and Penang one but did not see the Eco park. Thank you for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. What a great day trip to visit from one of my favourite family holiday destinaitons Penang.
    Thanks for joining in #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. I guess it must be fun visiting an Orangutan nursery, but I have to agree with your kids, I wouldn't like to do anything it's hot and humid

  5. Great title for your post. I like orang-utans but not a fan of the humidity.

  6. Love those orangutans!

  7. I, too, am often the person in my family saying "no, really, it will be fun!" And then "See, this fun!....Right?" it's nice when it works, and they don't let me forget when it doesn't.


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