April 16, 2018 Monday – Kuching – Batang Ai, Sarawak
The bus leaves at 8AM, so I’m up by 6:20AM and put my bag out and have breakfast at 7AM. These early starts to the day are killing me, but at least the breakfast in our hotel is very nice, and they have cappuccino! Lemon takes over as our guide since Sarawak is his home turf.
Our first stop is the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, which is only about a half hour’s drive south of Kuching. This sanctuary for Orangutans is only open for an hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon. The morning feeding, although crowded with people is very rewarding photographically. The camera angles are better than the wildlife sanctuary in Sabah, and two Orangutan mothers show up with their babies clinging to them. I’m very happy with my photos of these fascinating creatures!
We then spend several hours in the bus – another endurance contest. We stop twice: once for a rest break and a visit to the local market in Serian, and a second stop for lunch at a Chinese-run local restaurant beside the road in Lachau. We all order fried rice and at Lemon’s suggestion, buy some exercise books and pencils as gifts for the Iban villagers we will be visiting tomorrow.
We end up at a jetty on an artificial lake created by a hydro electric dam, and take a launch to the Aiman Batang Ai Resort, which is located across the lake. We are now only 1°24’ north of the Equator. Temperatures are in the high 30s C and the humidity is right up there as well, so everyone is feeling the heat as we get settled into our rooms.