Holiday in Malaysia
page four of four
In summer 2008, Tracey, Joshua and I had a holiday in Malaysia as guests of my friends Eamonn and Judy. Here are the diary and photos of a tremendous two weeks.
23 May - 6 June 2006
Thursday 5 June
Our last full day in Malaysia was elephant day. We took a trip out to an elephant sanctuary about 90 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur. We booked it as a coach journey, so were rather surprised to discover it was just the three of us in a car with a driver – Gunna. He convinced us that we should stop at a pewter factory on the way. We were expecting a tour to see how the pewter goods were made but ended up with a hard sell tour of the shop. We succumbed and bought a pewter beer mug, necklace and bracelet, spending much more than we wanted. It was noticeable Gunna nipped back in after we left, no doubt for his cut.
Just outside the elephant sanctuary is an aborigine village. We got conflicting answers as to why there was an aborigine village in Malaysia, so perhaps we will never know. So we just took photos, fired a blowgun and bought souvenirs much, much cheaper than the pewter goods bought earlier.
Once inside the elephant sanctuary, we were shown a film of why it existed in the first place. Cash crops, such as rubber and palm trees, had reduced the rainforest and thus the area available for the elephants to live. The elephants therefore took to invading the plantations in search of food. The plantation owners’ solution was to shoot them, but those more interested in elephant welfare took the lesser of the evils and transported them – not pleasant for the elephants, as the film showed – to either different bits of rainforest or this sanctuary. Money was, however, short and so the money from tourists such as us was helping keep it going.
Joshua had his picture taken with one of the men in the film.
The rest of the afternoon was fun as we got to feed the elephants – though Joshua had great difficulty getting an elephant to accept his piece of watermelon rather than the bananas being offered by others – and then ride an elephant bare backed and swim with them in the river.
We arrived back in Kuala Lumpur exhausted but had to find enough energy to pack ready for our early start the next day for our journey home.
Friday 6 June
We were up at 6am ready to get to the airport in time for a 10am flight. After some last minute shopping at the airport, we boarded the plane ready for the 13 hour return journey. We ended up near the back and there were a few empty seats near us, which let us spread out a bit during the flight and even catch up with a little sleep. Malaysia Airlines had managed to forget the special meal we ordered for Joshua despite the woman at check-in saying it was booked, so he didn’t get much to eat on the flight and even resorted to eating some of the chocolates he’d bought for friends at school.
We arrived at Heathrow in time for the Friday evening rush-hour, a pretty traumatic experience negotiating the tubes with our luggage, especially the change at Green Park, to get to Euston. This was made worse by Tracey’s bad back playing up. We made it though and even had seats and a table on the packed train to Stafford, where Tracey’s son Stephen met us at the station.
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