Friday 22 July 2011

My Wonderful Tangkahan - Prelude 1

Now that the scene is set by the previous blog update, let's move on to the actual diary snippets. So there we were, starting our journeys from our homes in Germany and Ipswich to meet at London Heathrow.

I arrived early and the sensible thing to kill some time is with muffin and cappuccino. And then eventually, the trip felt real: Mum arrived!

We killed some more time together, so much to talk about, checked in our luggage, and then boarded the flight to Munich which should deliver us to an aircraft with nice and cosy business seats which had our names on them. So far so simple, so far so Heathrow... delayed by thunder, delayed by sick passenger, delayed by paramedics not arriving, delayed by paramedics not knowing what to do... there the nice and cosy business seats had lift off without us.

Arriving in Munich we moved into a good hotel and got re-booked to ... Singapore Airlines!... woohooo!

I can tell you, one day less Singapore yet travelling Singapore Airlines instead was worth it. Half of the time it was raining in Singapore anyway, Sentosa Island was a bit of a disappointment and a rip off as mum knew it from some years back mainly for a lovely place with butterflies and beaches, whereas now it basically is a kind of Disney World, and shopping was out of the question as we were overloaded anyway. 

So we were glad to move on to Medan the next day. Not that it was nicer there, in contrary, but it brought us closer to the actual adventure.
Medan, a vast area of houses, rich, poor, markets, dusty, hot, and hellish traffic ...

The Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan is the best hotel in town and the place where one wants to stay. For taxis look for the blue ones, but even then be very vigilant and better get the tour operator or a hotel to pick you up, 50.000 IR is not cheap but a fair price. There is a modern mall accessible from the hotel with fantastic restaurants and coffee places so no need to go out into the hellish atmosphere of the city without a guide.

We had arrived a day early for contingency and to kill the additional time we had booked a trip to the centre of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. We got lucky that Ian Singleton the director of the program (and scientific advisor of Orangutan Land Trust, my main charity) was available to show us round. First stop was the botanic gardens, the latest part of the project where an education centre is to be established on a grand scale: This will be conservation live and close-up. I am hoping to be able to go back in a few years time and to see what he has achieved.

Education garden on a larger scale
First impressions of jungle greeneries...

... and the respective creepies.
 ... and tomorrow I will tell you about the orangutans at the SOCP.

Little fella in  quarantine... and he is one of the lucky ones!

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