Borneo Gone Wild

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I spent a good bulk of the season in the jungles of Borneo. No, I wasn’t doing a pictorial on “The Hot Jungle Women of Borneo.”  Instead, with the help of Media Kitty – I partook on a 10-day trek through the wilds of malaria country with Terra Incognita’s Ecotour in the Northern Malaysian state of Sabah.

By no means was I planning on infiltrating the world of jungle ecotravel in uncharted territory; not with crocodiles, poisonous viper snakes, and wild elephants present. I needed to trust my experienced Terra Incognita guides because I didn’t know if I would encounter the mythical headhunters of Borneo, a prehistoric bird the size of a house, or 37 species of moss. (The prospect of a wide-variety of moss was what freaked me out the most.)

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I was thrilled at the prospect of a life changing experience with sensory overload deep in a jungle adventure that would make Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull look like a complete load of crappy fiction. (Can you really believe that was the long-awaited Steven Spielberg sequel they went with?)

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No need for modern technology when I had the Discovery Channel right before my eyes. Chucking away my cell phone, I wanted to see life through fresh eyes in one of the most remote regions in the world where trees full of monkeys are simply a common day occurrence.

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Meanwhile, a herd of 50 wild elephants crossing a river in front of our boat played out like it were the most ordinary thing in the world.  Let me say that again: 50 flippin’ wild elephants crossing a river in front of our boat!

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Adapting my best Martin Sheen look, we journeyed up river into the heart of darkness. (That being the Kinabatangan River.) But instead of trying to locate the last outpost of a renegade Colonel Kurtz (portrayed by an overweight Marlon Brando), we instead found…

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Orangutans!

A big selling point of the Terra Incognita tour is special access to Red Ape Encounters, which is a orangutan wilderness conservatory on the lower Kinabatangan river where only 300 people each year are invited onto the land to observe one of man’s closest, red-haired cousins. (Did you know that orangutans are 96% human?)

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Disregarding leeches, our group of intrepid explorers ran through the jungle like little, excited kids as we followed a mother orangutan and her baby as they traversed across the top of trees.

And this is what it looked like from the orangutan’s point of view:

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“Funny little people and their peculiar habits,” the orangutans must have thought with their 96% human brains. With a true sense of adventure and discovery, Terra Incognita provides amazing ecotours around the globe: from Rwanda to New Zealand.

Their philosophy is to make a difference to the places they visit, with a pledge to engage in responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the well-being of local people.

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I also tried to make a change in people’s lives. The reason this happy family is waving at me: I’m doing some awesome air-guitaring on our boat

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