Saturday, February 02, 2008

Trip to Kota Kinabalu 2008 - Day 2

Day 2 in Karambunai was a bit more happening. We decided to make a trip to the Tuaran Crocodile Farm. It's about 35k from city center but from our resort, it was much nearer. After getting some directions from a very friendly security guard, we made it to the farm around 10am. After buying tickets (RM10 for adults and RM5 for children aged 4 and above), we were told that there was to be a crocodile feeding session at 10.30am and a live show at 11.00am. Cantik punya timing!

As you enter into the farm, the first thing you'll see are some very interesting crocodiles posing. No fear for these crocs are not real, or maybe they were real stuffed crocs. Whatever, they make for very interesting photo sessions. Dina was a bit apprehensive at first but after a while she warmed up to the crocs and had fun posing and hugging them.

There were also some fish ponds with thousands of fish in them. These fish were very hungry, ravenous to be exact. We bough a bag of fish feed and fed the fish, enticing shrieks of laughter from the girls as the fish fought and pushed each other for the food. I'm going to try to post a video we took of the fish, to illustrate what I mean. Hopefully it works.

For the croc feeding, we were made our way to one of the pens nearby. There must have been at least 30 crocs in there, some nearly 4 meters long!! All of them looked really ganas and I held the girls tightly as we made our way across the bridge to the center of the big pond. I didn't want to think what would happen if any of the girls slipped and fell inside the water, arghhh, nauzubilla, mintak jauh bebanyak.

Finally at around 10.35am, one of the workers opened the door hatchet to the pen and blew his whistle to signal to the crocs that it was feeding time. We heard splashes of water all around us as the crocs made their way to the landing area. We watch in awe as the worker threw pieces of chicken to the crocs who gobbled them up hungrily. One even used its tail to whip a piece of chicken closer to its mouth, denying its pen mate some food. Hehehehe, pandai jugak buaya ni, creative and innovative!

After about 5 minutes, the feeding frenzy was over. We all then made our way to the segregated croc pens to see the various types of crocodiles held there. There were some really interesting crocs, as shown below, but the one that we spent most time looking at was Bujang Sukau. Apparently this crocodile had already killed one man and bit off the leg of another before he was captured and placed in the farm. This croc was huge!! And he made all these growling sounds, like he was pissed at been taken out from his wild habitat and put on show for humans.

Pandak, the short-tailed crocodile

Bongkok, the hunchback crocodile

The Big Guy, Bujang Sukau

At around 11am, we made our way to the performance area for the live crocodile show. At first there weren't a lot of spectators but then a big bus full of rombongan makcik kiah made their way in, so it became a very lively crowd. The performers (or crocodile charmers, as I called them) were 2 boys and 2 girls, who entertained the crowd with their antics of dancing with the small crocodiles and posing on top of the big one. It was rather entertaining but you could see that the performers held much respect for the crocodiles and were on full alert throughout the show. The possibility of getting your limbs bitten off by a crocodile is not something you should take lightly!!
The show lasted for about 30 minutes, which was just nice because at 11.30am, there was a cultural show at the long house, just behind the performance area. In this long house, we were entertained by dancers who dance the local cultural dances, such as the Kadazan dance called the Sumazau, the Bajau dance called the Limbai and my favorite, the Murut dance. Hehehee, not my favorite because of their, ehem, rather skimpy costume but because the audience was invited to try the dance. Guess who was first to volunteer? Hehehehe, the girls shrieked in excitement as they watched their mom dance the Magunatip (this is the dance with the bamboos). Sorry, no pictures or videos because someone forgot to charge the camera's battery the night before (hangs head in shame..sob), so instead a made a link to a page with illustrations to give you guys an idea.

After the cultural dance, we just spent time wondering around the farm, taking more pictures with the stuffed animals there (using handphones). The girls even got to touch and pet a real live crocodile!! Granted, its mouth had been snapped shut with some string but it was still very exciting. Dania marveled at how hard the scales were and how soft the belly and legs were. Dina fell in love with it and wanted to bring it home..hahaha.

We spent 2 hours at the crocodile farm and we all had a blast. It was very entertaining and very educational. Their souvenir shop left much to desire; granted they should some excellent crocodile handbags (some costs up to RM15,000!!) but they didn't even have any fridge magnets or postcards of the place. They did however have a restaurant, which served scrambled crocodile eggs. Eeeeeee, I dared hubby to eat some which brought us to a discussion on whether or not we could eat the eggs, seeing how crocs are haiwan dua alam. Ntahlah, whatever...hubby decided he wasn't that hungry or daring to try any anyhow.

We reached the resort at about 12.30pm and seeing how it was a hot day, everyone felt sticky and tired from the outing. After a few hours nap, we spent the rest of the day, enjoying the swimming pools and just relaxing at the resort. After dinner, I took the girls to the Nexie Kids Club for some coloring and playing. We stayed until the club closed at 9pm then made our way to the room for some much needed sleep. The girls were tired after such an activity filled day that they fell asleep without much fuss.

My verdict of the Tuaran Crocodile Farm? A must visit place. If you're coming from the city center, just head up north and follow the signboards that say "Tuaran". There's plenty of signboards to lead you to the place and even though the entrance looks very blah, don't be fooled and just enjoy the wonders these ancient dinosaurs have to offer.

Next up, Day 3.