Ferrying back to Prapat, we took a bus to Medan on Sumatra’s east coast. After the stillness of Samosir Island, Medan’s sprawl and noise hit us like a slap in the face. Luckily, we were headed for Bukit Luwang the following day.
Reading about Bukit Luwang was what originally yanked my travel strings towards Sumatra, because close to the small village was an orangutan rehabilitation centre. When the Indonesian government discovered illegally captured orangutan, they were brought to this centre in the hope they would return to the wild.
Our venture was a time before the bridge was built, so we stepped into a canoe to cross the river. I stumbled after the rest of the group of around ten tourists, way more fit than me, as we climbed a muddy path into the jungle. When we reached a clearing the size of a bedroom, one of the tourists barged to the front to take the best viewing spot, or so he thought.
On a wooden platform, the orangutan were fed a monotonous diet of bananas and milk to encourage them to forage in the forest. While the guide handed bananas to the placid animals, he pushed them away when they wanted to snuggle up to him. This was so the orangutan wouldn’t become attached to humans thus encouraging them to return to the jungle.
Our gaze was transfixed on the docile adorable creatures when one of them peed and rightly, it landed on the very tourist who had barged in front of everyone.