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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Sultan's Cup: Preparations


Kathy Brunjes and Theatric

Baboon on a String

Preparations and Coconut Pickers

The weather has been gorgeous, no rain for the past couple days and things are drying out. The OC had re-routed some of the trail after the previous days of rain which had left some of the track in knee deep water. It's dryer now and the track looks perfect, but they're going to stick with the alternate routes in case there's a repeat of the heavy rains. I went out this morning with Zulu - he was checking the mileage on the ocean side loop, checking water point construction status, and replacing trail markers (colored flags on broomsticks to define the training courses for the different barns - according to quarantine regulations) that had disappeared over the weekend. We saw a few American riders on the course.

Lots of work going on at the venue - they've erected a nice building adjacent to the vetgate for offices and press - and there is FAST wireless internet there - yahoo! Tons of activity in the office - printers humming, stacks of signs and labels and brochures and all sorts of stuff. Very focused energy, many minds and bodies. New lights, cables, fans, barns, roads, fences, chalets - most everything is in place now, and in clean-up phase.

The stabling barns are amazing - more stalls than could ever be filled - double entry ways to prevent flies and mosquitoes from sneaking in when doors are opened (although this is a remarkably bug-less area. I've only seen a couple mosquitoes, and no flies to speak of. The bans are screened, ventilated with fans, wash rooms, tack rooms, spacious stalls with an open feeling - no claustrophobic walls or low ceilings. Every barn has a little tent with tables and chairs and several men in bright orange Sultans Cup shirts to keep track of barn hours, people and horses coming and people and horses going. Lots of sitting and chatting - they all seem pretty ok with the relaxed pace! I visited with Mercedes and Luis (and always the cup of mate) for a while. Saw Yaguchi and Sasaki - looking a little more rested. Sasaki has a wide-eyed look about him. This is the fellow that rides and trains for Hasume-san at the Japan Arabian Horse Ranch (and rode the first place horse at the Shining Moon ride this summer) - I doubt if he's ever been off the island of Honshu - much less to a foreign land like Malaysia. He's here as Hasume-san's groom - and will do the riding and caring for Cameo until Hasume-san arrives.

I hitched a ride back to the Sutra with Yaguchi - and bumped into John Crandell who had just heard from Kathy that there was a fellow with a monkey picking coconuts at the resort. My curiosity got the best of me (the same curiosity that caused me to almost fall through the dock yesterday to a fate of old concrete and barnacles - re Heather's story!) and I followed him out in search of the monkey picker, and after a wide circle around the resort and several huge piles of coconuts, we found them right by our rooms. Two very old Malay men with monkeys (or baboons?) up in the tops of the coconut palms, at the end of a very long string leash. It was amazing!! The baboons worked the coconuts carefully, and cleverly, loosening them and then dropping them to the ground. Sometimes with several twists of the stalk to break them loose, sometimes with a 2-footed tug, or a 4-footed tug and jump. The men communicated with them by little grunts and hand signals. They moved along from tree to tree. This must be an annual ritual, removing the ripened coconuts before they drop onto the head of an unsuspecting tourist!

Lunch with the gang, then a swim with Mercedes (life is tough), then the afternoon free to work on the computer - process photos, update the website, get organized for the weeks ahead...

It's fairly cool this evening - a breeze off the ocean - and the water is rough today - a brownish color, looks like there has been some rough water out at sea stirring up the sands. Maybe stormy weather on the way?




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