Probiscus monkeys - local residents.
January 28, 2008

Mr. Arthur was calling for duty this morning in our hotel lobby. It was off to Bako National Park we would go.

Because ‘safety is first’ at Bako (as all the signs said), we put our life-jackets on and boarded a boat. A choppy, bouncy boat. To
be expected during monsoon season. Right off the bat, we had our boatman take us around the coast to see the ‘seastack’ that
we had seen pictures of. Kudos goes to the photographers of this rock as it looked far better in the pictures than it did in
person. But we were still happy that we paid a bit extra to see it – this way we won’t feel like we missed out on something

Now it was time to start our mini jungle trek for the day. We opted for the 6 km loop which ended up taking us close to three
hours. I blame the previous rainfall for the bad time. The puddles and slipperiness prevented us from going full-speed (hence
our bad time).

This was Michelle’s first ‘trek’ experience. Sure, she has ‘hiked’. But she had never really done that international walking up
and down for hours at a time – I guess the things that deem something a ‘trek’. I think we were both expecting to see more
wildlife during our trek. I was hopeful for the big-nosed probiscus monkey. But we got none. The closest was hearing a monkey
in a tree. I was a bit bummed. Kind of sad when the excitement ends up being based around a centipede-looking thing.

We concluded our trek and continued to walk to where we started. We noticed how low the tide now was – we were passing the
very place that our boat dropped us off this morning just to find it a sandy patch of land. We were about to cross the wooden
bridge and then heard a noise that startled us. What was the noise? Monkeys!
Probiscus monkeys, to be exact. We looked on
each side of the bridge and they were roaming around everything. Okay, well maybe not
everywhere – but the fact that we
were now looking at a good eight or nine of them was pretty exciting stuff.

These monkeys are the funniest looking things. Their noses are a cross between Mr. Potato-Head and a part of the male
anatomy. Their profile actually looks like a grandpa. Their coloring is quite beautiful. I just loved watching these guys. There
was one guy that was my favorite – while many tended to be shy, this one didn’t mind attention at all. And because of this, he
is going to be quite a famous monkey in ‘Jen Nathan’s Borneo Album’. Lucky fella.

After bidding farewell to our monkey friends and the adorable-faced boar, we headed back to our boat which consisted of
wading our way through the low-tide to make it out to our boat. Then it was time to go crashing along the South China Sea
waves. With our lifejackets on, we looked just like the people we saw on Amazing Race last night. I think Michelle thought I was
going to lose it when I started yelling out “We’re in the lead! We’re going to win!”

Getting back to our hotel never felt so good. After all, our clothes were completely damp with sweat from head to toe. Sounds
lovely, huh? But it was such a great day that we didn’t even care about that (probably helped that we knew we were coming
home to a nice shower). Now we are sitting in the lounge watching some NCAA hoops. Who would have thought in Asia? Once
this Gonzaga game is over, it’s back to Little Lebanon we go!
Back to Malaysia.
Bako at low-tide.
The 'seastack' at Bako.