First, the photos. I managed to get hooked up briefly and transfer these pictures. So:
Pic 1: Jungle friend.
Pic 2: Jungle primate. Notice protective floral coloration and how every sense is alert and ready for action.
Pic 3: Kampong (Village) on the river.
I am suffering from having enough stuff for about three expeditions of my size. And not really anywhere good to keep it. And, worse, no real willingness to give any of it up.
I was happy to get to use some of the bike-oriented crap that I have this week. Whahoo! Hooked up with Desmond, a local mountain bike rider, and he's been showing me around town, making sure I try the local food, and borrowed a bike from a friend for me to use.
Bikes rock! I was starting to get as little messed up in my head from not seeing any riding in the near future. But I seem to have made a reasonable recovery after three days of having a bike. We've been riding around town and on one sort-of mountainbike ride in the rain on kampong roads and muddy trails. I still don't think I'll get one of my own at this point. The things that I am here to really see in Borneo are not particularly bike accessible. The jungles seem to require feet and boats.
Now, I can't even quite remember what I wrote last. I don't think I have told the tale of Bako National Park. Went by bus and then small boat to the park. Met Jake from Canada on the boat and spent my time there hiking with him and with a young British couple.
Right from the start Jake and I were amazed by the wildlife. From where we got off the boat at the wreck of the jetty (ruined by the very high tides of December '99) we took the short walk to the park office. Saw silvered languars (a leaf monkey) and long tailed macaques (an evil monkey) and a not very rare and exotic Borneo squirrel. Then, as we were puting our stuff in our dorm room, we saw the rare and elusive proboscis monkeys. Right in the trees above our roof.
We took a hike through deep jungle and through more open areas where the soil is poor and where there were strange carniverous pitcher plants. Got to a waterfall and took a swim in the creepy brown water where our primal senses were sure there were crocodiles.
When we got back, the rare and elusive proboscis monkeys were still in the trees by our "home". Cool. We looked at them for a while and didn't really need the binouculars to see the size of the nose on the big male. Scientists have speculated about the purpose of such an immense nose, and it is true that they have a distinct resonating call. But if I were to guess, I would chalk it up to marketing. Advertising gets results, they always say.
We spent four days there eating fried rice for every meal and hiking all over the place. Saw beaches, an incredible number of kinds of trees, vines, sandstone cliffs, and wildlife, wildlife, wildlife. Turned out that there were people there who had been wandering around for days trying to catch a glimpe of the rare and elusive proboscis monkey. We saw them over and over. Also bearded pigs, snakes, birds, crickets, huge beetles, and bats.
Now I'm off to Mulu NP, the biggest and wildest NP in Sarawak. Maybe for a week of caves and jungles and river running and treking. And I'm only taking one big backpack (that I had to buy). Hope the rest of my crap is here when I get back.