The tide was low as the boat pushed up the coastline of the Bako National Park. Far off the distance, some 6.3 metres away was the entrance sign, where the king tides would reach every six hours. Guarding the coastline were hard, porous rock formation known as sandstones that is a making of 23 millions of years. As everyone made their way to the park headquarter, I stayed back a little waiting for Yusman to photograph the sandstones, as I played with the jelly-like mud mixed with sand. (What can I say, I like cheap thrills). I looked around me and thought to myself there is something unusual about this place. All I ever know of a national park is lush greens of a bloated jungle. Seeing the faces of the rock formations, I believe there is a lot more about the great outdoors that I still need to learn of.

We were barely in the park for an hour and already I hated the sun. Mind you, I have never done any serious outdoor trekking and would probably always not look forward to the ones to come. God knows what I will run into in the jungle, and I will always have this perpetuous fear of leeches. (Kind of not helping whenever you colleagues come back from the jungle complaining about their leech-bites). The sun was unkind that day and every move I made felt like a thousand tonnes, and already I was whining mentally to go back to the city.

I was barely paying attention as the tour guide stopped every once too often to talk about the vegetation lining the trail, and as the tourists in front blocked the path talking gazillion shots of the Proboscis Monkeys. All I could think about was the cosy bed in my city hotel room and how much more sleep I could help myself to if I were there.

Suddenly, the scenery around me changed. The ambiance fell off as the trees stopped their stroll with us down the trail. It was like the curtains opened and I was face with something beyond the cloth in front of me. The canopying trees opened up to a clearing and my breath was taken away. My thoughts of the city just disappeared as suddenly as the scene before me emerged.

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  • Celeste Goh

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