Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Park Hopping @Spore

So, what have I been doing in Singapore? Heres what the last 3 weeks have been about.

Theres an unsaid understanding among our group of friends here (thats me, Naren, Ravi, Deepak, Ashish and Amrith) that no weekend shall be spent boring away to death at the Laboratory here, like the rest of the week. So we came upon the Park-Hopper deal.

Park-Hopper was a 3-in-1 : the Singapore Night Safari, Singapore Bird Park, and Singapore Zoo. For 40$, I must say it was an awesome deal. We decided to start off with the Night Safari, since it sounded the coolest.

Singapore Night Safari :

Dont be fooled by the name - Night Safari is just a zoo with a more natural setting, and animals that are more nocturnal in nature. It was nice nevertheless. There are 3 'trails' that lead you by footpath among not-so-dense forest covered areas through enclosed areas containing animals.

The night-time experience was good enough, with the nocturnal animals conveniently seeming to appear at the right places for the viewers to see. Though the Night safari wasnt quite natural and adventurous as I expected it, cos the animals were all fully enclosed, it was still entertaining to walk around the 3 trails (leopard trail, fishing cat trail, and tree giants trail).

The worst problem was that being night, we couldnt take too many photos, as flash also was not allowed since it scared the creatures away. So the only photos we could take ended up being those at Z-bar :-) and the entrance.

The night safari ended up being a midnight one, as we lost both our last train as well as last bus. We ended up taking a bus to the closest heard bus stop to our campus, having a midnight snack at MacDonalds, and then walking by foot over 2 hours to our hostels.

Jurong Bird Park

The Singapore Bird Park at Jurong is reportedly the worlds finest one. I had half expected it to be boring, but it turned out to be an awesome experience than ever!

The highlights of the trip, apart from being able to see all species of rare and beautiful birds like eagles, vultures, hawks, ostriches, mackaws, penguins, lories, cockatoos, toucans, pelicans, etc, was

1. Feeding the Lories, at the Lory loft. This was an enclosure in which lories fly freely about. If you're ready to feed them, they get real friendly and even perch on you while having a snack. Beware, really hungry ones can get violent and competitive in stealing the food from their friends.

2. Watching the shows, which were too cool. The first one was in general about bird species, where birds were made to do tricks. For example, one Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo was made to fly upto where I was seated and give me a free-drinks voucher :-). Unfortunately, I ended up buyin a more expensive pic of the same(below)

The second show was about birds of prey, and we got to see some of the biggest birds in the world! Including the Himalayan Eagles, the Bald-headed eagles, Brahmin Kites, etc

Unbelievably, we also got to see, touch and even take photos with a penguin!.. And talk to cockatoos(they say "Hello", their name, etc).. And go into the 'World of darkness' where we caught some really exotic owl species.. The whole package was really entertaining, notwithstanding the good collection of 'Chicks' that were roaming about :-).

Singapore Zoo

So you might think, after all this, what would a zoo have to offer? Well, whatever doesnt fall into the above 2, comes in the zoo.

So somehow we ended up at the last phase of the park-hopper trilogy in the morning(oops, afternoon). By now, we had become experienced 'park-hoppers', and had hence come with full supplies of food and water in our bags, and also the mental courage to last walking till evening.

There was a wide variety of animals, to say the least. I cannot possibly set out on a list of species that we came across. Some surprises for me included the polar bears (here in Asia?), the white tigers and the sealions (I thought they were for the ocean !), apart from the species shown on the right here(the 'park hopper team'). We(especially Naren) engaged in particularly vigourous photography here, not sparing any of the animals from a "Say Cheese.."

There were 3 animal shows here, both involving tricks with trained animals. The Splash show involving sealions was particularly awesome, and the sealions showed excellent form and intelligence in performing the tricks. There were shows by apes, elephants, etc also, and shows centering on rainforest conservation. We got the chance to get kissed by a sealion at one of these Yea.. you guys must be like.. "Yuck!.." now.. it was a particularly juicy kiss. Like Naren said, I hope its not my last kiss :-)

However, I must mention one thing. Going to all these has definitely brought about in all of us a greater sense of belongingness to nature. And a greater want to protect teh environment and save its species ( as if I already wasnt tree hugging enough :-) ). So much that We are all into watching nature documentaries now on DVD :-)

So before I finish, heres a pic of a board we saw at the zoo before we left. Its apparently some native Indian saying. And those lines will remain with me forever.


Hari said...

Wow! Seems like you're having a great time out there!!

Zoos and S'pore rock, period. :)

P.S. I love the zoo more than the others. :P

Hari Vishnu said...

hmm yes the zoo was definitely the most varied of the 3.. but dude i wish i could share the videos of the bird park shows.. they were simply the best..

Abhi said...

So now i can forgive you for the long absence from the blogging. Nice to know that ur not spending all ur time in the lab and become a master buji :)

Hari Vishnu said...

here anything happens but work dude.. anything but work :-)..

Anon said...

Cool post..Liked your punch line a lot!!

Hari Vishnu said...

@krik krak

hehe thanks man..i liked it too, and knew it was gonna come on my blog the moment i saw it..

Vinitha Vasanth said...

WOW !!! Seriously a cool post ... and cool pics too !!
Enjoy :-) !!

Hari Vishnu said...

thanks :-)..i meant this post as a sort of memory for myself also, thats y i made it a sorta walkthru with pics n all..

mea culpa said...

coooL! enjoyin huh???

I love all those pics!!!

Hari Vishnu said...

thanks :-)

Laxmi said...

Hari the signboard having the Indian proverb, is amazing da. I remember being profoundly inspired by that comment too when i went there! Adhinda photo kooda i took, like u!

Hari Vishnu said...

yep.. that signboard was a sureshot pic for me to take.. it was placed almost at the right place for us- the end of the zoo trail, after all our experiences at the zoo, forcing us to spare a real thought abt all that we have really seen in a broader way..