Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A day (okay 3/4 of a day) at the zoo

I looked forward to my day at the Singapore Zoo with great anticipation.  I had been there in 1990 and had absolutely loved it.  For some insane reason I had decided to forgo having Breakfast with the Orangutans which back then was a bit more personal than it is today....okay I don't think it was ever quite "hey mate, can you pass the eggs please" but it was not the huge tourist attraction it is today...I think you actually got to sit close to them...thought I could be wrong and the pictures were just a hoax...

So I booked my breakfast for Saturday the 19th of January...giving myself a day to adjust to the new time zone.  With having the booked breakfast I had transport. I say this as normally I never would have booked a package to the zoo and either would have used public transit or gone by taxi even though it is quite a distance out of the central area. (I did this last time and I took public transit back - I stayed longer than the alloted two and a half hours despite the rain...FOOL!!!)  

Saturday dawned with rain thundering down...not good.  I was picked up bang on time and transported to the Singapore Flyer which is a huge Ferris wheel type contraption - similar to London's.  And then off we went - I was waved over to the Jurong Bird Park bus and luckily discovered that before we took off...in retrospect maybe that would have been a good mistake to have made...

Anyway we arrived at the zoo about half an hour later and were escorted to a covered pavilion which was already pretty full of other orangutan obsessed people.  The stars of the show hadn't shown up yet so I started helping myself to the buffet.  The breakfast buffet was pretty impressive really but none of us were really there for breakfast.  All of a sudden there they came...hand in hand with their trainers...right past our table.  It was like seeing a rock star!!  (and I know that feeling well folks)  They were instantly mobbed and I couldn't even get near - people were lined up to get their photos taken in front of the beasts and there were others in front.  I tried to get a picture but was told to move away....some people ignored that but what can I say.  I am a Canadian and I am polite so I did as I was told. 

In the meantime one of the zoo staff appeared with a small snake - what type I do not remember.  What I do remember is wandering over and saying "okay Laurie you can do this" and I did it.  I TOUCHED A SNAKE!!!!   I must confess it was with the end of my index finger and very very quickly but it was warm.  I did not feel freaked out at all but I did not want to hold the damn thing either.  You have to understand I am absolutely terrified of snakes...I mean "absolutely terrified if I accidentally touch a picture of a snake in a magazine I almost fall to the ground and have a fit terrified."  I was quite pleased with myself.  Will I do it again.  No!!!  

I then got in line to "meet" the orangutans.  Which is more like stand in front and not have time to even look at them - smile quickly for the camera.   So here is my orangutan photo taken on my camera - of course I was a sucker and spent $25 Singapore dollars on the "official" one as well complete with key ring. 






I must admit I got "orangutan fever" and had to snap more photos shoving people out of my way. (no, not really...)   It was then I noticed they had two babies.  Now they all had names but who knows what they were...closest I have ever been or ever will be to orangutans. 




Alas, all the excitement soon ended and like the rock stars that they were they were lead off hand in hand with their keepers with blankets over their heads to protect them from the rain.  As they left I thought I heard one of them say "no autographs, no autographs". 
From there I headed off into the pouring rain with my zoo poncho on....and visited these critters....my Nikon lovingly cradled under the poncho...the (one month old) Sony point and shoot in a plastic bag when it wasn't being used.   I did take a lot of video and sadly the poor thing bit the dust...although the videos did turn out.  Anyway we won't go there - over and done with and discussed no more.  The next point and shoot camera will be waterproof!!!  



Wet wet wet!!! 
Yes sadly for being in one of the best and most wonderful zoos in the world those were my best shots.  When I finally dig down to my shots from Singapore in 1990 and scan them I will share the 1990 visit with you.  Would I go to the Singapore zoo again?  Damn tooting I would - but on a nice day.  And no I wouldn't do the breakfast with the orangutans again. 





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