Friday, October 26, 2012

A success with the birds

A beautiful, sunny day in Singapore. I got up at 6 this morning and ran just under 10k. I got confused on my run and thought I'd done 10 when I'd only done 9, and had to grind out another one; not my most enjoyable effort, but at least I'm gradually starting to catch back up with my training.

Today is a public holiday, which is fortunate because after that I was a busted flush, capable only of lying on the floor all morning. If I'd had to go back to the office, things would have looked bad.

In the afternoon, we went over to the bird park in Jurong. In one of the aviaries they have the world's largest man-made waterfall. In an aviary. The park kept stressing this, almost as if they wanted somebody to point out there was a larger man-made waterfall outside of an aviary somewhere else. I'm not sure what the criteria for a waterfall are: perhaps I could run a hose out the window from the kitchen sink of our 21st storey flat.

It's not that a sixteen storey high man-made waterfall in an aviary isn't impressive, it's just that you don't visit the bird park for the water features.

You visit for the monorail.

Sadly, the Jurong Park monorail seems to be defunct, and instead you can ride around the park on a 'tram', which is actually just a couple of articulated carriages pulled by a tractor; hardly the same thing. Because the park was designed for people to walk around or take the train, the tram's passage through the park feels vaguely terrifying, as if at any point it will collide with a baby carriage, a motorised wheelchair or any of the other devices Singaporeans are using to get around.

We visited the parrots, which I think we missed last time because of the rain; almost all the macaws and parakeets have mastered swinging themselves from the bars of their cages by hanging on with their beaks and waggling their bodies. Some of the parrots have learnt to proffer leaves through the cage to passers-by; since all they get in return is more leaves, I'm not sure how rewarding that is for them.

I was exhausted; I felt out of sorts all day. Even ice cream didn't lift my spirits that high. I've been fantasising that the extra-strength muscle relaxants from last week have broken something in my brain. So I was pleased when we stopped to watch the falconry show, as that meant we could sit down.

Unfortunately, it also meant we could get very wet, as grey clouds filled the sky and the rain poured down, while the birdkeeper grew gradually more annoyed as the audience kept ignoring his requests to lower their umbrellas and not distract the birds. The hawks, owls and eagles were all wonderful to behold, although I've seen bigger eagle owls. The only true let down for me was the audience participation. A woman was coaxed from the crowd, and given a falconer's glove to wear. The birdman asked her if she'd ever held a bird before. She said no.

This was the perfect opportunity to respond "well, you look like you've handled a lot of cocks" but we were let down. I don't know. It's like the Bird Park is recruiting people for their ornithological abilities, rather than their prowess making blue jokes.
A vulture flew out and took some meat from her. Some more vultures ran out of a bush. The rain intensified. An enormous vulture waddled over. The show was called off.

By now I was soaked to the skin; a bit more rain wasn't going to make much difference, but our spirits were dampened and we fled to the taxi rank. I'm surprised that every time we go out, we're surprised by the weather. Surely one day we'll remember that it rains in Singapore in the afternoon.


Post a Comment