Saturday, July 01, 2006

Goodbye Singapore

i'm writing this while waiting for my plane to darwin, australia. its's been an interesting few days here. i didnt see as many bird species as i'd hoped, but as i had based my expectations on internet trip reports by people who had hired local guides, that wasnt really surprsing. i finished off on 73 species. Many of the locals i spoke to said "singapore no good for nature, go to malaysia instead, much more there", not a lot of pride in what they do have. Given how close the two countries are, that statement would be like hearing the following conversation in england:

Visitor to Berry Head: "seen much"
Berry Head local: "Nah, seawatchings crap here ,try portland instead"

Today i went to paulu Ubin island, between singapore and malaysia. The boat over was just like one of the inter island boats on scilly, you even get proper drenched if you sit in slightly the wrong place! A very nice island and by far my favourite part of singapore, despite the mossies, i got eaten alive in the mangroves. Best birds seen were Oriental Pied Hornbill and a White Rumped Shama which showed down to a few metres. Had awesome views of White bellied sea eagle as they soared over the jungle. it was slightly wierd to see Red Junglefowl in the wild, they looked just like our old rooster, and sounded like him too.

Last night i went out to Little India and Bugis Street Markets. The food from the street vendors was awesome. After stuffing myself with Seafood Ramen and soem beef dish that i couldnt even read, let alone type out, i tried some yam ice cream and was slighltly surprised to be handed a block of ice cram the size of a bag of sugar sandwiched between two tiny wafers that were really only there to keep your hands clean. After eating that and two more i collapsed from a sudde nattack of obesity (dont yopu just hate it when that happens). A few bats flying around were also entertaining, these were nothing like the shitty little pipistrelles we get at home, no these things were massive, roughly the size of a light aircraft.
I managed to get totally lost at one point, but the neon lights of sim lim tower guided me home. Sim lim should've been like heaven for me as it is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy digital cameras. Unfortunately i didnt have money to spare as i needed it for the only 2 thongs more important in life than cameras- beer and pelagic trips, not sure which one of these takes priority though.

i'll miss singapore, considering i normally avoid cities like the plague, i quite liked this one. it has a very clean and safe feel, mainly due to extortionate fines for doing anything slightly wrong, i swear i saw a sign declaring the prohibtion of farting in public! Also, how many other cities are there where you can listen to orioles singing whilst you watch the football at an outside bar.

anyway, must fly.

joe

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