Saturday, 5 March 2011

In the footsteps of Jack Hanna - discovering the Singapore Zoo...


And a good Sunday morning to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Bob - you would have been proud of us yesterday, as we sallied forth into terrain that you helped to acquaint us with - the Singapore Zoo.

But before we get to that, I should just comment briefly on Friday night's dinner. Craving Indian (and I mean GOOD Indian - not the crap that's located in the basement of our place), Team Taylor rolled over to Little India to hit up the other spot on Race Course Road that had been recommended to us: Anjapaar. And whilst it was tasty, it was NO spice junction (but I will say taht the garlic chili chicken was EXCEPTIONAL). I did get a chance to try goat for only the second time in my life, and Puma - I can confirm that it was NOT up to Chutney Mary's standards. Tell Player that he's a lucky man. Also, I had a chance to try Japanese quail, which, like ANY OTHER QUAIL, is really just ALL BONES MARINATED IN BLISTERINGLY HOT SPICES. That was my first and last ever quail experience, as it was pretty much donkey trash.

The reason that we won't go back to anjapaar, however, lies with the bathroom. You see, when we arrived, the sat us down at a table COVERED with rice and curry. The dude came buy, did the fake "let me spray this table and make it 100% totally hygenic"thing where he sprays in 2 places and then takes a FILTHY rag and just knocks the rice into the floor. I can forgive this, as that gives it an authentic vibe. However, the bathroom, well...THAT is another story.

So I get to the door of the bathroom, and it has a sign that says "Press here to enter." I do this, and sure enough the door swings open automatically. I'm thinking "this is better than Japan!," and so I walk inside. Sure enough, there's another computer controlled door to get in the stall. All good things so far.

But then I step up to the bowl to notice that the cat before me a) clearly had some digestive problems, b) didn't actually sit on the can, and c) DEFINITELY didn't use toilet paper. The consequence - ABOUT 20 PIECES OF @#$# FLOATING IN THE FLOOR AROUND ME, HOSED DOWN IN A FASHION THAT LOOKED LIKE THE DUDE WAS PUTTING OUT A HOUSE FIRE. Let's just say it was a LOT to take in BEFORE dinner.

But I digress - let's get to the featured event of Saturday - THE SINGAPORE ZOO!!!!! So seriously, I've been to a lot of zoos in my life, but this one was EASILY the most amazing. There are very few bars and cages - this is basically an open air zoo where critters can crawl around ALL OVER THE PLACE. Seriously - we were inches away from critters most of the day. The result of this is quite profound, as the animals are very active and behave in a more similar fashion to their cousins in the wild. For my part, it was like I was 5 years old again.

Getting there is a bit of an adventure, as you have to take the metro and then a bus. The metro stop is "Ang Mo Kio," which, in true Singaporean PC fashion, literally translates to "White Guy Island." It's funny, really, because I WAS THE ONLY WHITE GUY FOR MILES AROUND. Does that make me the King of "White Guy Land?" Methinks yes...

As (not so) short bus ride takes you to the Zoo, where we started the day out right - LUNCH AT KFC, BABY!!!! FRANK THE TANK! FRANK THE TANK!!!! HE GONNA DO ONE!!!!! After a delicious KFC lunch (with some MOUNTAIN DEW, BABY), we hit the zoo, and 5 minutes in I was hooked.

Seriously - this place was just incredible. Monkeys of all sorts EVERYWHERE (P-Mac, not sure if you went here, but this was probably your own personal hell), and there were some BIG CATS (Woest style) running around. Case in point - check out these White Tigers! We actually showed up just in time for feeding, so MAD PROPS to Tiffanie(TAAAAAAAN Ching Ching!) for telling us to show up during meal time.

The white tigers were catching HUGE hunks of raw meat - it was EPIC to watch. The size of their paws! Let's just say I was really glad I was about 25 feet above them, as those boys were huge and HUNGRY.

From there we wandered over to one of the monkey enclosures (there were SO MANY, including...wait for it...wait for it...SPIDER MONKEYS!!!!! "I'm gonna beat your ass, Chip! I'm all hopped up on Mountain Dew and gonna come at you like a Spider Monkey!"). It was feeding time for the Hydramas monkeys (aka red-assed baboons), and it was AMAZING. These dudes were doing tricks to attract attention, including flipping, jumping, and shouting. Oh, and it should be noted that the dude on the right (with the mad hair) also though he was Don Juan, as at 1 point he found a lady he was interested in and, well, just started giving her the business (Muffin got a GREAT shot of that one). Also, I simply must comment how similar these cats are to humans, especially the males. A few points I noticed:

1. All the guys LOVE to scratch know. And much like humans, they have NO IDEA ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD EXISTS AND MIGHT BE WATCHING WHEN THEY DO IT.

2. They can pee ANYWHERE.

3. You can tell that they LOVE being naked...AND spread eagle. Wait, I mean...

After that, we wandered into the Australian Outback section, where, for the first time in my life, I actually BACKED UP from a zoo animal. It was an emu, and I just didn't have a good feeling about the kangaroo protecting me if this guy jumped me. Seriously - those boys are scary lookin'...just sayin'...

We then hit another highlight - the orangutan open enclosure. This was AMAZING! There were literally ALL OVER THE PLACE, and watching them move is just spectacular. They really might be the sweetest, most peaceful critters on earth, and it was just AWESOME to watch them. We took about 40 photos here - you should have seen muffin with the long lens taking shots - we got some great ones!

We then wandered into "Cat Country," where we saw lions, cheetahs (we actually got to watch them run a bit!), leopards, PUMAS!, and even jaguars. All were amazing, but the cheetah was DEFINITELY my favorite. Did you know that the cheetah can cover 20 feet with each stride! You should have just watched that cat (literally) move - it was SPECTACULAR. Glad there was a huge canyon between us!

The cat photo here is a leopard - he was a big boy as well. That's the first one I'd ever seen, so it was really cool (same with the Puma and the jaguar - to see them so close was just NUTS). Other highlights in turn (below) include the giant tortoise (those jokers can live to be 175 years old!) and the lemurs (they got so close we could have petted them...and then been infected with rabies, of course...details...)

The zoo closed at 6, and whilst we'd contemplated (and originally planned on) doing the night safari as well, we were pretty much "zooed out," and we were hungry. I'd run 4.5 outside that morning as well, so I was bloody exhausted. Conseqently, we hopped a cab (thinking that it would save time since the ride TO the zoo was 1.25 hours) - THAT was a mistake.
You see, in the Sing, one way to dodge road and parking taxes is to obtain a "red license plate." This means that, rather than being able to drive all the time, you can only drive from 7 PM-7 AM during the week and on weekends. And whilst this keeps pollution and traffic down during the work week, the consequence is that YOU GET ABOUT 4 MILLION DONKEYS WHO ONLY DRIVE 8 DAYS A MONTH ON THE INTERSTATE AT THE SAME TIME. When you add in the fact that a) no one really knows how to drive, b) everyone's car is brand new AND cost 70K in taxes to obtain ABOVE the prices, it makes for a SLOW commute home. Case in point, we had an AMBULANCE WITH LIGHTS ON in front of us and topped out at about 40 miles per hour. CLASSIC...

All the same, we FINALLY arrived at Dempsey Hill, where my perfect pumpkin guided us to Block 26, which was the site of dinner for the evening - the Tawandang Brewery, baby!!!! We'd been here with P-Mac before, but I'd honestly forgotten how good the beer was. Check us out throwing back some Thai cuisine with some German lager in a lube tube!

It should be noted that, prior to dinner, we stopped at this place called Overtime for a pint. The brewmaster there does only 2 brews, called Starker aromatic and Starker lager. We ordered a lager, and whilst it was very good (brewed in accordance with the Germany purity law of 1516), it was also...wait for it...wait for it...$22 A PINT (sold under the Singapore RIP YOU OFF law of 2011). Seriously - I didn't check the menu - I just ordered. To quote the Hitman - SERIOUS TACTICAL ERROR IN JUDGEMENT.
We decided to walk home from Dempsey Hill, which was great because it gave us a chance to do one more thing we'd been wanting to try - A BLIZZARD FROM DQ, BABY!!!!! OH YES, that's right - they have EVERYTHING in this city. We went with the "Brownie Temptation," and it was so guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud (peppy cheekies).

We then got home and chatted with Mum and Rice before calling it a night.
Two more things:
2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM STONE (Private Eye)! As Jenny's telling you right now on Facebook - YOU'AH MEN'AL!!!!!! Tell MKD we said hi.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat later this evening!
Sam and Jenny

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