Breakfast with the orang utans

Trip Start Sep 30, 2010
Trip End Nov 29, 2010

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Off to Singapore Zoo located in lush tropical rainforest. First stop was the restaurant for buffet breakfast. As we were eating the keepers lowered a tree and down came the orang utans. There were 7 or 8 of them, I think. The keeper said they only come to work when they want to. There was a young baby one and a small one too - they were all quite adorable. They sat on some logs alongside the eating area, and could go off and play in the trees when they got fed up of humans. Mostly they stayed put as they were being fed fruit. I had photos taken with them and also with some golden handed capuchin monkeys. The orang utans interacted with the keepers almost jokingly, tapping each other on their shoulders. Their habitat at the zoo is free ranging, and they swing about overhead as you wander around. Most of the exhibits are 'open concept' - ie. they try not to put bars or wire mesh around the animals - of course they keep them in by natural boundaries such as moats, or else there might not be any animals to see! The white tigers were amazing too. There were lots of monkeys including proboscis monkeys with long noses, pygmy hippos, manatees, lions and lots more. It was very lush and pretty place and great for taking photos of the animals without cages. But by 11.30am it was very hot and sticky and there were lots of biting insects (just when my bite count was decreasing...).
In the afternoon I took the MRT to Bugis street market - this was an indoor market, but with no air conditioning and lots of bodies crowded in, it wasn't very comfortable. Clothes were lovely and very cheap, and I could've filled a couple more suitcases, but I didn't of course. I walked from there to Arab Street, which the guidebooks described as being full of interesting shops...interesting if you want to buy car parts, fabrics or Indian sandals...From there I thought I would give Little India another try after my scared exit on Friday evening. I approached it from the other direction - it was still teeming with Indian men. A handful of women but very few. The cheaper hotels which I considered were here, and I am so glad I didn't book to stay in that area for 5 days. One good thing, there were plentiful internet cafes at cheap rates (full of Indian men, but I could hide in a booth). By the time I came out it was dark and the men were out in even greater force. The main road was full of shops, but mostly just selling men's clothes - quite bizarre given men's usual shopping reluctance, but the Indian men seemd to be enjoying their retail therapy. I passed the Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple on the way, and what I assume was some sort of Indian car boot slae, as they had stuff all over the street, and mostly it looked like secondhand tatt. I then headed for the Mustafa Centre - I read somewhere that this was the place for cheap shopping in Singapore, so with bargains beckoning, off I went. Picture the scene - me and 100's of Indian men, in the rain, the street outside the centre was completely teeming with bodies and I was just swept along. There were a couple of other obvious tourists who had probably read the same guidebook as me. The centre was in two buildings. There was an electronic sign outside building one saying there were currently 521 people in the store - it was flashing red saying the limit was 400, and telling people to call a number to report the danger, but people were still flowing in. I went into building 2 - it was a bit like Aldi (British cheap supermarket) - cheap and cheerful everything. I stayed for 5 minutes and fought my way out and back to the MRT. I am left wondering if this is normal Indian male behaviour, as it was very strange to see 100's of men clammouring to go shopping! Outside they just seemd to stand around the streets in the rain, meeting friends and chatting - quite bizarre and not somewhere I will rush back to!
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Wendy on

Hahaha, you're doing great, Gill!

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