September 25th, 2005

krazy koati

Now I need to find my way

I made it to the Chinese Garden Lantern Safari. For the first time I went in the afternoon, to get both daylight and nighttime pictures. Despite the impulse to upload all 327 pictures I've made a selection -- and this just of day pictures -- which I hope you'll enjoy. Believe me, there are more. If you want me to go back and examine something in more detail than I got pictures for, tell me now; alas, tomorrow's the last day.

The centerpiece is the Dragons' Lair, based on the seven-storey pagoda. Each level is wrapped by a dragon; unfortunately, since the lanterns are high-voltage devices, that leaves the tower -- in previous years a great place to climb to take pictures of the world -- inaccessible, and most of the dragons invisible. Around in the ground are all manner of dragons, though, as well as this odd turtle-like creature all set for a game show hosted by Bill Cullen.

At the Noah's Ark we see how pandas, foxes, and Olive Oyl came to Mount Ararat. There's also whatever these are. I don't mind pretending they're coatis, for the low resolution of lantern animals. Also there were giant purple squirrels and kissing bunnies. I thought these might be capybaras, but badgers are more likely. Behind are either otters or pangolins; I have pictures of them at night, where the ambiguity remains. There's also kangaroos -- a recurring theme. They're quite proud of the pouched creature. Birds were another great theme; here's one, Robin Hood cleverly disguised to sneak in and win the archery contest right under King John's nose and then to play the Hamster Dance song.

At The Great Migration there's, well, migrating animals. Note the deer being messily devoured in the upper right corner; there's quite a few displays of animals being slaughtered. And it's not lanterns, but I noticed this inflatable jumping thing toy with public domain-tape Snow White and Prince Charming on the side. I didn't take a swan boat tour, but the option was there.

Another theme -- and contest -- was animal icons of countries, such as the English bulldog, complete with pink stand. Somehow the pink (it comes out darker when lit, oddly) doesn't convey tenacity. I think the strangely Al Jolson-esque Canadian beaver comes out more dignified.

The building of the turtle museum is a scene of a Chinese myth. I'd like to give more detail, but it's one of those extremely Chinese myths I can't understand because every time I think I've got a handle on the plot, up pops in a new Jade Princess with her magic bunny from the moon and a vial of the Nectar of Perfect Filial Dutifulness, which causes someone else to be exiled to the underworld, and then I'm lost again. I'm sorry I don't understand these better. The rainbow bridge itself is an array of musical fairies.

Across the bridge is the Safari Orchestra, with an array of animals celebrating this 30th Anniversary of the Chinese Garden. There's a fox with a flute, and tadpoles (I guess) with slightly different flutes, and a very long-necked kangaroo with drum and joey, and a ... I don't know, really, with something I don't know but that sure looks like a musical instrument. A squirrel oversees them all, and we have Animal on stringy instrument. Many of these are on motorized bases, so they turn, usually when you're just ready to take a picture. And despite it all, bunnies continue to be cheerleaders.

I have no explanation for this scene.

The real centerpiece, and the thing hardest to resist photographing the daylights out of, is the dinosaur and prehistorical animals display. Many are gathered around the watering hole. Some are just tyrannosauruses while others are more friendly-looking and apparently hungry. Still others are just mighty frilly. I've got about seven billion more pictures, including of new-hatched eggs. Really.

Big cats are another tableau, although many of them aren't actually large. A reasonable person may ask how well a black panther lantern works, and, well, you have to be there at night. Also about the African Savannah Water Point is a little village, and animals such as you might see around a watering hole. Note the cranes enjoying their Heathrow practice. It was around the Land of Carnivorous Plants and Giant Insects, with Zorak, that we got really close to sunset. Thus I don't have many pictures of prehistoric animals in the daylight, but have abundant night shots, such as of the mastodon hunt. The Golden Rooster enjoys a Royal Wedding with birds of various sorts as the decor. And it wouldn't be the Singapore Chinese Garden Lantern Festival without the Merlion.

The official roster of items is: The Dragons' Lair; Apes and Monkeys; African Savannah's Water Point; The Mythical Arch; Noah's Ark; Dinosaur Land; The Great Migration; The Big Cats; Dinosaurs Lake; Famous Animal Icons of Countries; World of Wings; Safari Orchestra; Musical Fairies; Arch of Wings; The Palace of Chang Erh; The Singapore Merlion; Arch of Firefly and Insects; Land of Carnivorous Plants and Giant Insects; The Golden Rooster's Royal Wedding; Pre-Historic Animals; Hunt of the Mammoth; Revenge of the Living Trees (a trackless train ride); and Reptiles.

Trivia: Bernhard Riemann's first class as a privatdozent attracted eight students; he had expected two or three. Source: Cosmic Time Travel: A Scientific Odyssey, Barry Parker.

Currently Reading: The Longest Day, Cornelius Ryan.