December 4th, 2005

krazy koati

And you'll know what love is for

We went to the Jurong Bird Park, which it turns out is under renovation. From the temporary entrance you're almost automatically tossed into the World of Darkness, featuring nocturnal birds, and stern warnings to not take flash pictures, which other people -- not me -- apparently didn't notice. But I learned that my camera -- even with adaptor, polarizing lens, and wide-angle lens -- is capable of taking some good shots of almost perfectly dark rooms, if I leave the lens open for sixteen seconds.

Despite the renovations they're keeping up the photographs with the birds, and after some effort we found the penguin exhibit, which was outside the ordinary entrance. I couldn't get many good underwater pictures, though, even with the polarizing lens; penguins swimming are just too fast, flash or not, and there was a kid running around in front of almost all the underwater penguins.

Still ringing in my ears is the Lory Loft, a huge open-air aviary with something like a thousand loris of various species inside, and a few bridges and posts from which people can watch them. For a few minutes we had the loft to ourselves, but also saw relatively few birds. They come out of hiding for crowds. There's good reason for this: people can buy food for the birds, and they know this. We got this great shot of two birds trying to eat a small telescope, and thought that might be the best, until one landed on my guest's shoulder.

That was at one of the landings where water trays were set out for the birds. One of the caretakers came by and emptied one out, explaining that when you set the trays out the birds don't drink from it. Then he put the empty tray back, and birds started flocking together. Something then spooked them, and they flew out en masse and circled around, then flew right at us, and began squeaking. Loudly. Over and over again. Our ears are still ringing. It was a lot loud.

Trivia: A January 1924 review of Rutgers teaching concluded the average cost per student was $387 for liberal arts courses, $547 for technical science courses, and $808 in agriculture courses, for an average of $518 per student. Source: Rutgers: A Bicentennial History, Richard P McCormick.

Currently Reading: Pogo Romances Recaptured, Walt Kelly.