Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Singapore Day 3: Singapore Zoo

I really enjoyed going to the zoo as a child (so thanks Mom and Dad if you read this). I grew up in the Los Angeles area, so during the summer my parents would take the family down to SD for little outings. Sea World, San Diego Zoo, and The San Diego Wild Animal Park were always popular destinations for us. I suppose Southern Californians like myself are quite spoiled to have such attractions like the world famous San Diego Zoo close enough that we can visit them without traveling too far.

Now the San Diego Zoo is world famous for a reason; it is one of the largest and most progressive zoos in the world. With over 800 species and 4000 animals it really dwarfs nearly all zoos. So I was lucky enough to be exposed to so many different animals from all over the world as a child, from animals in my backyard like raccoons to exotics species like white tigers from Asia. Same goes for the Wild Animal Park, generally a free roaming area for the animals.

Well, that was great as a child, but as an adult I've largely lost interest in going to zoos. So why did I go to visit the Singapore Zoo at the end of my 3rd day in Singapore? Well, it was highly suggested to me, and it was supposed to be one of the tops zoos in Southeast Asia. I figure, why not?

The Singapore Zoo is famous for basically being a free roaming zoo. Animals are basically allowed to go wherever they want. However natural barriers have been erected to prevent, say, the tigers from eating the gazelles, or the elephants from trampling people.

It's also famous for its night safari ride. It's just a tram that takes you on a tour of the zoo at night when the animals come out and are generally more active.

I decided to take the tram ride. You remember earlier in this blog entry where I said Southern Californians are spoiled? Yeah... the zoo was kind of a let down for me. It wasn't all the interesting since I had seen pretty much everything before as a child back home. Also as it was night I didn't bring my regular camera cuz I figured it'd be useless, I just used my phone. Hence why there are so few pictures in this entry.

After the ride I stayed for their show: Creatures of the Night! Sounds exciting eh? I did walk away impressed with one thing. It wasn't really the show, it was the people there. During the show the main stage handler would ask for volunteers from the audience to come onto the stage. They would always ask where you were from. The stage handler was of Indian decent. One of the volunteers was a young girl of Chinese decent, and the other was a middle aged man of European decent. They all identified themselves as Singaporean, and it was accepted right away. When the stage handler ask for all the Singaporeans in the crowd to give it up for their fellow countrymen a loud applause followed from Singaporeans of all different ethnic backgrounds. Was it just because of the show or was it really real? I don't know, but I liked it.

Creatures of the Night Show.

The creatures of the night show was pretty boring to me. The shows at the San Diego Zoo are of much higher caliber in my opinion. The only excitement came when a python had escaped. One of the handlers rushed on to the stage and whispered something into the main stage handler's ear. She then told the crowd not to panic and said there's a huge python loose. Ha. Well, people were scared but the handlers prevent panic. They eventually found him hiding in some space under the seats of some audience members. I believe it really wasn't part of the show because after they found him no attempt was really made to show him off like other animals from the show.
The handlers found the escaped python hiding under the seats of some audience members.

You'd think being in Southeast Asia, in a show featuring creatures of the night they would show something exotic. That's what I thought. At the finale of the show I figured, ok, here it comes.... And sure enough they delivered something exotic alright. The handler said "And....... ALL THE WAY FROM NORTH AMERICA!!!! THE MOUNTAIN LION!!!!!!"

What?!?!?! A mountain lion? You know, I could find those things in the park not far from the house I grew up in! What the heck! Ok, maybe they're exotic to people in Southeast Asia but not me. Man, talk about a let down. Where were the tigers, panthers, or whatever?

Just after exiting the zoo I saw a massage place called Nibbles. They have Doctor Fish there that eat dead skin from your body. You just place the part of your body you want cleaned in a tank full of the fish, and they'll come up to you and start eating you dead skin leaving you nice and clean.

Dr. Fish eating dead skin.

Of course I had to try it. I mean.... it's a nasty concept to me, but still..... I HAD to give it a shot. It doesn't hurt, it kind of tickles, but it's really a very strange sensation.

People trying Dr. Fish.

The embarrassing thing though.... well, there were some people sitting next to me with their legs in the tank. Fish were nibbling away at their skin. As soon as I put my legs in the tank all the fish came over to my legs. I pretty much monopolized the fish... damn... what does that say about my skin?????? =P

Dr. Fish eating my dead skin.

Video Clip of the Dr. Fish eating my dead skin. I move in the video because I was forced to by the people working there, so sorry for the blurriness.

If you're lucky enough to be from So Cal and been to the SD Zoo before I would totally skip the Singapore Zoo. If you haven't been to many zoos then check it out.

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