Friday, September 28th, 2001:

With our shows coming down at 11PM every night we had no hope of making the Night Safari at The Singapore Zoological Gardens, but we did have a shot at breakfast with an Orangutan, or so we thought… The boys scrambled to the taxi stand at 9AM; by the time we reached the zoo (minutes before 10) the simian sit-down was over for the day.

Between normal tourist hours the zoo still has plenty to offer; though we missed the breakfast we were able to catch the morning marsupial show, and were given this warning before the apes started swinging around over our heads:

“Members of the audience are asked to keep their mouths closed, in case nature calls…”

We weren’t disappointed; shortly thereafter about a dozen school kids were treated to a golden shower from a spider monkey above them, who maybe got stage fright.

The zoo proper was African Lion Safari done right — animals in a natural habitat protected from humans by a simple barrier of water. In some cases, specifically the aviary, visitors could enter into an enclosed area and walk freely amongst butterflies, deer mice (!) and fruit bats. And from a safe distance, one could spy on a komoto dragon, white tigers without Sigfreid & Roy and a clan of red-assed baboons. I was a little concerned at one point, when we found ourselves on a path between a pride of lions and a herd of gazelles, their food. And in that brief moment I forgot that I was even at a zoo, which is the way a zoo should be, don’t ya think?

A call on my world phone sent us back from the Rainforest to Raffles Hotel, birthplace of the Singapore Sling. It was all right, I guess, but you’d think I could at least keep the glass as a souvenir. As for the rest of the hotel, well… Considering where we were staying, I don’t really want to talk about it.

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