Singapore Zoo

More indecision about where to go. Singapore Zoo was high on our list of “must see agains” so that’s where we decide to go.

It’s a bit easier to get to than before, with a couple of MRT rides and the Mandai express bus from Khatib station. The zoo itself is beautifully designed. Water barriers rather than fences separate the visitors from the animals so your feel like you can really see them.

Our favourites were definitely the primates. The black siamang swinging through the trees while gharials pretended to be statues below. The comically big nosed proboscis monkeys with bulging bellies that will explode if they eat fruit.

The orangutans that perform in the trees above onlookers, no fences between them and us. The big male Sumatran orangutan who sits up at the glass as if to pose for the selfies with the visitors, his sad eyes bringing tears to mine, while his mate lounges back in his nest acting out my fantasy of the moment.

A group of four otters patrol the moat around the chimpanzee enclosure, scattering, frightened, when its occupants approach.

Our favourites, for we spend the longest watching them, are the large troop of Hamadryas baboons with their huge red misformed rear ends. The young ones race around annoying and fighting each other while older baboons groom each other.

Other animals still fascinate, like the pygmy hippopotamus with its rear end nibbled by fish, the white tiger playing in the water, the red river hogs with their tusk pierced snouts. We watch the elephant show, outwardly laughing but wondering in the back of our minds if their behaviour was learned through cruelty.

Alex naturally wants to go to the water park, where he plays until it starts spitting with rain. We head back towards the entrance via the African section, but the storm downpour begins and we dark into whatever shelter we can find.

Fortunately a staff member driving around in his cart takes pity on us and we are driven back to the Ah Meng restaurant, from where we can walk back to the entrance under shelter.

On our way back towards Chinatown we stop at Ang Moh Kio to look for some stationery at the Popular bookstore. Under the section entitled “School needs” are Nerf guns and Playdough. The much vaunted Singaporean education system has some explaining to do!

At Clarke Quay we pick up some Zoff glasses, made in half an hour and finish off the night at Chilis, hungry for Western food. Except I’m not hungry and again nobody finishes the expensive meals in their entirety. As for myself, perhaps I have inadvertently activated a New Year’s resolution.

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