The ride to Boon Lay took nearly 30 minutes. I walked through Jurong Point mall to get to the SBS bus station.
After the host talked a bit about the eagles, the Kings of the Skies Show came to an end. Damn, I missed the falconry segment. The next show was only at 4pm, which meant I could catch the show again by the time I managed to finished seeing all the birds in the park.
But in round two, one of the macaws simply decided he wasn’t going to play…
After the parrots, it was time for another audience participation game.
I bought a pair of stuffed toy souvenirs, which at $15, the staff said was lower than what the stores were selling them for.
I left the ‘World of Darkness’ and stepped back out into the light.
I walked to the section dedicated to smaller (and the none too exciting) birds.
And then… it began to rain!
Fortunately I was carrying an umbrella, which helped me protect myself from getting too wet. Unfortunately, many other hapless visitors were running for cover. I sat there on the bench waiting for the rain to stop. In some ways I was glad I chose to wear shorts and slippers. My feet got wet regardless of how much I tried to shield my whole body from the rain.
The rain didn’t stop, but after nearly half-an-hour, the heavy rain was reduced to a drizzle and I decided I move again. I couldn’t sit there all day. I needed to see everything else before the 4pm showing of ‘Kings of the Skies’.
Since it was past 2:30pm, I was more concerned about feeding myself. As per the map of the park, I was nearly done and I wanted to quickly see the remaining attractions and make my way to the restaurants before catching the 4pm show of Kings of the Skies.
They had a few other species of eagles but the photos came out dark because of the lighting conditions and the positions the birds were in. At this point I realized I would have to come back another day if I were to get any good shots and vibrant colours.
I didn’t linger around much with the ostriches. I walked down the slope and towards the restaurants. And then… I slipped and fell on the ground!
It was a pretty nasty fall too. Happened in a split of a second. As I tried to get up on my feet again, I looked at my fingers and they were bleeding. With the rain hitting my hands, it made the bleeding look worse than it was. Since I was going down a sloping road, my right leg slipped and I tried to stop my fall with my right hand — the hand I held my camera with (I was holding the umbrella with my left hand) Even more painful was the sight of my camera, which was mounted with the 70-200 lens — my most expensive lens. There was a very bad dent on the filter and it was tightly lodged in. I tried to unscrew it by hand and I couldn’t!
As I got up, the lady you see in the above photo along with her staff mate ran towards me and asked if I was alright. But they could see I was bleeding quite badly and told me they would take care of me. They brought the golf car they were driving and took me back to their station. There, they called other staff members to help me, they wiped my blood and bandaged me up.
All this while, I was rather speechless, wondering how (and why on god’s earth) this had to happen on just my second day of visit in Singapore. The rains ruined the bird park experience and now this! I kept looking at my dented lens filter and I felt even worse.
The staff asked me where I was from, among other questions, and told me not to worry about how my experience at Jurong Bird Park went today. I told them I hadn’t eaten yet, and that I had planned to watch the 4pm show… but now, I just felt like leaving. The staff adviced me it’s best I visit a clinic and get a tetanus shot since I scraped the tarmac. I was thinking the same since the clean-up work the staff performed was using whatever they had in their first-aid kit.
They asked me for my contact information and I handed them my business card. One of the staff escorted me back to the bus station and I took the bus back to Jurong Point shopping center. Once there, I visited one of the clinics they suggested. I waited for my turn alongside what looked like labourers here for some check-up. Once the doctor called me in, he inspected my injuries and told me there was nothing serious and all it needed was a proper clean up.
The nurse then escorted me to another room and she performed the proper clean up. She began talking to me, asking me where I was from and if I was working here in Singapore. I told her ‘no’ and that I was just visiting, this only being my second day in the city-state. Since she was a native Singaporean, I used the opportunity to ask her some questions to learn more about the country. When I asked her when was the best time visit Singapore, she smiled and told me Singapore only has one season. It rains pretty much throughout the year, she said.
With just about everything in Singapore being expensive, I asked the nurse if healthcare too was quite expensive. She told me it’s subsidized by the government for its citizens, but since I didn’t have a health card, my rates would obviously be higher. (Gulp!)
I was properly bandaged up and she gave me some extra band-aids along with some prescribed anti-biotics. The cost for all this – SG$52 (Rs. 2000/$38/€29).
I wasn’t feeling good at all. I walked around Jurong Point checking out the restaurants and felt a little bit better when I saw the mall had a Mosburger outlet — the not-so ubiquitous Japanese burger joint. I really like their food (and their fries), so I sat down and ate to comfort myself. (It often works). I looked at my lens again and tried repeatedly to unscrew the lens filter but it just wouldn’t budge. I had no choice now but to go back to John 3:16 and hand it over to the Canon service center.
I took the metro and headed back to City Hall MRT, from where I then walked to Funan IT mall. As soon as I walked into the store, the staff at John 3:16, who had just seen me yesterday when I bought my Kata bag from them, exclaimed as they asked me what happened to my hand. I told them my sob story, and then showed them the 70-200mm lens. They tried by hand to unscrew the filter but gave up and said it’s better to just hand it over to the Canon service center.
I had no choice. I couldn’t do without this lens, and so I did. They told me I would get it back tomorrow. I said fine, and left, with my camera bag feeling like it was missing something.
There was nothing else for me to do besides go home. But as I sat in the train, I told myself I wasn’t going to let this incident ruin my trip. So instead of alighting at Aljunied, I got down at Paya Lebar MRT instead. I decided to check out the Geylang Serai hawker centre and thought I could have my dinner from there.
I can understand the markets, but do all hawker centres in Singapore close early? As in, you can’t go to such places for dinner?
Disappointed, I just roamed around the area to see how the people on this side of town go about their lives. Noticed a lot of Malays and people of Indonesian descent live in this part of Singapore.
Back at Aljunied, I had dinner at an Indian restaurant in the same block as WoW Hostel. I looked at my hand and wondered how I could to Sentosa tomorrow in this condition…
Even having dinner was a challenge. I went back and felt better after taking a warm shower. I informed my folks back in India and my friend in Singapore of what happened.
I went online and saw an e-mail from one of the staff at Jurong Bird Park who wrote to me saying if I felt like visiting the bird park again this week, my ticket would be free. I told them with the weather conditions tomorrow and the fact I was mainly here for the F1 weekend, I couldn’t devote another day for Jurong. I asked if I could come back in February next year, to which they replied saying it’s fine and I could just bring a print-out of this e-mail to get a free entry.
Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about how my Rs. 60,000 ($1,100 ) lens was now getting operated on and it hadn’t even been one year since I bought it from Bangkok last year. As with all accidents, I kept thinking of the ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’: I shouldn’t have worn slippers, I could have simply left the lens hood on the 70-200 lens, the lens hood would have protected the tip by absorbing much of the impact. But alas, what’s done was done.
Plans were obviously going to change for tomorrow and day after.