Singapore 2011: Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and… *ouch!*

Date: 20th September, 2011

Woke up around 8am today as I planned to get to Jurong Bird Park by at least 9:45am. The first show I was interested in seeing was at 10am.

HDB flats Singapore view from MRT train window
To get to Jurong Bird Park from Aljunied, I first needed to get down at Boon Lay station. No need to switch trains as I was already on the East West Line (the green line).
Highways near Chinese Garden Singapore
This was the first time I was going towards the Jurong side
Chinese Gardens pagoda Singapore
Chinese Gardens (a.k.a Jurong Gardens, in the distance)
Chinese Gardens lake Singapore
Hmm, maybe I should add the gardens to my list of places to see as well
New building construction Singapore
Saw quite a few construction activity along the way
McDonald's drive-in restaurant Singapore
Nice looking drive-in

The ride to Boon Lay took nearly 30 minutes. I walked through Jurong Point mall to get to the SBS bus station.

Jurong bus station Singapore
I now had to take bus no. 194 to get to Jurong Bird Park
Inside SBS bus to Jurong bird park Singapore
You can use the same MRT card to pay for SBS (Singapore Bus Service) buses too

Bus to Jurong bird park Singapore

ST Kinetics office Boon Lay Singapore
Jurong has a lot of industries

Sime Darby plant Jurong Singapore

Caterpillar factory Jurong East Singapore
Caterpillar’s factory
Jurong bird park sign Singapore
Unfortunately, by the time I go to the Bird Park, it was already 10am
Jurong bird park entrance Singapore
I walked faster to get in
Jurong bird park parrot macaws Singapore
These macaws welcome visitors at the entrance
Jurong bird park way ticketing booth Singapore
I bought my ticket, which cost SG$18 (Rs. 700/$13/€10)
Jurong bird park flowers entrance
I asked the staff which way the Kings of the Skies Show was
Jurong bird park vulture snake Singapore
By the time I got to the Hawk Walk venue, I had already missed the first half of the show
Jurong bird park show school children Singapore
Today being a Monday, a lot of school children were on their field trip
Jurong bird park white owl Singapore
They brought out some owls to the crowd
Jurong bird park owl show Singapore
They have a variety of owls here
White owl Jurong bird park Singapore
“You, with the fancy lens, what… you think I LIKE being here?!”
Jurong bird park birds of prey show Singapore
As with such shows, audience participation is encouraged

Jurong Bird Park king of skies Indian volunteer Singapore

Jurong bird park vulture show with volunteer Singapore
This vulture came sweeping in from a higher platform
Jurong bird park vulture with Indian volunteer
The volunteers are instructed to stay completely still

Jurong bird park staff lady with vulture Singapore

Jurong bird park vultures Singapore
All the vultures surround a fake carcass

Vulture on tree trunk Jurong bird park Singapore

Eagles flying Jurong bird park Singapore
Next, the eagles make a grand entrance
Eagle in tree Jurong bird park Singapore
I don’t think this is where the eagle was supposed to land…

White chest eagle Jurong bird park Singapore 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.

Pink flamingos waterfall Jurong Bird Park Singapore
Next up, pink flamingos

Pink flamingo feathers Jurong bird park SingaporeΒ Pink flamingos Jurong bird park Singapore panorama

Parrots macaws Jurong bird park Singapore
After flamingos, macaw parrots
Parrots macaw rock Jurong bird park Singapore
They had all the common colours – red, blue & yellow, and a few green macaws

Parrot red macaws Jurong bird park BangaloreMacaw parrots heads turned back Jurong SingaporeParrots macaw Jurong bird park SingaporeParrots macaw close Jurong bird park SingaporeRed, blue-yellow, green parrots macaw Jurong bird park Singapore

Jurong bird park cockatoo Singapore
A few cocatoos and cockatiels
Cockatoo dancing Singapore Jurong bird park
“Cockatoo sliiiiide…”
Jurong bird park monorail track panorama
I then walked to the next show
Pools amphitheatre seating Jurong bird park Singapore
Birds ‘n Buddies show at the Pools Amphitheatre (Shot this using my phone; panorama comprised of 3 shots)
Pools amphitheatre Jurong bird park Singapore
Visitors filled up the chairs quickly
Flamingos entrance pools amphitheatre show Jurong Singapore
The show began with flamingos making a grand entrance

Pools amphitheatre birds buddies show Jurong bird park SingaporeFlamingo wing Jurong bird park Singapore

Birds n buddies show host Jurong bird park Singapore
The host brought out a yellow-crested cockatoo
Flamingos leaving Jurong bird park Singapore show
It was time for the flamingos to leave
Cockatoo Jurong bird park show Singapore
Time for some audience participation
Birds n buddies yellow-crest cockatoo Jurong bird park Singapore
The cockatoo had a note to deliver

Cockatoo flying back Jurong bird park Singapore

Great hornbill flying Jurong bird park Singapore
We were all asked to look up above…
Great hornbill flying Jurong bird park Singapore show
This great hornbill came sweeping in from behind
Jurong bird park staff with hornbill Singapore
The host talks about each bird, its rarity, about conservation and such
Jurong bird park costume bird show Singapore
Obviously this show is mostly catered to kids, so they have costumed birds for the funny bits
Toucans Jurong bird park Singapore
They brought out toucans next
Toucans on boy Jurong bird park Singapore
More audience fun

Jurong bird park staff feeding toucans Singapore

Parrots ball game Jurong bird park show Singapore
They brought out macaws to play a game

Jurong bird park macaws playing game SingaporeBut in round two, one of the macaws simply decided he wasn’t going to play…

Macaw parrots playing game Jurong bird park Singapore
… for a while anyway πŸ™‚

After the parrots, it was time for another audience participation game.

Cockatoo taking money Jurong bird park Singapore
The good old ‘using bird to take money’ gag
Cockatoo returning money Jurong Bird Park Singapore
Don’t worry, they give it back
Vulture costume Jurong bird park Singapore
No guesses for what bird was next
Black vulture Jurong bird park Singapore
Black vulture
Pelicans fountain Jurong bird park Singapore
Pelicans were next

Β Pelicans Jurong Birk Park Singapore

Amigo talking Amazon parrot Jurong Bird Park Singapore
This next bird was a very interesting one, he was going to talk. Which is why I took a video…

Macaws flying in Jurong bird park Singapore
Time for one final audience participation
Jurong bird park school children Singapore
Kids were desperate to take to part. Sadly for them, only adults allowed for this one.

Macaw parrot flying through hoops Jurong bird park

Jurong bird park parrot breaking through hoop Singapore
I wonder how they train animals to do all this
Parrots show end Jurong bird park Singapore
With that, the Birds n Buddies show came to an end. The host announced the sale of merchandise and that we could now come closer to have a good look at the parrots.

Parrots end of show Jurong bird park Singapore

Red macaw parrot Jurong bird park Singapore
Beautiful design of nature

Macaw parrot closeup Jurong SingaporeI bought a pair of stuffed toy souvenirs, which at $15, the staff said was lower than what the stores were selling them for.

World of darkness Jurong bird park Singapore
Went in here next
World of darkness hall Jurong bird park Singapore
It was fairly chilly in here
Owl instructions Jurong bird park Singapore
No flash allowed, meaning it was going to be a challenge to shoot inside here. I wasn’t carrying my tripod either.
Snow owl Jurong bird park Singapore
Snow owl (I know the photo is slightly out of focus — it was hard trying to shoot handheld in near darkness)
Common barn owls Jurong bird park Singapore
Common barn owls
Common barn owl Jurong Bird Park Singapore
I had to stabilize my camera lens against the glass (gently) to take a steady shot
Malay Buffy fish owl Jurong bird park Singapore
Malay or Buffy fish owl

Night owl section Jurong bird park SingaporeΒ Night owl Jurong bird park Singapore

Great grey owl Jurong bird park Singapore
Check out this fella – the great grey owl
Eurasian eagle owl Jurong bird park Singapore
Eurasian eagle owl

I left the ‘World of Darkness’ and stepped back out into the light.

Jurong bird park walkway Singapore
I continued my walk
Monorail train Jurong Bird Park Singapore
The monorail train service (not included in the $18 ticket)

Heliconia walk sign Jurong Bird Park SingaporeTrain monorail track Jurong bird park SingaporeI walked to the section dedicated to smaller (and the none too exciting) birds.

Blue white Kingfisher bird Jurong Singapore
The lighting conditions weren’t getting better
White breasted kingfisher Jurong bird park Singapore
The clouds were getting darker and darker
Cockatiel cage Jurong bird park Singapore
And I was trying to shoot behind the cages
Blue breasted kingfisher Jurong bird park Singapore
These photos appeared darker, I made the adjustments in Photoshop as much as I could

And then… it began to rain!

Jurong bird park heavy dark rain Singapore
It rained so hard that the skies were really dark grey for quite some time (Took this photo on the phone as I kept my camera back in the bag)

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’.

Red legged seriema Jurong bird park Singapore
Water droplets kept hitting my DSLR even as I tried taking photos under the umbrella, so I kept my camera back in and tried taking photos using my phone instead…
Red fronted macaw Jurong bird park Singapore
… which wasn’t going to work out
Scarlet Ibis section Jurong bird park Singapore
Fortunately the next section I went to had a roof over it
Ibis section Jurong bird park Singapore
This section is mainly home to three species of birds

Ibis plover facts Jurong bird park SingaporeScarlet ibis pecking Jurong bird park Singapore

Scarlet ibis Jurong bird park Singapore
The Scarlet ibis
Straw necked ibis Jurong bird park Singapore
Straw necked ibis

Masked plover ibis Jurong bird park SingaporeStraw necked ibis section Jurong bird park Singapore

Scarlet ibis behind glass Jurong bird park Singapore
Just because the hall had a roof, didn’t mean the birds had one too. The glass was still wet.
Scarlet ibis next Jurong bird park Singapore
I tried my best to shoot behind the glass
Raining Jurong bird park Singapore
It was 1:30pm and I still had a lot more ground to cover
Jurong bird park after rain Singapore
It was a constant drizzle
Royal ramble Jurong bird park Singapore
Went in here next
Common crowned pigeons Jurong bird park Singapore
Crowned pigeons
Chain door Jurong bird park Singapore
It such a bitch to pass through these doors, given I was holding my umbrella with my left hand, my camera on my right and rain dripping from above
Bag umbrella Jurong bird park Singapore
This section fortunately had a proper roof and I could finally put down my bag and umbrella
Crowned pigeons Jurong bird park Singapore
They have three species of crowned pigeons here
Victoria crowned pigeons Jurong bird park Singapore
But unless you look closely at the design patterns above their heads, you can’t really tell them apart
Birds of paradise section Jurong bird park Singapore
I came to this elevated section next, dedicated to Bird of Paradise
Lesser bird of paradise tree Singapore bird park
It took me a while to spot it, but what a beautiful bird!
Lesser bird of paradise Jurong bird park Singapore
Had to take out the 70-200 lens for a closer look
Rain drops tree leaves Jurong bird park Singapore
It was still wet
Red bird of paradise Jurong bird park Singapore
I tried spotting this bird but I just couldn’t find it among the trees and plants
Hornbill toucan section Jurong bird park Singapore
Went to the hornbill section next
Rhinoceros hornbill Jurong bird park Singapore
Rhinoceros hornbill
Toucan caged Jurong bird park Singapore
Lighting conditions weren’t ideal in here and I was trying to take slightly longer shutter speeds while holding my heavy camera with the even heavier 70-200 lens mounted — with just one hand!

Hornbill heads Jurong bird park Singapore

Hornbill variety Jurong bird park Singapore
There were many other hornbill varieties, I just couldn’t manage to get good shots of them
Pied hornbill Jurong bird park Singapore
These were the few good shots I managed to capture
Monorail train Jurong bird park Singapore
I left the hornbills and moved on
Lory loft Jurong bird park Singapore
Went there next
Yellow flowers peacock statue Jurong bird park Singapore
Saw this at the train station across the Lory Loft
Jurong bird park lory loft parrots
Lories and lorikeets
Lories Jurong bird park Singapore
This section had a roof above, so I could put my umbrella down and take photos properly, using both hands!

Lory red feather close-up SingaporeLorie bird Jurong bird park SingaporeLorikeet bird on bottles Jurong bird park Singapore

Lory loft netted bridge Jurong bird park Singapore
I decided to walk the plank. This whole loft is netted. (Shot on the phone, panorama comprised of 4 shots)
Lory loft hanging bridge Jurong bird park Singapore
You come down via a spiral staircase to this hanging bridge
Lory loft Australia Jurong bird park Singapore
The Lory Loft seems to have been sponsored by the Australian Government
Lory loft outback life Jurong bird park Singapore
So they have facts and trivia about life in the Outback

Lory bird on pipe water drops SingaporeLorie bird tree branch Jurong bird park SingaporeLory red blue Jurong bird park Singapore

Lories on visitor Jurong bird park Singapore
You can pay extra to feed the birds, but it means the lories are surely going to be all over you

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.

Eagle section Jurong bird park Singapore
This section was for eagles
African fish eagle Jurong bird park Singapore
African fish eagles
Eagles like a boss Singapore
Sorry, I just had to
Hawk eagle Jurong bird park Singapore
I tried my best to shoot through these thick cage wires
Steller's sea eagle Jurong bird park Singapore
Steller’s sea eagle – the largest sea eagle in the world

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.

Dinosaur descendants ostrich Jurong bird park Singapore
‘Dinosaur Descendants’ – oooh, sounds exciting doesn’t it?
Ostrich sitting Jurong bird park Singapore
Ostriches, that’s all
Ostriches feeding bananas Jurong bird park Singapore
It was feeding time for them

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.

Test shot
I took this shot just to test the camera if anything else was wrong. The auto-focus worked fine which meants the lens wasn’t damaged internally.

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.

Singapore central fire station
The Central Fire Station, right opposite Funan IT mall

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.

Singapore Post building at night
The Singapore Post building, right next to Paya Lebar MRT
Geylang towards hawker centre Singapore
After asking a few people for directions (some of whom who just plain ignored me), I made my way towards the Geylang Serai market
Hawker centre closed tables Geylang Singapore
This hawker centre was closed… and it wasn’t even 8pm yet
Muslim converts association building Singapore
Muslim Converts Association of Singapore
Geylang Serai market at night road Singapore
Across the road is the Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre
Geylang Serai market at night Singapore
But as I walked towards it, some men who were loitering about there told me it was closed, and that it’s open only from morning until afternoon.

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.

Building behind spiral staircase chimney Singapore
Walked around some apartments
Hotel 81 Geylang classic building Singapore
Hotel 81 has quite a few branches in the area, this one looked rather nice though
Geylang road sign Singapore
After walking around a bit, I took the bus back to my area
Geylang football court Singapore at night
Saw this football field after I got down from the bus and walked back towards Aljunied MRT

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…

Mithun Divakaran injured hand Singapore
It wasn’t hurting much, but I couldn’t bend my fingers or my arm

Even having dinner was a challenge.Β  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.


Next posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 3 – Bukit Timah and Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore 2011: Day 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck

Singapore 2011: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 6 – F1 Saturday (Rick Astley, Shakira and Shaggy concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 7 – Little India, F1 Sunday race, Linkin Park concert and Avalon Club

Leaving Singapore, and discovering certain truths about this famous city state

Previous post in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 1 – Landing a second time; walking around CBD

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