I went there two years ago, I was hungover and let me tell you that hiking in a humid jungle hungover with the temperature at 93 or so and humidity near 80% is not fun. Of course, I did see bearded pigs, a green viper of some sort, and plenty of proboscis monkeys. There was another species of monkey that I didn’t get a chance to see, but oh, well.
I saw this mother and her child at the Semenggok Rehabilitation Center near Kuching, Malaysia in June 2011. I moved as close as I dared. She gave me a sidelong glance when I guess I got too close. I didn’t see the big males that sometimes came to this sanctuary, but I saw plenty of young orangutans. I also saw tree shrews that were way too fast for me and my point-and-shoot camera.
Macaque hanging out in Agra. The first time I saw wild monkeys was in Cambodia, and man was I excited. I showed my teeth to a macaque in Penang, Malaysia (I have the photo) and he came at me. While I don’t get excited seeing one or two long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) big groups make me smile and seeing new species definitely get me worked up. m
This is a swami I met on the train I took from Varkala to Sasan Gir Forest. He was a Hindu holy man, I had gotten onto the train late, so I hadn’t met my roommate. I was just waking up when one of the workers on the train came into the cabin to ask him a question. I don’t know what language they spoke, but the swami handed the man some money. Then another man came and I sat up. After they had their discussion and the holy man gave the porter some rupees, I introduced myself. His name was Swami Keshawanandji. I know this because I kept his business card. He asked me if I knew so-and-so from Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego county and I replied that I did not. I asked him if he spoke Sanskrit and he said he was fluent in Sanskrit. I asked him to conjugate ‘to eat’ in Sanskrit and he began to speak of cosmological nonsense. I asked him how many declensions there were in Sanskrit and he told me how gods were at one time or another “Generators, Operators and Destructors.”
A hotelier came in and asked if she could sit on my bed. I was still dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and I hadn’t even shaved yet. Of course I let her. Not that I felt like John Lennon nor did she resemble Yoko Ono, being a high caste Indian lady who complained of her lazy pre-arranged husband, but taking visitors whilst in bed reminded me of that picture where they’re having a revolution in their bed. She graciously invited me to stay at her expensive hotel and I said yes, but I had no intention of going.
After she left I asked the swami to at least tell me how to say ‘dog’ in Sanskrit (so I could compare it to the same word in other Indo-European languages, cu (Irish), canis (Latin), hound (English), caboka (Russian).
He never told me.
Two sleeping Asian lions. These are two Asiatic lions I saw in Sasan Gir Forest in India in December 2011. The picture is not awesome. I only had my Sony camera which does not have much of a zoom. If I could have gotten out of the jeep I could have taken a much better photo. The guide pleaded with me not to leave the confines of the vehicle, so I stayed inside. Nonetheless I saw two of the remaining 400 or so Asiatic lions.
I went to Old Chengdu with some colleagues and students a few nights ago. It is my favorite restaurant in Singapore. My personal favorite dishes are the twice-cooked pork with bell peppers and the shrimp balls with green beans. The pork is spicy and delicious. The meat is pork belly and it is chewy and perfect. The shrimp balls are not spicy, but the liquor they are cooked in is intensely flavorful and the shrimp are fresh and sweet. The kung pao chicken is great, too. Washed down with Tsungtao beer, I recommend this place in Chinatown.
Wednesday night I took some students to the red light district, Geylang, to eat frog porridge. For some reason, that’s where the best restaurants which serve frog are. I’d meant to go to another one, but He Ping Claypot had a deal- buy three frogs, get two free. So two were made without chilies and three with. The frog was softer than I had had previously. It was more fishlike in texture, rather than chickeny. The porridge was better than the stuff I get from the coffee shop nearest my apartment. It had scallions, ginger and sesame oil added.