Mom and I went to Sungei Buloh, Singapore’s oldest wetlands reserve. It is notable for its mangrove swamps, its mudflats (which attract migratory birds), and its very cool bird blinds:
We saw all sorts of animals: huge monitor lizards and tiny bats, as well as fish and mudskippers and birds galore. We also saw crocodiles!
The first croc we saw was a tiny baby. You can see it at the base of the tree here if you look closely:
We saw much larger crocodiles later — at least three of them — and we stayed to watch them for a long time. Unfortunately, they were too far away for my camera to do them justice. But if you feel like searching, look in the water at the right-hand side toward the bottom of this photo:
See the shadow that looks like a stick? That’s a crocodile. And it looks pretty boring until it runs into another crocodile (why one didn’t sense the other, we have no idea) — and then both crocs leap into action, one flipping up and into the water while the other runs away as fast as it can along the river bank. Later on we saw a giant crocodile sitting with its huge pink mouth wide, wide open, and some nice photographers let us look through their enormous scopes all the way to the croc’s enormous back teeth.
These handy signs tell you to watch out for crocodiles, but nowhere did I see anything that might tell us what to do if we actually ran into one.
Like mother, like daughter — mom enjoys plants as much as I do, so we also stopped to see the flowers:
This is Singapore, so they’ve built all sorts of paths through the wetlands. This one goes over the mangrove swamp:
And a strange rope bridge takes you to see tiny little mud crabs:
Should you ever find yourself at Sungei Buloh, know that they have vending machines that sell just about everything, from bottled drinks and energy bars to mosquito repellant and sunblock — and, of course, an ever-useful model of a VW bus:
Our next stop that afternoon was Bollywood Veggies, an organic farm that’s out in the same sort of middle-of-nowhere part of Singapore known as Kranji. This area has the only significant farms I know of in Singapore. The mission of Bollywood Veggies is painted on one of their hundreds of signs:
The owner of Bollywood Veggies likes all things related to going back to nature, including something I have seen nowhere else in Singapore:
We decided it was way too hot, muggy, and buggy to even contemplate this invitation, but we thought it was fascinating. “The Sanctuary” is a giant lotus pond:
Bollywood Veggies is especially fun for the signage:
The owner likes the old, “kampong” (village) way of life …
… and she hates politicians and cellphones:
We took the owner up on one of her suggestions…
… with each of us eventually taking turns with the rake:
We also played on the homemade swings, admired the many fruits and veggies, and took rests in the chairs provided along the way:
And of course I spent time with the flowers:
Mom and I tried to leave the Kranji area by taking the Kranji Express, a small bus that does a loop around the area (largely for tourists and workers). But we took the bus in the wrong direction and ended up exactly where we did not want to be: the Jurong Frog Farm.
This is exactly what it sounds like: a place where they raise 10,000 American bullfrogs so that Singaporeans can eat them for dinner.
We found this place sad and could not wait to leave.
On the very other end of the wildness spectrum from Sungei Buloh and Bollywood Veggies, Mom and I paid a visit to the National Orchid Garden, which is part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
The orchids are always spectacular.
This garden is, of course, manicured to within an inch of its perfect, beautiful life.
It’s a good place to start playing with the camera.