Saturday, August 07, 2004

there are woodpeckers in Singapore

birdwatching with dad this morning. it's a saturday morning, v early, and as the alarm goes off, i ask myself for the umpteenth time why i am volunteering to get up even earlier than usual (than usual for going to work, that is) to go to Kent Ridge Park and look at birds. grouchily, i drag myself through the morning routine and slouch downstairs, and we are off.

first birds spotted were a bunch of your friendly neighbourhood mynahs, squabbling over the remains of someone's picnic (for all that Singapore is a Fine city and 'oh it's so clean here!', Singaporeans are a messy inconsiderate bunch when it comes to public spaces) and strutting all over the grassy patch in that strangely predatory straight-backed (as if birds could be any other way) way of theirs. almost like they were psychotic butlers, come to think of it.

next on the list: a small group of thrush, spotted because of the terrific ruckus they were kicking up in the tree nearby. four of them -what appeared to be two pairs- largish birds with bright beady clever eyes, brown bodies and a startlingly white, oddly-shaped head. on closer inspection, the odd shape turned out to be a fluffy, crazy-Elvis crest. they pranced over to the meal the mynahs had abandoned, employing a funny bouncey-hop that made them look like they were walking in a low-to-null gravity environment. they're funny birds. noisy, too.

then the woodpecker: a large brown-bodied bird with a bright red head. perched on the side of a treetrunk twenty feet away, staring at us in bemusement. it was early yet; perhaps it -like me- has trouble waking up in the morning. but just as dad got the camera ready to take its picture, it started up and flew away. silly creature. that was the last we saw of woodpeckers today.

the rest of the morning involved lots of little flitty sunbirds zooming around doing little sunbirdy things, pigeons sunning themselves in the trees, with their i-just-flew-into-a-wall stunned look on their faces (i think they're real stupid birds) , and finding more thrush and mynahs, but no woodpeckers. oh, and we saw what looked like a sea eagle or hawk of some kind, but it floated away around the hill toward the water, and disappeared.

i've just rounded up the day by cooking dinner for my parents: that herb-butter baked chicken that i've made before, and the mesclun salad with oranges and basalmic vinegrette dressing that janice taught me. not too bad, though am startled by the dearth of what i have come to consider 'regular' parts of my cooking in chicago. however, as mom pointed out to me, i am back in Asia now, and cannot expect to find (a) cheap fresh herbs like rosemary and tarragon; and (b) beef consomme in the Campbell's instant soup section of the local Cold Storage. i shall have to learn to cook asian/chinese food all over again when i return.


At 10:26 AM, August 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree! I can cook in the US and in Japan right now but not in Singapore. I think i need to live alone for a while before I learn to cook in a country.- C

At 9:24 AM, August 10, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. When you cook at home you have a hundred and one people throwing in their 2 cents worth (that's $2.02 btw). And given how Singaporeans like to complain (myself included), it's generally quite hard to get many positives out of them.
- LX


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