Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

Sunday, 26 August 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Singapore
We visited the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. Its something that I had been meaning to go and see for the entire time I was in Singapore in 2005 but just never got arround to it. Its getting advertised quite a bit in Singapore at the moment, so that probably got me thinking about it again.

Setup in a roughly similar style as the Singapore Zoo, the park features themed areas, such as African Wetlands and Bird of Prey, with generally comfortable enclosures for the animals.

The diversity on display was impressive, and as always with birds, the range of colours and calls was breathtaking.

Particularly fun has the Bird of Prey show, where some trained falcons, hawks and vultures are taken through some simulated hutning situations and aireal acrobatics. A vulture with a 10 foot wingspan gliding inches above the assembled crowdwas very exciting.

USS Kitty Hawk (CV63) Visits Sydney

Friday, 6 July 2007 | link | tag | / Vehicles
The USS Kitty Hawk - the last of its kind of aircraft carrier, visits Sydney. We watched it pull in to port frm the office windows - a moving office building sized vessel.

Up close its bristling with armourments. You can see lining the edges depth charges, and the squat domes of CIWS (Close In Weapons Systems "Sea Whizz") sometimes called R2D2.

I'm not sure if they travel with all the planes and helipoters out on the flight deck normally, or if its just for show while they're in port. But certainly an impressive array of hardware. There must have been 30 F/A-18E/F's on the flight deck, along with various helicopters, AWCS planes and so on.

It was a gorgeous day in Sydney, but I don't think the Kitty Hawk drew quite the crowds that were expected. It was fairly quiet from what I could see.

Elephants and Bats, Khao Yai N.P.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
Our last day in Khao Yai, we stopped and feed the working elephants at one of the business in the Khao Yai area. We also heard tail of bat caves in the area, and tracked it down to a small side road. We assumed that the best thing would be to come back as dark was approaching - the bats would probably leave their caves for the night.

DId they ever. About 15 minutes after sunset, as th last of the light was dying from the sky, there was a roar, and a blurred streak in the darkening sky. The noise was from what must have been millions of bats leaving their caverns for the night. THe stream of bats waved across the sky like slow motion electricity, and the noise built to a peak and then quickly died down.

An awesome way to finish a holiday.

Khao Yai National Park, Narok Saew Falls

Tuesday, 17 April 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
We did a lot of walking in Khao Yai today. We need the loop walk from the HQ which takes in some amazing jungle and rope bridge.

We did the walk and climb down to Narok Saew falls "Fall to Hell" - named because elephants playing in the water at the top often fall to their deaths down the 60 metre waterfall.

60 metres on near verticle steps is a long way to go down, and and even longer way to climb back up again, but this water fall is absolutely worth it, its breathtaking.

Nam Now National Park

Saturday, 14 April 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
We took a day trip over to Nam Now national park, which is about 200 kms west of Nong Khai. It took us and age to get there, stopping for the water fights that were still n full swing along all the main roads.

The park was very good, with a number of easy walks into the forest and back from the main headquarters. Unfortuantely, none of the waterfalls were running.

Song Kran Festival & Kae Koo Museum

Thursday, 12 April 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
Dressed up in bright colors probably wasn't the wisest of moves on Song Khan day, Thai new year and water fight festival. Being large and brightly adorned, and in particular a foreigner, made us somewhat of a target of prestiege on what is a national water fight in Thailand.

We went to Kae Koo museum, a statue park. I'd been before but its so stunning its worth a second look. Besides, I wanted to see how it would look while I was wet.

Its all good fun though. Don't think I've seen anything like it - the whole country stops, then half the country throws a bucket of water at the other half of the country - all in fun. Supurb.

Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Monday, 9 April 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
Khao Yai (Big Mountains) national park, about 200 km north east of Bangkok was our 'half-way' rest stop on the drive to NongKhai. We stopped for lunch on the way just before reaching Khao Yai, had a spectacular meal, roast pork and chicken, and Pad Thai Khao Yai - a local speciallty and my new all time favourite dish.

Once we'd settled into the resort rooms, we hit the road into the park. Every few hundred meters after the checkpoint into the park, we had to stop for troupes of monkeys (gibbons) sitting about on the road, laying in ambush of tourists that might give them food.

The bush was very special, so rich and noisey with life, from chain-saw loud cicadas, to woop-woop-wooping gibbons and grasping leaches trying to latch onto your feet.

Bangkok, Thailand. Wat Pho and the Grand Palace

Saturday, 7 April 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
Our first day in Bangkok we did the tour of the Grand Palace and associated temples, in particular, Wat Pho. We saw the reclining buddha, the emerald Buddha and the gold Buddha - all equally amazing, and mind bogglingly beloved and popular. The detail and beauty of the statues at teh Grand Palace is a little hard to take in. Its very clear there are hundreds of thousands hours work in it over hundreds of years.

Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan

Wednesday, 21 February 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Japan
I spent an hour tramping about the outer grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, looking for the free tour of the inner grounds. Nevermind, I'll try harder when I have more time. Loved the Statue. No idea who its of yet.

Moreton National Park, NSW South Coast

Saturday, 13 January 2007 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
We took the day and drove down the South Coast road to Moreton National Park. We wanted to see either Pigeon House Mountain or the Tianjara Falls, and settled on the later as it wasn't quite to far. We did the usual, stopped at Berry for Famous (really) Doughnuts from the doughnut van. Damn their good. THe road though Moreton NP from Nowra to Braidwood is almost completely gravel at the moment - big roadworks, so it was slow going.

We made our way to the turnoff for the falls, though, and pulled up in a the carpark. There was a sign that pointed off intot he scrub with the 'lookout' symbol, so we donned hats, grabbed bags and water and generally got prepared to walk a ways, and low and behold we stepped into the bush and on the other side of the first layer of trees, there was the railing for the lookout!

Its been very dry, so the waterfall was only just running.

Some beautiful country through there. We continued on to Goldburn and came back by way of the Federal Highway out of Canberra. Overall a nice day out.

Bud is now 100% Australian, having eaten a Pie and a beer at an outback pub. Poor guy, we must have dragged him away from the cricket. He was not very happy.