Sunday, September 27, 2009


After my 26 hour visit to Singapore, we went back to Japan. English is not the primary language over there so I didn't understand anything. It actually wasn't that hard to order food at restaurants since they either spoke some English there or had a menu in English. I went to a bunch of castles and temples which was cool.

One place had a bunch of sacred deer wandering around the grounds. Most of these deer were accustomed to people so you could pet and hang out with them. There were vendors selling crackers to feed the deer. As soon as you buy the crackers, you are swarmed by deer. I was trying to break off pieces and slowing feed them, but a couple were biting my shorts and I just wanted to get rid of the crackers and not feel like I was about to get mauled. One of the deer looked nasty because he was very dirty for an unknown reason with 1 antler and was coughing (tuberculosis?). There he is:

We visited an aquarium there which was actually a good size. The highlight there was getting to pet a walrus. At the end of the show, the walruses walked (not sure if that's the correct term for how they move) by the audience. I also learned that those animal shows at aquariums and zoos are not as interesting when you have no idea what the animal trainer is saying.

On, my last day in Japan we went to a safari park. This was one of the coolest experiences of my life. It was basically a drive-thru zoo and the animals were free to walk next to your car. Giraffes walked right next to our car and stopped traffic. Lions and tigers were also roaming freely. You weren't supposed to roll down windows, but it was necessary to get good pictures at times. At the park, they also had more zoo-like exhibits. Some highlights were the rats swimming with the hippos, feeding the squirrel monkeys and springhares, and petting the wallabies.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I know school has started a few weeks ago, but this is my first chance to write something. I will try to catch up this blog in between studying over the next week. Warning: this is not directly vet school related. Anyways, my only vacation this summer was going to Japan, Singapore, and Cambodia for a couple weeks. Research and jobs ate up the rest of my summer.

This was my first international trip. To start off, I flew 13 hours to Japan where I had about an hour layover before I left for Singapore. This first flight was not that bad. The flight to Singapore was 7 hours and the last 3 hours were the hardest. I don't sleep well on planes and I was trying to stay awake so I could sleep when I got there at 2 AM. I was only in Singapore for 26 hours before flying back to Japan. We went to the Singapore Zoo during the day and a Night Safari that evening. The Zoo was cool - white tigers were the best and it's probably right up there with the San Diego Zoo. I was slightly disappointed because I had read about how they used natural barriers instead of fences for the animals and I expected to get amazing pictures of all the animals. Sadly, there were a lot more fences than I expected. The best part was being able to pet the lemurs - they were roaming in the bird and bat area that you walk through. One was just chilling while we were petting it so I decided to start palpating anatomical landmarks. So I started with the spine of the scapula and the borders going to the humerus and I stopped when it snapped at my sister-in-law. Lesson 1: Lemurs don't like to be palpated. Another lemur was walking across a log above the path when it stopped, looked my way, and appeared to be getting ready to leap. There was only this small branch right above me that it surely wasn't going to jump onto. Lesson 2: Lemurs will leap onto seemingly too small of branches. It jumped, landed on the branch and swung into me. It let me pet it as it sat on the branch so we were cool even though it smacked me with a branch.

The Night Safari was cool, but we couldn't take pictures. This was probably the place I read about with the natural barriers and very few fences. It was cool to see the animals do their thing in the dark as they were looking for food and wandering around. However, it was a lot of walking in one day and we didn't see all the animals because we were tired and couldn't find the rest of the path.

Overall, Singapore was cool because it was so clean and green. Granted, there's some harsh punishments for chewing gum, littering, and jay-walking. The Zoo was still really cool and filled up the whole day with no problem. It was a good start to my first international experience.