Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 10

Today the class went to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. We arrived early to beat the heat. The park featured waterside and rainforest trails, a tall observation tower and a canopy bridge. We encountered many colorful butterflies, flowers, at least two groups of macaques (monkeys), water monitor lizards, snakes, and squirrels. Nearby we could hear the Singaporean military firing artillery for training and flying Chinook helicopters, but otherwise the park was filled with only the sounds of cicadas and other rain-forest critters. The trails were rather strenuous, totaling over 15km (9 miles). Luckily we discovered a ranger station with water right as my camelback ran out of water. The only bad thing about carrying water in a bladder inside a backpack is you can't always be sure how best to conserve it, suddenly the tube runs dry.

Walking back we came along side the Singapore Island Country Club, which was located next to the park but accessible by the nice, shiny cars many Singaporeans drive. There were golf courses rather close to the reservoir, with little to no buffering vegetation.  We attempted to find out from the park rangers how they manage the border to the park, but they were unsure or only knew of the neighboring properties fences and signs.  The water in the reservoir is obviously treated before being used by many Singaporeans, but eutrophication can be a problem if excessive inorganic nutrients leach from golf courses.  We saw some workers removing algae from an area where a stream entered the reservoir.  

As a (used) car enthusiast, I was shocked to see cars less than 5 years old cut into pieces at junkyards near the Kranji part of the island earlier. Here there are heavy taxes on cars and the right to re-register a car to drive it again after 10 years can be expensive. The result overall fewer more efficient, shiny cars, but at a heavy price tag.  I am unsure whether the cars I saw junked were wrecks.  It seemed like a treasure trove of spare parts nonetheless.

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