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Creatures of the Night

As the sun goes down, the mystery is unveiled and the creatures of the night come alive. Singapore Night Safari starts at 7:15 pm. After finishing the trip of Singapore zoo, we rushed to the Night Safari ticket counter at 6 pm.  The prices of the ticket ($42.00) is inclusive of the tram ride.  I saw many people rushing towards Bongo Burgers to grab their seats for the Thumbuakar performance that starts at 7 pm.  The seats were strictly reserved only for those who dined at Bongo Burgers.  I decided to explore more eating options before the Safari starts.  As you walk past the Bongo Burgers and go inside further you see many street food options near the Ulu Ulu Safari restaurant.  Later after dinner, we walked back to where the Thumbuakar performances were about to start.  Due to the windy conditions, the 7 pm performance was cancelled and we decided to go inside and watch the first show of Creatures of the Night.

CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

The show starts with the guide explaining the audience about the nocturnal animals.  They also announce that the flash photography is prohibited throughout the night safari trip as in the long run, this may result in the animals going blind.  The star performer of the show is when they announce that an animal has gone missing and its hidden somewhere between the seats.  People started panicking and started checking underneath if there were any movements other than their own.  Suddenly I was startled as I sat to the extreme right of the stage and a bush beside me started shaking.  All of us stared at the bush for a while and the keeper rushed behind the scenes and grabbed the animal.  A huge python was seen clinging to the arms of the two keepers as they walked in the middle of the stage. I gulped looking at the size of the snake.  Glad that it was not hidden underneath the seats! The entire act was staged but imagine a scene where the python decides to have fun and slips beneath the seats from the bushes 😦 You will anyway come to know if it decides to give you a tight hug 😀

They later chose a person from the audience and without his knowledge, they put the heavy creature on his neck. Lights were suddenly out and the next thing you see is the man standing alone with the python wrapped on his neck like a garland.  The keepers decided to have fun and they left him there in dark for few minutes.  He stood there like a stunned man not knowing how to react.  Poor man, he looked like a yogi who was in state of deep meditation! Later the keepers came and removed the snake from his neck.  He started sweating profusely.  No words came from his mouth, luckily we could sense that his heart was pumping fine as he started wiping his forehead.

TRAM SAFARI RIDE

After the show, we rushed to the tram safari ride station. This is a guided tour where the tram takes you through seven geographical zones of the world.  The journey takes roughly about 40 minutes. Though the tram ride is slow and steady, it is impossible to get a decent photography in the dark. The lighting is artificial and bare minimum to make it resemble like a moonlight.  As you venture deep into the jungle, you hear occasional calls of the wild animals.

THUMBUAKAR SHOW

We disembarked the tram ride and rushed to the Thumbuakar Show. This show happens every hour. It also made sense to watch this show when it is pitch dark rather than watching the first 7 pm show.  I wanted to face the performers for better photographic shots rather than sitting on one side at Bongo Burgers.  Thumbuakar Show is a fire breathing performance performed not by dragons but by tribal people. It is amazing to see how the pyro warriors eat, breathe and play dangerously with the fire.  They light the torch and take a mouthful of fuel and spit out the mist of the fuel into the air trying to get the flame go out as far as possible.  The angle and the distance to spit the fuel on the already lit torch is very important as negligence may result in his face getting burnt.  The breather ensures that all the fuel is spit out and no fuel remains inside his mouth.  The fire breathers used different techniques to create different formations of flames.  Several breathers stood in a circle and spit the fuel upward. The flames thrown by each of the breathers aligned at one point and formed different patterns. One of the breather was also seen eating the fire when the lighted torch was inserted into his mouth.  The best act was when all the breathers stood in one line and one of the breathers spit the fuel and passed the flame to the next breather.  The second one in line spit the fuel and carried the flame further to the third breather.  The flame floated in air as the breathers started ‘handing over’ the same flame till it reached the last breather.

WALKING TRAILS

After the show, we headed back to the gates and proceeded towards the Walking Trails. There are four walking trails in the night safari – East Lodge Trail, Leopard Trail, Wallaby Trail and Fishing Cat Trail.  All the trails are interconnected to each other. One can spot Malayan Tigers, Lions, Clouded leopards, Hyenas and so on. I felt the ‘Deshi Basara’ moment from the Batman movie when I walked into the Mangrove Trail and saw bats hanging upside down. Fortunately it didn’t fly above my head as in the movie 😀

Night Safari is unique in its own way.  When you walk into the dark, you feel a sense of uncertainty surrounded by wild man eaters.  The sheer lack of daylight makes you feel vulnerable and more alert with the surroundings. The lack of light also made it impossible to capture those moments in the camera.  I could hear the mischievous laugh of hyenas making me aware of the fact that I was an intruder in their territory and potentially their food!

Copyright ©2016, Lakshmi Nair . This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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