Today I went to the Bali Bird Park. Wow. That was SO amazing. I have never seen birds like that so up-close and personal. It was incredible. I cannot say enough good things about this bird park. I am not a bird-watcher or a bird photographer, but still, I loved it. I happened to be there during feeding time, which was fortuitous, because the birds are much easier to see then. The jewel of the collection apparently is the ground hornbill (I think I have that name right). He’s a big black bird with a vermillion orange gullet with a sharp black beak like 1950s office scissors, and he is called a ground bird because he runs after his food rather than flying after it. Big powerful bird, must have weighed over 20 pounds at least. I saw him being fed mice, and he tossed them back like he was ready for a lot more.
The park has the birds in large cages, but also has many that are simply able to roam the grounds and others that stay in large tents. There are two big tents (one each for different regions of the world) and an owl house too. Inside the big tents was incredible. But just walking around was pretty neat too – even saw a Komodo Dragon coming out from under the bridge I was walking over, and stopped to take his picture. Big old fellow. There were big African crown cranes, and the largest breed of flamingoes and also some rather large pelicans just out and about, plus an old hornbill that was not two feet away from me allowing me to take his picture. All I could think when I was watching it all was “God is great”. The mascot of the park is the Bali white sparrow, with a blue mask about the eye. Lovely bird. And many people also come to see the “birds of paradise” familiy of birds. The golden one I got a good look at is the male Bali bird of paradise.
I also went to a silversmithing village, met some silversmiths and did a little shopping for my mother (yes you Mom!). It was neat to see the women making the beads there and also to see how they did it. I got a short tour. I learned that the reason the southeast Asian silver is so white is because they use fresh tamarinds as a polish and the juice turns the silver white. Everything there is still done by hand and very well done, I might add. I thought the quality was very high. We’ll see what Mom says. Bargaining was not so easy though as they do a lot of fixed-price stuff at this place, but it was still far, far cheaper than the big place up the road, U. C. Silver. UC Silver had guards out front, and down the lane even, and the whole shop was totally full of people from two cruise lines wearing placards around their necks announcing what ship they were part of. Oy. Prices were astronomical, and while the work was original, of good quality, and very pretty, I just could not justify that kind of money for silver jewelry. It was bordering on prices I’d pay at the US gem show for white gold. But the cruisers were bellying up to the bar and handing over money like it was nothing. Ah, well, they must have been employed!
On the way back from the shopping, it started to rain. And still now it is raining. A lot. I mean, really raining. Almost as much as Kuala Lumpur monsoon rains, I think. It’s been going on for at least an hour now. I hope it quits tonight because I don’t think I can go out in this and get dinner. Good thing I packed some granola bars and the apples in my room in Singapore. I might have to picnic this evening.