Friday, January 20, 2012

Pulau Ubin Island- tropical paradise of mosquitoes (Singapore)

Tiny, tropical Pulau Ubin Island, lies a kilometer off Singapore and despite only being a ten square kilometers, has a total of fifty million inhabitants; mosquitoes.
Slated for development to create new touristic resorts several years ago, the Singaporeans successfully stood up to the government, (which runs in similar manner to a corporation) stating that they did not want all of nature paved over. Believe it or not, Singapore Inc. listened, and Pulau Ubin remains a tiny remnant of rain forest.
Approaching tropical Lantau Island from a boat

Approaching a tropical island and its lush vegetation is always a sight to behold.
Pulua Ubin Island

I disembark the ferry, having brought enough food and water to spend the rest of the day exploring, and excitedly set off. Parts of the island are like a botanical garden, the vegetation planted, labeled, and maintained.
beautiful leaves
I walk a hundred meters and find myself surprised to be back in Los Angeles, I’m in the middle of a movie set, actors dressed in the royal clothes of ancient China converse in some odd language (I’m guessing Chinese.) ... I stand and watch for a moment, something feels wrong-
SWAT! Instinctively I slam my hand on my arm. A small mosquito is squashed, literally into a bloody pulp. Swarming around me are dozens more, all eagerly awaiting clearance from air traffic control to land. I engage in a mosquito dance, waving my arms and jumping around trying to scare the swarm of beasts away so I can make a run for it.
such a cool tree
Sprinting away I start laughing, glad that these little vampires are as slow of flight as they are of mind. I’m safe here, I stop to catch my breath. Immediately I'm engulfed by a new set of angry blood suckers.
tropical fauna
Run away from one swarm, and another would find me.
I happen upon a group of teenagers who’ve just begun backpacking from a campground they appear where they appear to have stayed the previous night. I can’t imagine this tiny island paved with several roads, which can be mapped entirely in a matter of hours, could be preparing them for any real hardships or teaching them survival skills, other than the practice of wearing mosquito repellent. I walk beside them trying to lose my tail. 
the waterlogged island 
As I explore further, photography becomes a chore, as I almost have to take snap my camera on the run to keep from being boarded by these little terrorists. Stopping for lunch, or pausing to meditate in my lush surroundings are non-starters.
After a couple hours I give up and head back for the ferry, realizing the real reason the government didn’t pave over the entire island is not because it finally listened to its people, but rather the land surveyors were repelled by the vast army of buzzing mosquitoes. At least someone’s finally standing up for nature. SWAT!
looking up at the jungle canopy

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