Friday, December 17, 2010

Monkeys suck their thumbs too

I was walking back to my car after having lunch at the Kuala Lumpur bird park today when I spotted a monkey on a waste bin across the road eating banana skins from the bin. I took a few photographs as she had a cute baby monkey hanging onto her chest. When I got back to the hotel in the evening, I downloaded the photos onto my laptop. On a larger screen the baby didn’t look quite so cute (their faces look like old men!) but I noticed it was sucking its thumb. I guess that must be something that monkey babies and human babies have in common.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Water views, but caveat emptor

We arrived in Manila today after an 11 hour flight from Honolulu - the last leg of our four and a half months' trip around the Pacific. As we were flying in over Laguna de Bay, I noticed that a new sub-division of houses had been built on low lying land close to the water. Up until now I had only seen predominantly squatter homes in this area.

Why on earth would the local authorities permit building on such flood prone land? It is not long since Manila was devastated by floods, and there has been so much debate since then about the need to build away from flood prone areas because of global warming and rising sea levels, yet new homes are continuing to be built in areas that will be at risk of inundation by water in future years.

It was difficult to see from the air exactly how high above the surrounding water the houses have been built, so I shouldn't be too critical until I have had a look at the area from the ground. So I made a note to go and have a look at this sub-division in the next wet season. Might make an interesting case study.