Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A REAL TREE-HUGGER: I mentioned the other day that we got up close and personal with a mangrove bat viper in a mangrove forest in Langkawi. To show how close, here's a photo taken by our guide, Madi, on Katie Thorpe's digital camera. You can see the markings clearly as it hugs a branch, about four feet above the water level. The average length of these rascals is 0.7 to 0.9 meters. It has "heat-sensing pits" on its lips for detecting prey--often lizards and frogs. It is considered endangered in Singapore. We saw this one hundreds of miles north in Langkawi, Malaysia. It was enjoying a digestion-related sleep. It did not need to post a "Do Not Disturb" sign to keep us at bay.

A ROOM WITH A VIEW: I've shown views from the apartment (featuring those busy cranes and ships). Here's a view from Sandy's office on the 13th floor of Six Battery Road. The building sits on the side of the river that wends through town.
This view looks down on Boat Quay, upriver toward the Elgin Bridge, named for James Bruce (left), the 8th Earl of Elgin (hard G) and son of the Elgin who found his marbles. The sweeping shore on the left is filled with bars and restaurants. Close to the end of the bars nearest to Sandy's building is one of the 30 or so Harry's bars that have been established throughout the city. This one is particularly noteworthy. For one thing, I understand it's a good place to hear jazz. For another thing, it was the watering-hole-of-choice for rogue trader Nick Leeson, who brought 233-year-old Barings Bank to its knees. Harry's Quayside Bar doesn't hide the fact, featuring a signature cocktail called the Bank Breaker.

CRANE WATCHING: Here's the latest information related to the Singapore Crane Index Limited Economic Indicator. Today's indicator continues recent strong trends. (For those who want to put this in perspective, I've ordered a CHART from the media department of the International Association of Crane Counter(s). They're a bit overworked because they just came back from the annual meeting and ran into some overflowing in-boxes, but I hope to have something by tomorrow. "Sandy, do you know how to work this Excel thing......?"):

Date: Feb. 24
Time: 8:31 a.m. (Singapore time)
Cranes Up (bad): 7
Cranes Down (good): 21

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