Sumatran Smoke In Singapore

smoke 1

There really isn’t a cloud in the sky! It is all smoke and you can see the sun (faintly) behind the street light.

I had planned to work on my project and take breaks every day or so to sort of fill in the blanks in terms of places I haven’t visited yet or those I haven’t fully explored. Well, that isn’t really working too well due to an unexpected invasion of smoke! Apparently, slash and burn land clearing is alive and well in Sumatra and guess which way the wind blows the smoke! Sumatra is only around 150 miles from here, so it gets here pretty much intact. The air has been classified as unhealthy since last Friday and I am pretty sure today is essentially over the top. Supposedly this happens sometimes, but this is the worst it has been in 16 years. Particulates in the air are something like 5 or 6 times what they should be. Everything smells like smoke and your eyes, throat and lungs hurt if you are outside for more than a couple of minutes. People are wearing masks and I am close to buying one! And, of course, for the first time since I have been here, there is no rain in sight!

Sightseeing is a bit problematic when you can’t breathe or actually see the sights, so I am sort of locked up in my little place. I have even had to stick a towel along the edge of the door to outside because the smoke was coming in and I had some trouble breathing a few nights ago. There is no end in sight and now there are diplomatic wars over the smoke. I guess it is becoming an economic issue on top of a health problem. Business at restaurants and food vendors with outdoor seating is off by 30% or more and I can’t imagine tourists are doing much venturing about outside.

I did get out a bit last week before it got too bad and on Saturday morning, June, Katie and I went for what will probably be our last trek together. We hiked at Bukit Timah, which is where the highest point in Singapore is. It is a beautiful nature reserve with lots of trails and areas of primary rain forest. It was very pretty, but a tough trek, up and down trails and stairs, in the usual 90+ degree temps and high humidity, accompanied by a dose of smoke! Yesterday, Ruth and I had a guided tour of the Science Center with one of the physics teachers who works there. It was a lot of fun and I got some great ideas. Most of all, there was no smoke and, believe it or not, there was snow!

quarry

Bukit Timah

Snow City

You aren’t allowed to take pictures of the snow, but here’s the gift shop!!

 

MRT Head Holder

An MRT Head Holder from a fun invention display at the Science Center. I always wonder how people wake up at their stop!

This is the Southern most point of continental Asia on Sentosa Island in Singapore

This is the Southern most point of continental Asia on Sentosa Island in Singapore

 

FF 2

National Day practice on Sentosa

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