Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pulau Hantu 6 March 2006

In case you think I might have converted to the 'other side (of the world's oceans)' and gone completely Caribbean, I still rather miss diving in good ole Singapore! So I haven't ever seen a hammerhead or 30m vis, but there're sea slugs! allied cowries! sea whip shrimps! and so much more...such as the little critters below!

And yes, the photos were taken a year ago...yes, I know I'm very slow when it comes to editing and posting photos. I'm working on it, 'kay?

See how clear the water was!

I miss seeing corals...

...and branching Acropora too...

Allied cowries were everywhere on the seabed!

In pretty colours matching their sea whip hosts

Except, erm, for this one. We surmised that it could be colour-blind...

Colourful flatworms were commonly seen too

Flatworm and sea squirt

This was a large one!

And smaller sea whip shrimps too

Really love sea slugs...they are so cute!

Zee got very excited about this phyllid. That's her finger there showing you how big it was.

Could it be? Cephalopod eggs?

Nervous crab...

The iconic Icon Star of Pulau Hantu

Sea pen

And yes, I photograph vertebrates too...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Black hole...

Looks like I'm spending the weekend in Wilmington after all! Short of a miracle happening in the next two hours...but...nah, I don't think so...I have a better chance of striking 4-D with the licence plate number of the driver who struck my car and then refused to pay for the damages.

So much for my visa being approved this week...I found out yesterday that visas have to be approved by the Security Council in Panama, and they only meet once a week. If my application wasn't considered this week, it's shifted to the next. Why only tell me now? Why can't they just tell me when the meeting date was? I was expecting my visa to maybe come in today, and paid %#$%#$@^ $280 to change my flight to tomorrow. And I have to change it again? How much more must I pour down this black hole? Plus I don't even know if and when my ^$#^$%^#@$%^$ visa will be approved. Felt like smashing a multitude of breakable crockery last night, I'm so frustrated!

Looks like I'm just not fated to learn about sponge taxonomy. Sigh.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bo pian...

After a morning of extreme confusion (and trauma...for I was thoroughly roasted for my oral exam), finally worked out a possible avenue for the whole Panama visa issue. Called the consulate in Washington, and it turns out that I'm not supposed to be able to enter Panama without a visa. So much for the 'leave the visa at the Panama airport' idea. The moderately better news is, that my visa is supposed to be approved by the end of this week, latest latest. So say I get the approval on Friday, if I can persuade the consulate to return my passport through express delivery, I'll get it on Saturday, be able to fly on Sunday, and catch the early morning internal flight to Bocas on Monday, thus only effectively missing 2 days of the course. Phew. Now if only things were a little more confirmed...for e.g., at least tell me what date you can give the approval! Each ticket change with Delta would cost me at least $200, sigh....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I feel like beating my head against the wall...

So I've been emailing the Smithsonian External Affairs i/c in an effort to see if my visa could get approved and my passport returned before I'm due to leave on Thursday. Now it seems like I have to request for an overnight delivery of my passport from D.C., without the visa in it, and for my visa to be sent to the airport in Panama (if it gets approved by then...else, I guess I might be deported...). The story doesn't end there. Even though the visa is approved, I can't get it attached at the airport immigration. They have to confiscate my passport, and I have to go to the Immigration office to pick it up after 2 working days. My connecting flight is supposed to be on Friday, 3pm, and the course starts on Saturday morning. Apparently I can't fly without my passport too. If I wait till Monday, I'll miss 3 days of lessons. And it's the intro to sponge taxonomy and morphology too! Sighs... All these madness, while I'm trying to study for the oral exam on Monday and keeping the 'big picture' of marine biology in mind...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A rather cheena dinner

昨晚终于煮了三菜一汤的晚餐. It was something that always seemed a little overly sumptuous for one person, so that's one of the advantages of having a roommate! There was chai-poh omelette, stir-fried mustard greens (tasted like old chye sim) with garlic and mushrooms, steamed tofu with radish pickled in chili oil, and some egg drop soup leftover from 2 days ago. Really a lot of 'cheena' taste in there :). No photos, cos we were both too famished!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Blood pressure rising again

Had a very tiring weekend shifting bulky and heavy items to my new domicile, trying to hook up the washer and dryer, and just crashed last night surrounded by boxes and piles of my stuff. Just when I thought the stressful part is more or less over and I can start studying for my oral exam, I called the Panamanian consulate this morning to ask when I can get my passport back. Horrors of horrors- the lady on the line said that it's in Panama now and not to expect it for 1 1/2 months! The course would be over by then!! ARRGAHAGHHGHGHG.... GAAAAHHHHH.... My only recourse is to ask the Smithsonian to call the immigration department in Panama and see if they could speed things up, plus somehow pass my passport back to me by next Wednesday...gaaaaaakkkkk.......

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sailing to Byzantium

Poetry is my solace, and my refuge...

(WB Yeats)
THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.