Friday, October 19, 2007

Semi Solid, but Mostly Fluid

"Ah, you're early for the next class."

Dr Vinod C. Nayak to Joon Keat,
when he came in 15 minutes late
for a General Toxicology lecture

The title of this post does not refer to the consistency of my faeces, no matter what you might have heard.

The last you will hear of Penang from me, I promise. Afternoon of Day 4.

Some animals are naturally cute...

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Please, don't eat me.

...while some animals look like an uncircumcised penis.

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Right after our far-side-of-Penang sojourn, we voted on visiting one last tourist attraction of the island before we leave for keeps. The place in question is reputed to be one of the oldest temple in the whole state of Pulau Pinang. I present to you the Cheng Shui Giam, or Temple of the Azure Cloud - more popularly known by the locals, tourists and cheesy, colour-saturated Visit Penang brochures as the Snake Temple;

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Oh er. Huh?

... which was closed to visitors due to some restoration project that was going on.

Considering that we got lost in the industrial district of Bayan Lepas for a whole half-an-hour after a series of weird turns which we rightly should have known better than to take, reaching and finding that the joint was closed nearly made me want to bite a snake. The only part of it that was open was a side shrine and a booth where visitors can pose in a picture with one of the scaly critters (the species of which I have neglected to note because I was so bloody disappointed over the whole affair) in exchange for some legal tender. Where were the oodles and oodles of incense-pacified deadly pit vipers that are said to litter the place? Where was the Snake Pool? Where was the souvenir stand selling "I Heart Snake Temple" T-shirts and "Snake Temple Rocks!" novelty badges?1 Oh, I'm so pissed of that I won't even tell you about the history of the temple. Go and google it yourself.

The only other thing that was not off-limits to us was some sort of snake exhibition, and seeing that there was absofuckinglutely nothing else for us to do, we paid the admission fee and trooped right in.

The "exhibition" was a depressing little courtyard with terrariums built into the walls - which was what we expected really. The reptile section of the Butterfly Farm in Malacca is actually many times bigger - and they don't even specialise in ophidians!2 Also expected was the associated boredom one gets from seeing glass cases after glass cases of serpents - they aren't the liveliest creatures in the animal kingdom, y'know.

The only one we saw moving was this cute little mauve-and-lemon albino-something snake;

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ALL snakes should have pastel coloured scales, in my opinion. Makes them look so awfully cuddly.

The rest of them just sits on their big, fat scaly ass waiting for their second meal of the year;

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Stunt-roach dares!

Besides snakes, there are also a variety of terrapins and rabbits (pictures at the start of this post) left to roam freely in the courtyard. I bet Monty above is just waiting for one of the dumber bunnies to hop close enough to his cage for him to go Godzilla on it.

On a more serious note, I felt that the exhibition was poorly operated and the snakes were quite badly taken care of by whoever's running the place. I think that is evident from this picture of a viper with some sort of rot or blister that burst out from under its scales;

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Viper vith vart.

And frothing at the mouth is never good news, no matter what sort of animal you are;

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Rabid serpent.

Snakes however, do not get rabies and the closest snakey disease I managed to find out about which involves frothing at the mouth is pneumonia - a result of too much humidity.

Whenever I see any snakes in the past, great or tiny - whether they are coiled and asleep in a display case or draped calmly around a handler's hand or neck - they have always given me an impression of great poise with their cold, calculating, unblinking eyes, and their long, sinuous bodies of liquid perfection. They are hunters, molded so tightly into their predatory specialties over countless years of evolution that they no longer even need legs.

In short, they are fucking awesome.

Seeing these wretched specimens in that knockoff snake carny just made me feel sorry for them. Some local animal rights activists ought to take a look into this.

Anyway, we left after spending about half an hour in the Snake Temple and headed for open freeway terrain again. To complete the Penang experience, we left the island via one of the longest bridges in the world, and one of our nation's most beloved landmarks;

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The Penang Bridge - picture taken from the open window of the passenger seat of my car.

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Bye bye, Penang.

It was nice knowing you.

I heart Penang,
k0k s3n w4i

Other posts in my Great Penang Road Trip series:

1 Actually, I just wished that there is a souvenir stand selling "I Heart Snake Temple" T-shirts and "Snake Temple Rocks!" novelty badges. It would be so freaking cool to wear stuff like that.
2 It's a way of saying "snake", without actually saying "snake". Perfect for people who talks with a lisp.


bevE said...

1. bunny so cute

2. dickhead. xD

3. dickhead so cute

4. i been to snake temple! twice! x_x some traveller/sightseer (?) u call urself T^T

5. blister. xD

6. frothing. xD

7. rabid serpent. ! xD

8. i like last pic

9. i dont like ending sentences

10. u're gaining ur touch back

11. u're losing ur touch again

bevE said...


13. guess what year i'm born in ?! =D and dun say to evewyone T^T

gaL said...

haha. Your lecturer's damn sarcastic.

Pity your poor friend. =)

CarmenK said...

Yep yep. Snakes are cool alright. But the last one I had wrapped around me nearly killed me with its weight. x_x

Lisa said... are u?
I really pity those snakes specially with the wound. And any animals that are kept in cages but are not given proper care.

michelleg said...

ewww, rabid serpent and that blister thingy, omg...

k0k s3n w4i said...

2. dickhead. xD
What the hell?
And how is snakes frothing at the mouth and having warts on their scales xD-worthy? Sadist T^T

Well, it made for a good LOL moment for the rest of us xD

Ooh, what sort? A reticulated python o_0?

Ah, haven't seen you here for awhile. I have to agree with you. I'd never keep a pet which I have to locked up in a small case. It's gonna be either dogs or cats for me.

Precisely. Free the snakes!