Smoke on the water, fire in the sky, etc etc etc.

Paravanda Nelson Mandela, originally uploaded by Shiny Things.

Ever since I got here, I’ve been planning to go out to the Botanic Gardens. Singapore’s pretty big on orchids, and there’s some quite spectacular displays in the National Orchid Gardens. This afternoon, I finally dragged myself down there. (Here’s the full photoset.)

Unfortunately, this afternoon was the first really smoky day we’ve had since I’ve been here. The farmers over in Riau have a bad habit of slash-and-burning to clear the jungle, and the smoke inevitably drifts eastward, turning into a choking haze over Singapore. The Singaporean government has tried to stop them, but they keep arguing that “it’s their heritage” and “we won’t be lectured to by Singapore”. We should fly them over here and let them see how it feels.

So the best place to be was indoors - but the botanic gardens weren’t too bad, either. Lots of fresh air - and plenty of opportunities to give my new macro lens a workout. (It’s not just good as a macro lens, either - it works pretty well as a normal short-telephoto lens.)

The photo above is of the Paravanda Nelson Mandela orchid. Singapore has a rather strange way of greeting visiting dignitaries. Most places will hand you the keys to the city, or take you on a trip to Scores or something. Lacking a branch of Scores, Singapore will name an orchid after you. (There’s even one named after Michael Jeffery, Governor General of Australia.)

As a side note: whatever happened to truth in advertising?