A flock of bats?

That doesn’t sound right.

When I went out onto my balcony last night to assess the climatological conditions before sallying forth to dine, I noticed quite a few bats wheeling around in the air. It’s quite normal to see a bat[1] or two in the evening, but I’ve never seen so many at once. My suspicion was that the flying ants were out again, a fact which I confirmed when I went up the lane.

They were out last night in even greater numbers than before and across a wider range, this time being out in force along Machang Lu. Along the first section, they were making a sound like raindrops as they landed on the wall. Around the corner, the frogs were out waiting for their unwingèd prey, and then there were large globes of flying ants around the lights along the lane that runs beside the stadium.

It’s been a nice relaxed week. Just a couple of classes before lunch and that’s it. The General English class rapidly subsided to two girls. We watch films and talk about the English in them. The IELTS class has been a little variable. There weren’t that many on Thursday, but the number was up again yesterday, the class having be repopulated by dim bulbs who, I suspect, had probably been told to attend again.

The news from Sino-Cyberia was the unexpected unblocking of wikipedia yesterday. To celebrate, there’s the new that Nanny has censored the official version of Pirates of the Caribbean III by giving most of Chow Yun-fat the chop. As the Reuters story concludes, you’ve already been able to buy the unbutchered version (as I have). Thus Nanny makes herself look like a ninny again.

From the world of gongs, the news is that Salman Rushdie has been knighted, as has Ian Botham. Oleg Gordievsky has been made a CMG (a Companinon of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George; I can only remember the facetious vesion from Yes, Minister – Call Me God).

The weather continues to be an enormous pile of poo. It’s grey and gloomy again today, and obviously rained overnight or early this morning. Humidity about 80%.

I could hear some drumming this morning and went upstairs to see what was to be seen on the river. I saw a dragon boat for a moment and took a walk down to the river, but by the time I got there, it’d long gone and there was nothing else around. I can now (12.55pm) hear more drumming (which then stopped after a few minutes).

Some months back, Glen and Row discovered that you could buy slightly old-ish copies of the SCMP from the news stands near the university. As I was passing one last night, I spotted a copy of Wednesday’s paper for which I was charged ¥2.50, which is less than half what you’d pay in Hong Kong and almost a seventh of what you’d pay in Beijing. The news, although I was unaware of the story behind this,[2] is that the Skyrail cable car to Ngong Ping is falling apart. I can assure anxious readers that I took my chance with it once and almost certainly never will again. Not worth it to be honest. The view is, well, dull and the terminus at the Ngong Ping end is the stuff of nightmares unless you’re a really dumb tourist.

Meanwhile, from Mainland China we have Enslaved, burned and beaten: police free 450 from Chinese brick factories. It’s one of those occasions when you hope the culprits will get their just desserts.


1. (08.09.08; two years later) After noting a flurry of searches for the term for a “flock of bats” recently, I wrote this entry (18.08.14. I reposted the part about bats in a new entry and have updated this link to point to the new article). To spare you going there, the words you’re looking for are “colony” or “camp”. I surmise that for practical reasons when they use echo location, bats don’t normally flock in flight.

2. I see from the editorial that the accident happened during testing out of hours, hence no one was hurt.


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