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June 17th, 2006

basindo nan tenggil [ * ]

It's taken five years of living on my own, but last weekend I finally managed to turn some of my laundry to a lovely shade of pink. The quirky thing about this experience is that none of my clothes in the dryer were even red - my downfall came from a cherry and eucalyptus flavored cough drop that had been sitting in the back pocket of my pants for the past two or three weeks. I rarely use that storage space and never think to check for any lost or forgotten objects that might be there. After all, who needs back pockets when cargo pants have them at the knees?

The victims of the afternoon were all white, and included a polo shirt with small specks I can't even find now, a towel and t-shirt with a few small dots that aren't that bad, and a long-sleeve shirt which looks like a minor disaster. A brief consultation with Min has given me the impression that another wash might be enough to get all the red pigment out of my things, which I certainly hope is the case. If anyone asks before then I'll just say that the marks are blood stains from my time as a bear tracker on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

And on the subject of bears, while out driving with Min recently we saw a group of grizzly bears roaming around one of the animal enclosures near the edge of town. The university here has a bear research and conservation program, and contains the only facility in the world for housing adult grizzly bears for research purposes (a current project is studying how bear hearts change during hibernation, with the aim of applying this knowledge to humans with heart problems). Five of the eight species of bear living today can be found on campus, with representatives coming from grizzly bear, black bear, polar bear, spectacled bear, and sun bear populations.

We were both fairly excited by the discovery, but our stretch of road didn't have anywhere to pull over for a closer look. Then again, I'm sure the bears didn't mind that we were unable to stop and gawk as they went about their daily affairs. And we probably would have been chased off by zoology students and/or professors brandishing shovels and rakes anyway ...
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[*] The title for this entry is the Malayan name for the sun bear, which translates to "he who likes to sit high".