Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm in the middle of making two further observations about Tuesday's extra-curricular Miss Universe event, the Most Charming in Áo Dài competition. One yesterday1 and one today. At one point, waiting for the show to start, I looked up and noticed that there was at least one large bat wheeling around in the spacious area between the proscenium and the balcony. What kind of bat? I don't know. Vietnam is filled with bats, and I was delighted that one or more had made its way into the theater. Welcome to Vietnam, ladies! Apparently what kind of bat lives where, and how to identify them, is more complex than I'm prepared to muck around with right now. Probably it was a horseshoe bat,2 a collection of about ten genera of the Rhinolophidae family composed of some hundred and thirty-odd species including many, if not all, types of medium-sized brown bats with leaf-looking structures on their noses. I only say this because I'm pretty sure horseshoe bats actually do live in the Indomalaya Ecozone, and some certainly come from my town in Vietnam (along with a staggering amount of other kinds, naturally). I know this because they are the zoonotic reservoir of the SARS coronavirus. All of this assumes that their possible re-assignation to a new sub-order of chiroptera will not soon mean that they've all been reassigned somewhere else. Maybe soon they'll all come from Albania. But last Tuesday, the horseshoe bat swirling silently around in the houselights was exciting, beautiful, translucent, and near enough to make me want to duck occasionally. This excitement was nothing compared to the creature's dramatic effect during the pageant: its occasional arcs through the high-powered spots flashed in bat-shaped fireworks over the apron, casting large and wicked shadows on the backdrop screens. Fantastic. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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