We all ate in the restaurant in the lobby before I headed off to my conference. Reid and Aunt Karin went back to the room for Aunt Karin to take a bath. It’s been a long time since she had a bath while “in charge” of a two-year-old. Reid helpfully dropped a wash cloth into the tub and then not-so-helpfully dropped in a towel. At this point, Aunt Karin suggested that Reid would enjoy watching the tv show that had been on. A few minutes later, Reid was back in the bathroom with an evil smile. Aunt Karin asked what Reid had done. “I dump it,” said my little angel and so Aunt Karin hurriedly finished and got out to mop up the spill. There is no relaxing for the wicked or those with two-year-olds.
The first activity of the day for Aunt Karin and Reid was a harbour tour by boat. They saw many sea lions, including one who was catching and eating fish. Reid’s eyes sparkled when she told me about the boat, sea lions and fish. I wasn’t sure whether she’d find the tour interesting (and the “tour” part never came up from either of the them) but I’m often wrong ;+)
I skipped a couple of sessions and we met up and went back to the zoo. We had a quick lunch, picking up another souvenir bucket and glass for Reid in so doing, and then headed to the elephants enclosure (of course). One of the zoo keepers was feeding a couple of the elephant cows and she got them to do little tricks, like standing on one of the tree stumps. (And something else but I can’t remember because I too tired but will when I see the photos we took.)The bulls and calves are in the Wild Animal Park outside of the city where they have breeding herds of elephants, rhinoceres and other big animals.
Next, we took a bus ride with a very grumpy driver – the first grumpy person we encountered in all of our time at the zoo – to the closest bus stop to the zebra enclosure. After a bit of a walk, we found the zebras, far from the hoof and horn mesa where they belonged. Zebras are high on my list of zoo animals, I’ve got to say. We learned that the stripes on a zebra are as unique as fingerprints. Zebras tell each other apart by looking at one anothers bums. I find the vividness of the stripes to be so bright that they seem fake. Next, Aunt Karin walked us about three steps further up, just around the fake rock of the zebra enclosure, to show us where she had given up looking for the zebras on Tuesday.
We saw the polar bears, one of whom was nice enough to lay against the glass so that we could see it and the other stretched and yawned appealingly. Next, we walked into the Absolutely Apes section and also on the Monkey Trail (which is apparently new but the whole zoo was new to us). These were all interesting to Reid and to many others. The crowds were thick but Reid is short and so was able to work her way up. She called for me to come up with her a few times but wasn’t overly troubled by us being separated. I insisted on a trip to see the tiger. We walked and walked and even stopped some people walking in the other direction to make sure that the tiger was out. Finally, we found him and took our turn staring. Then, we retraced our steps up the ultra-steep path and I understood Karin’s comment about how sore her legs were getting. She and Reid were on the go for at least 8 hours a day and so much of this city is up or down a steep slope. We headed to the children’s zoo and saw some amazingly small pygamy marmosets, goats and sheep for petting and miniature horses, and other more zoo-ish animals. Reid didn’t want to pet anything, “I look, Mama” she said, seeming to want to check if that was acceptable. “Sure,” I said. I’d been thinking how we weren’t able to interact as closely with the animals at The Farm in Ottawa. Reid is glad of the difference, I think. She will carefully pet some of the sheep and goats there but the bars that keep them in make her bolder. By this time, it was about 5:25 and we were supposed to be out of the zoo no later than 6:00.
Did we head for the exit? Of course, we did! We couldn’t get to the elephants if we didn’t pass by the exit. We made Reid sit in her stroller so that we could go faster and we went to see the elephants. After a quick watch check, we decided we’d have time for the kangaroos, and then camels and then if I ran, the giraffes. So I did run. Okay, not Olympic running, though I told Reid that we were going fast-fast and so she couldn’t walk. We got to the giraffes and they are as magical upclose as I thought when we saw them from the bus. I probably saw them in the Toronto or Detroit zoos as a kid but I don’t remember. I snapped a few photos of Reid. We shared our awe of these spindly-legged, long-necked creatures. And then we started back. I let Reid sit at the top of her stroller seat so that she could see into the enclosures as we walked. We had to stop at the meerkats. They are also very cool. The collectivity has specialized roles for individuals, which is interesting, plus they’re cute and alert-looking. We met up with Aunt Karin again (she hadn’t felt the same urge to run for the giraffes since she’s seen them two or three times on Tuesday) and resumed our course to the great egres as PT Barnum called it, saying goodbye as we walked. Our last stop was at a little garden with fish that looked liked giagantic goldfish (regular and Shubumba) as well as a yellow one that was Reid’s particular favourite (but you knew that). It was just after 6:00 when we left. Our feet were glad but our hearts were sad that our zoo-time was over.
We hired a cab to take us to a lovely Italian restaurant. They brought Reid’s spagetti quickly, which was a bonus, since she ate and ate. The lasagna Karin and I ordered was yummy. It turned out that we were just up the street from where we’d eaten the first night and we went to the same Starbucks before heading for the hotel. We were getting low on cash and tried to find a bank machine that would give me money. The Wells and Fargo machines helpfuly accessed my bank balance but wouldn’t let me take any money out. We were walking to get us closer to be sure our cash would cover the cost of the cab ride home as we were told city cabs don’t take credit cards. When we decided we were close enough, I flagged a cab and it turned out that he did take my credit card and we got back to the hotel with money in our pockets.
Reid had fallen asleep in the stroller but woke up to charm the driver, who gave us tips for the best beach and where to get good Mexican food.
It was after 8:00 before we got to our room. So much for my plan to start easing Reid back into the eastern time.