Sunday, February 13, 2005

Lions, Tigers, and Panda Bears; Oh My!

This afternoon, my friend Annette came up from Georgetown to hang with me and go check out the National Zoo. It's just a couple blocks from here, and the admission is cheap.

As in: FREE! You gotta love seeing your tax dollars at work.

Except when the zoo is in piss-poor shape, but more on that later.

We left a little after noon and our first exhibit was the new cheetah cubs. There was a 20 minute wait, but I'd like to say it was worth it. I really, really would like to say it was worth it.

But that would be a lie. The little turds were looking away, and no, a cheetah cub's butt is not all that cute. My guess is they saw all these people looking in one direction, and turned to see what we were looking at. How modest.

Also interesting were the hippos, because it was downright depressing. There was this huge one that was eating, and he could barely fit in his own cage. There was only room for him to rotate and shuffle his feet around a little.

It wasn't his 24-hour housing, he had a bit more room in his pool, but obviously not enough. He looked glad to be eating, but there was something in his eyes that caught my attention. It was the admittance of defeat, the painful acceptance that he'd never know a real river, and it poured from his eyes and hung from his shoulders.

He was born in captivity. His name: Happy.

We walked out to the bird house, which is accessed by a long, winding road with one side for walking and the other side for police cars to drive on. I don't know why.

But the zoo wanted to better illusrate that rule. So on the side people were not supposed to walk on there were little stick people with giant "X"s on them, as if they marked victims. There were at least 13.

There are only two words needed to describe the Bird House: 1.) Ducks and 2.) Flamingos.

I say that because there was a whole lot of ducks and flamingoes, and they did act rather funny.

We saw the Pandas, and they're names were something you'd expect to see on the menu at a chinese restaurant.

Just imagine it: Tsing-Tsing (the old panda that died) over bamboo with white and black sauces.

The lions were also funny. The male of the pride would growl a little every once and a while, and then this kid standing by us roared at him. The male actually replied to him with a mild roar to establish his dominance over the toddler. Then he started growling funny.

Ever heard a cat cough up a hairball? Take such a cat and hook him up to a few massive subwoofers, and that's what this Lion was doing.

He also reacted funny to this little window that was really close to the cats, where kids could come to get a closer view of them. The male would go up to it every once and a while, as if he was eyeing a meal. It was 6-year-olds teasing these beasts, who were obviously hungry. I must admit the thought of the glass giving way did cross my mind.

Don't worry, no kiddies got eaten. Although I know many a soul who would love to feed a sibling to a lion, but don't we all?

The tiget next door had similar ideas. There was a set of double doors at the zoo, and every once and a while he would run up to it, stand against the door, put a paw on the door handle and peer through the window. I bet whoever was on the other side must've needed a new pair of underwear.

One dissapointment was that the lemurs were not in season, that is to say they were locked away for the winter and their exhibit was closed. I like Lemurs a great deal, they have been endeared to me ever since I first watched Fierce Creatures.

But there were none. I guess I'll have to try again later in the spring.

I want my lemurs.


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