Sunday, November 05, 2006

Good Sunday

Well, I just had a great weekend. Not perfect since I sort of hurt my back lifting a case of beer, although hell, beer! But it was great nonetheless. Today we traveled a ridiculously short distance so I have no excuse not to go there more often to the Wild Animal Park to see some critters and the hopes of seeing a new female elephant that was born on September 11th, of all fucking dates. Although anything good happening on that day is a welcome respite from the sadness so many of us still feel. Sigh.

Anywho, I was very excited to see this new little girl, since I've never seen a brand new baby elephant, and to trek around seeing some of the animals I love so much. And yes, dammit, get some fucking exercise OK? OK. We'd also heard there were 2 different litters of lion cubs that were just released for public view last week and we were hoping to get lucky enough to catch a peak at a few of them as well.

We decided to leave really early to avoid the famous San Diego tourist crowds that for so many months of the year royally fuck up any popular attraction we want to visit because my idea of a good time is not being smooshed ass to taint with Norman from Nebraska and his brood trying to shuffle through the shark encounter at Sea World while overhearing some dummy explain to her kid that "Shamu breathes air and fishes "breathe" water so sharks are "more like a" fish." That is not made up, by the way.

We arrived a scant few minutes after the main gates opened, got kick-ass parking and whipped right through the turnstyles. It was too early for any of the shops or eateries to be open so my fingers were crossed that we'd have the place somewhat to ourselves. We soon overheard an employee-type person say there were only 123 people in the park so far. Booya! That's what I'm talkin' about. Even though this place is huge there are too many times when you're clamoring with 200 sweaty people to look at anything.

I was bummed to see a sign stating the giraffe feeding was closed because, fucking A, feeding a giraffe is awesome. Do you have any idea how BIG they are? Seriously. I know you know that giraffes are big but do you know HOW BIG? Because they are BIG! Like, their head alone is as big as the trunk of my car. In fact, I don't think I could even get a giraffe head in the trunk of my car. I'd have to tie it down with a bunch of bungee cords and then everyone would see the giraffe head sticking out of my trunk and I'd probably get a ticket or something.

We decided to go find the elephants first but didn't see anything in the encloser thingy except people with giant shovels cleaning up giant poop so we headed down the hill to the Lion Camp. From a distance we could see a crowd (grr) and it was obvious something was out of the den so we scaddadled over there.

We were ecstatic to see that it was a mama lion and her set of triplets. Triplets! They were so cute I wanted to stuff one in my backpack, take it home and squeeze it then dip it in my coffee. There were 2 males and 1 female and of course the female was the brave one venturing away on her own while the little boys chirped and huffed when mama went out of eyeshot. Heh. And the mother was incredibly beautiful. She came right up next to the glass and was literally 2 feet from me at one point. I can't describe it any better than amazing.

And this is where I must explain something. I have a problem, a whopping big problem with a lot of animals that are captured and put into certain types of containment. Circus' (there I go again with the plural/apostrophe confusion again. Circus's? Curcussesses? Circi?) Totally deplorable, they should be outlawed. Private ownership? So not a good idea. Small unregulated bogus "zoo's" in someone's backyard or exploitive things like dolphins in a tiny tank in an off-strip Las Vegas bar? There's a special place in hell for people who own those.

But there are facilities and organizations that are doing wonderful things for conservation and endangered species and I'm privileged to live in a town that has a world-famous zoo with a reputation for being legit and for helping keep some animals off the extinct list who would otherwise be nothing more than a sketch in a history book or a muppet in a museum. It's a philosophical debate for sure, but anytime there is the right kind of progress done in the right way it should be supported and I'll do what I can when I can however I can.

That being said, we decided to tear ourselves away from the kitties and go find that baby elephant, which unfortunately required us to walk 10 miles straight uphill that threatened to pop my kneecaps off with a grizzly twang and made the temperate weather feel like Satan's asshole. But it was all worth it. We found that the herd with the baby was still in a gated area close to viewing and once again we got a good look of the tiny little girl.

She was so wee that I became a nervous wreck right away fretting that every time she flopped onto the ground underneath her big mama she'd get stepped on or worse. (I'd make such a horrible parent, encasing my child in a giant hamster ball to keep him or her safe.) And wouldn't you know it? She did get a little bit stepped on and let out a squeal that made the 3 adult elephants surrounding her jump like they'd been goosed in the butt and one old matriarch rushed over and scolded the mama elephant like a disapproving mother-in-law wagging an admonishing finger.

The baby was fine and she went on her merry way staggering around like a drunken toddler and testing her wiggly trunk trying to pick up a rock. It was so sweet I wished that in the Zoo's conservation efforts and research that they would please figure out how to make a special breed of mini elephant that would get no bigger than a large dog so that I may have one, thank you.

After we'd melted in the sun we had a very crappy lunch (these places are not known for their food) and went to the lorakeet bird house to feed them some nectar and lose some percentage points of hearing because those little fuckers are LOUD. We moseyed around a bit more, fed some ducks, pet some African deer (no plain-old goats in that petting zoo) then decided to head home. I didn't want to kill one single person the whole time so all-in-all it was a very nice day. If you're ever in San Diego I highly recommend it.

But make sure you...


...the sock puppets.

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