Saturday, October 11, 2008


two sundays ago, mia and i visited the brookfield zoo "located outside of chicago" (i lifted that from the website and is surprisingly not a reflection of my laziness at researching details). it was a cloudy day but it wasn't bad enough for us to develop a case of frozen joints. it wasn't that cloudy though that i couldn't see there were more food stalls than animals in that giant expanse of land.

without realizing it, we must've clocked in over 4 hours of nonstop walking. you don't feel how tired you are until you sit down briefly on a wooden bench and think it's as comfy as the magic couch back home that lulls you to sleep within the first 15 minutes of sinking into it and makes you wonder why you ever have to leave the house.

back to the potentially enriching story at hand.

there's nothing like an afternoon of communing with nature to make you realize a few things about your own nature and ... you know ... life and stuff:

1. some good ideas are actually not.

we made sure we were early for the 2 pm dolphin show. my sister and i are suckers for dolphin shows. i must've seen about 3 or 4 already and they've never failed to deliver. there's something about smug-looking fish casually jumping out of and skimming across water that makes my inner child happy.

so we got there with some good seats still available. we made our way to what i call the splash zone (or maybe that's what it was really called, i can't remember), which were a few rows close enough to water such that ... okay, if you haven't figured out what 'splash zone' meant by now, you really shouldn't be reading nonsensical blogs.

anyway, yey! splash zone! (got it yet?)

the show started and sure enough, we got splashed by the dolphins. however, i did NOT expect that the splashes would be that huge. we realized too late that walking outdoors on a cold day with wet jeans and wet jackets may not be the smartest thing to do. also, two words: dolphin pee.

2. there is a reason why swamps are outdoors.

there were a number of exhibits at the zoo when we visited. some were housed in a separate enclosed structure that were designed to make you feel like you were actually in the featured ecosystem. (ps, it was nice to dig up a word from my elementary years) (fyi, it was 'ecosystem', not 'featured') (fyi, i like clarifying for my readers).

so let me say this: swamps and rain forests should not be confined inside a building. the moment we opened the door of the swamp exhibit, we were greeted by a cold wind that smelled of damp frog and other swampy scents. notsolittle sister pinched her nose while we semi-ran through the entire display of green water, amphibians, reptiles, insects and wet foliage. incidentally, this reminded me of how older sister and i semi-ran (more like dashed madly) through the hollywood wax museum in 1991. as to why we even bother entering creepy/stinky/swampy exhibits is a mystery. i mean, screaming in horror at the creepy wax interpretation of the last supper or waiting for a snapping turtle to snap hardly qualifies as living on the edge.


one of the special exhibits at the zoo for the month of september was an area where you could get your hands wet and fondle cownose rays, southern stingrays and white-spotted bamboo sharks.


mah sister and i were game (or so we thought). we kneeled beside the shallow tank and ... did nothing. with our hands poised as though we were going to dip them, we just stared at the rays and sharks swimming within arm's reach.

a confession: i never liked stingrays. i don't like animals that look like inanimate objects. to me, rays look like terrifying evil kites that came to life one cursed day. i honestly have nightmares about a whole slew of sea creatures. what possessed me to think i could actually TOUCH them???

after about 20 minutes of just being near the water, the fish whizzing by and lots of brave, excited toddlers who were practically IN the tank, mia came up with a bright suggestion:

mia: we can do this. think of it as touching fish. we're just going to touch fish!

me: ok! good! touching fish! (2 seconds pass) but wait ... i don't like touching fish.

mia: oh. right.

me: why do we have to do this?

mia: hmm.

and so we left the evil kites and the white-spotted bamboo sharks in search of animals that looked like animals.

i realize this anecdote makes us look like a couple of chickens but the zoo needed a poultry exhibit anyway.

4. a baby giraffe makes the heart grow fonder.

i told them to fall in line according to height
this was my favorite part of zoo day – seeing the baby giraffe. and this is my favorite part of writing this entry (aside from pressing 'publish') – discovering that a baby giraffe is a 'giraffe calf' and saying it softly to myself over and over. giraffe calf. giraffe calf. aww.

hmm, i had a point.

oh yes. the ... 6-foot baby animal. when we visited, the baby was just over a month old and, for most of the time we were in the vicinity, was just standing there. just standing and looking at us looking at him. his look said, 'veeeeeeeeeery funny. who was the wise guy who thought it'd be hilarious to put a newborn on stilts?'

so it just stood there, being cute. and we just stood there as well, trying hard not to break down in tears at the cuteness of it all. we failed.

seriously. a baby giraffe. a giraffe calf! life doesn't get much better than seeing one up close.

(anticlimactic portion of blog entry: of course life DID get a teeny bit better after the tiring zoo trip. one word: sushi.)


estikoy said...


estikoy said...

you didn't tell me about the dolphin show! so cool!