Sunday, July 18, 2010

When is a hippopotamus not a hippopotamus?

Last week we headed to the zoo with a van packed with kids of all ages. It was a crisp, sunny winters day so it seemed like a brilliant plan. Trouble is, everyone else thought it was a bright idea too.  We pulled off the motorway behind an excited young mum who kept turning at every stop to wave to her kid in the back seat with a goofy grin on her face. After driving around the carpark a number of times and heading in a circle around a few blocks, her excitement was waning dramatically and the li’l guy was screaming.  I hope they found a park closer than we did.  We ended up on some cliff face a few kilometres North of where we wanted to be.   
 Fortunately my Beloved was driving because I don’t take too kindly to hill starts.

Auckland is a very arty-farty place at times and the Zoo management has obviously paid someone far too much to install some ill-designed drinking fountains. The first was not far from the entrance and it wasn’t until later that I learned that it was sculpted in the shape of a koru, which symbolises all sorts of wonderful things about new life and growth. You see, from the front it looked like...THIS:

My advice - take your own bottled water. What WERE they thinking?

Zeeb might be 19 years old but she loves the kids’ area. There’s a big stone dragon there that has been around since I was a wee sprout.  Over the years the dragon has laid some concrete eggs and kids travel from near and far to crawl in and out of these things. Zeeb forgot that she was 19 and thought it would be fun to be a baby dinosaur hatching from an egg.  Cute.  I thought it was strange that she wouldn’t keep still while I was trying to snap her photo.  It took a bit of desperate whimpering to convince me that she was actually firmly wedged. (Oooh, that reminds me of a story about M when he was a lot younger! I must remember to tell that one)

Zeeb and I are pretty stoic when it comes to demonstrating affection towards each other. A sniff and a nod is as good as a hug where we’re concerned. It works for us. I haven’t carried Zeeb since she was about five and she certainly didn’t have boobs back then. Incidentally, where’d she get those things? It certainly wasn’t from me!  Still, there’s no need to join a gym when I can pump weights by lifting adult, teenagers out of concrete dragon eggs.

Animals are very good at hiding when there are too many people trying to see them.  We were squinting to see the well-hidden hippos (I wrote the abbreviated word because I don’t know the correct plural for “hippopotamus”). We decided that we could definitely see two of them. Wanting to outdo our super-spotting, my Beloved was adamant that he could see four. We had some discussion about a couple of blobs in the water. He said they were definitely hippo nostrils while Zeeb was pretty sure they were pine cones - not that there were any pine trees nearby. After weaving through the crowds to the other side we found that Beloved was the closest. The blobs were definitely hippo-related. They were two blobs of floating poo. I don’t think Beloved was going to give up on that one. There was some indistinguishable muttering about the hippos hiding underneath...yeah, right!

I think Zeeb's favourite animal was the serval: "The serval is so hot. It has stripes AND spots. It flauts all the fashion laws!"

So that’s the school holidays done and dusted. Kids are back at school tomorrow and so am I. Ooh, so many new adventures to look forward to!

No comments:

Post a Comment