Monday, July 2, 2018

Peru 2017 Day 11- Oh No We’re in a Zoo Boogaloo


July 12


This morning introduced me to the greatest first season Ladybug episode of all, “Mr. Pigeon.”  Picture the goofiest pigeon based supervillain you can…

Nope, not even close to the silliness of that one.

Rosa went out to the market for potatoes and soda, then for a walk with Abuelita.  Anabelle and I played some more taxi after I got tired of getting creamed at Uno, and saying “poot poot” every time she made me draw hundreds of cards while she was breaking into a chorus of,
Bwa-Da Ba –Pow, Bwa-Daa BA–Pow Bwa-Da Bap –Pow Ba-Ba-Ba-Baaa BA-Pow!

That guy who screamed, “ROSA!!!!!” from down the block every morning was back again. It’s nice to have traditions in other countries.

Rosa returned from the market with a Darth Vader comic for me. She apologized when she realized it was in Spanish.  This was not a problem because:
1) Since I couldn’t understand it, I wasn't tempted to buy any more.
2) Darth Vader in Spanish!  Woo!

We had lunch and watched part of the Green Hornet film, also in  Spanish. It didn’t make any more or less sense that way.

Abuelita settled in to wait for Carmen and the three of us caught a “medium” size bus, which mashed in a squadron of Peruvians after us.  It dropped us off a couple of blocks from the zoo, necessitating a high speed walk to make the restrooms within the park.

There was only one roll of toilet paper at the entrance for the whole room. Luckily we were still packing from the generous attendant the night before, meaning we didn't need to stop and grab a roll at one of the snack stands.

Every culture is different, kids!

We had a plan of attack based on the understanding of the zoo we got on our last visit, but still started by crossing the bridge over the deer.
This placed us out at some ruins (because, Peru) and the mostly closed Costal Region. (Because, south of the equator winter.)

Some sections of Parque de las Leyendas were modernized, but others:

Anabelle happily ran to the seal and sea lion exhibit, and her happiness evaporated almost instantly much like the water in one of the enclosures.

A dejected looking seal swam around the top of the water that was several feet below any access points it could hope to use to reach land. 

In the next area were sea lions (Wolves of the sea in Spanish, or “Yo tengo agua, por favor”), most of which were exhibiting an unpleasant looking skin condition. 

In the tank with them was…something.

It had ears, but a shorter flatter snout than sea lions usually do.  While its coloring and swimming style matched that of a sea lion, its front flippers were stunted with side claws like a seal. Its back flippers were somewhere between the two as well.

We bid farewell to this oddly mutated half breed, and searched for happier critters in the Mini Zoo. 
That was basically a children’s zoo, filled with a variety of birds and rodents. 
That section of the Parque finished up with seeing some more ruins and the lagoon.

Next stop was the old cages of the central “mostly stuff that doesn’t live in Peru” section, home to the dead chimpanzees from our previous trip. 
A couple of tired looking old baboons looked to follow their ape relations, spread out in three different cages.

One of the largest cages in the area had a single cockatoo in it, whistling like crazy, likely to rudely call attention to how much more space it had than the baboons.  There was also a lone tapir resting in its little house and a herd flock pile plethora (*googles quickly*) mob of kangaroos.

The cage where my close friend the spider monkey formerly lived was now inhabited by a Grey Monkey.  He wasn’t nearly as excited as the past tenant, but did stare into my face for a long time, the equivalent of a lower primate change of address card, I suppose.

The place was just as oddly laid out as we remembered, requiring back tracking often.  It didn't help that no printed maps were provided, and the ones posted hadn’t been updated since before the chimps died.

Out of the core, but still in the international zone, we found the giraffes and zebras.  The male zebras were in a separate section from their potential lady love, and were extremely loud in protestations.

Two much more contented than we remembered hippos were in a decent sized pool.

Passing the swan pond we saw the first of many jaguars of the day as we worked out way towards the Felinario.  A large enclosure designed by someone far removed from the legal concerns of the United States had a low wall, and no secondary fence surrounding a herd of MASSIVE water buffalo. 
We looked them in the eye and sang the Veggie Tales song about how everyone had one of them.

Around the upper curve of the international part; maybe (???) was one exhausted looking Galapagos tortoise, a spare zebra and the sad hippo in the tiny pool we remembered.

Over in the large bear enclosures was a single sleeping black bear, currently subletting to a stray cat.  Next door the huge area of the brown bear exhibit contained only a metric crapload of vultures.  We had assumed the ones circling the zoo were waiting on the baboons, but perhaps they had already done away with Yogi.

Giant bird bookends of emus and ostriches marked the beginning and end of our back track journey to the entrance of the Felinario.

The most modern section of the zoo had nicely maintained spacious and well-kept sections for the sleepy white tigers. 
Next door, in a similar area, were some playful young black jaguars. Once again packing in more of the local animals.

The final wide open areas were for a Lioness and resting young, and a single normally hued tiger pacing back and forth.

Some travel sized wild cats were in smaller, but still modern accommodations at the exit.

The Jaguarundi was extremely active and provided something to watch while trying to figure out his neighbor. 
The little spotted cat nearby was labeled as “little spotted cat.” Based on some other vague signage. (i.e. tiger habitat including Africa) I figured it was an ocelot.

Exiting the Felinario we found where the penguins were kept during the coastal renovations…in the goat section. 
Maybe it makes sense in Spanish? 

The weird little museum/ aquarium/ reptile house thing was closed, to Anabelle’s delight, allowing us to proceed to the first of the well-stocked and maintained Peruvian section of the zoo- The Amazon Jungle. 
We did see an anaconda there. Hopefully it was supposed to be in that location, and didn't escape during the reptile house refurbishment.

The first combination building/ enclosure was chock full of what we thought were loud birds- mostly parrots and such.

Our opinion on what was loud quickly changed when we saw the horned scream.  Somewhere between a big duck and an irritated pheasant, the thing shrieked constantly at the keepers and a nearby stork who looked to be in the process of calling its real estate agent.

A gang of peccaries and their adorable piglets (pecclets?) lined the path to Monkey Island.  There, groups of coati and capuchin monkeys shared the area with the spider monkeys. 
Anabelle screamed nearly incoherently about a mess of tapirs (her second favorite land animal) and ran to the exit path.

We reined her in to finish Monkey Island to allow me to be acknowledged by my old friend the spider monkey and compliment his new digs.  We watched a loon grab a fish in the pond surrounding the island then allowed our daughter to rush back to the tapirs before she had an aneurysm.

There were three full sized enclosures with a total of ten tapirs in various sizes and shapes, tapiring about.  Anabelle was the second most exited thing in the zoo.

The most excited was the group of turtles across from the last set of tapirs.  Something magic was in the air for those reptiles, and (to make another Disney reference) they redefined Finding Dory’s “turtle pile” to something far less family friendly.

Leaving the titillated terrapins behind- we entered monkey row. In a similar setting to the old Bronx Zoo monkey house, new world monkeys each had their own homes. 
A few more squirrel monkeys were in there, along with howlers, wooly, and the bright red faced ukaris.
Sorry, excited monkey fan here.  Moving on…

More of those little spotted cats were in the next open air building, along with ocelots.

Oops.  Turned out their Spanish name of “oncilla” literally means small snow leopard, or more colloquially, “little spotted cat.”  How about that? Truth in translation.

There were a couple of river otters making weird noises and being terrifying large to those of us used to the tiny other otter variety.  We had fun watching them for a while until…

Ooh! Churros!!

They weren’t structurally sound, but they were quite tasty. However, the sugar content may have contributed to Anabelle’s imminent reactions.

Another row of glass fronted exhibits looked like we were due for some more monkeys.  The first had two toucans. (4-cans)  

The other five had SLOTHS! 
Six total in the five cages!

The only land animal Anabelle likes better than tapirs is sloths, and given the elitist, prima donna nature of the one in the Bronx Zoo who never comes out, she nearly exploded. 

She chattered excitedly at each of them, but this was nothing compared to her reaction to the final one who climbed out of its little slothy home box into a branch about a foot and a half above it.

The entire process for this climb took over thirty minutes.  Between filming it and the near infinite photos of the other ones, we burned out the camera well before we finished the zoo.

My daughter was beside herself, shrieking, cheering and carrying on in incoherent excitement.

Somebody please translate my apology (I have water, please) to the group of tiny Peruvian nuns who were nearby that Anabelle frightened away.

We finally dragged her out of the jungle section past teeny marmosets, two color types of jaguars, and the sleeping spectacled bear who now was cause for much less excitement than he would have been on the train to Machu Picchu.

The last zone was “Sierra,” the mountain zone.  It was mostly llamas and their relations. To keep to the feeling of that geographical area correct there was a maze like collection of steep hills and stairs.   On the positive side, the greater presence of oxygen in Lima made it easier to navigate them than it was in Cuzco.  On the negative side, we couldn't eat any of the llama relations.

For variety they had a cat, and some hawks and vultures.
They also had a zorro, causing me to sing and make fencing motions, in order that my daughter didn't feel like she was the most embarrassing member of our family there that day.

We left the zoo and walked over to the Bembos in the nearby Plaza San Miguel.
WOO!

They got big burgers, and I had my chicken sandwich and a little burger.  We all shared the onion rings, knowing we’d pay for that later.   At some point the women in my family had a meeting that I missed, changing the plan from bringing the food home to eating there.  Therefore I didn't suggest buying drinks at the carts that were everywhere when we left the zoo.

Note- whether I missed the meeting due to being physically absent or mentally absent is the subject of a debate I’d rather not revisit.

Rosa had to wander into the mall and get some sodas while we waited for the food.  Anabelle would have liked to go with her, but, “Yo tengo agua, por favor.”

Bembos facilities were completely stocked with toilet paper!
No wonder they’re the most popular fast food in the country.

We tried to catch a cab to the Inca Market, but weren’t in the right zone. Therefore we needed to cross the street to what I kept referring to as “Pope Park.”  On the way through we passed the prominent statue, visible from our starting point, of John Paul II. Both my wife and daughter said, "Ooh it's the Pope.”

Clearly, being mentally absent is a family issue.

It was a short ride to the Market… directly across the highway from the “snooty market,” apparently.  We checked all the sections, except the one that was completely destroyed.  I must have missed the news article about the Incredible Hulk passing through a Peruvian tourist shopping spot.

Anabelle picked out a hat along with an extra fluffy toy alpaca and named it Bonifacio, because now she named everything that.

We went back for a t-shirt birthday present for my uncle, since he normally gets really excited about hand me down shirts, we figured he’d be extra thrilled about a personally imported one.  

He was. Woo!

The designs were really cool and we all ended up picking out shirts for ourselves, and Anabelle got a Peruvian James Bond mug. (Because the gun in the stick figure like cartoon would mean she couldn’t wear the shirt in school. Regulations have gone a bit too far, no?)

I saw a deck of really cool individual picture Machu Picchu playing cards in the “avoid eye contact” market in Aguas Calientes.  We asked in every store there that looked like they might have them. Everything we saw ranged from “meh” to “the box is torn but I think they’re all in there.”

We went back to the first building to find one of the least “meh” ones, and couldn’t remember where it was. In the words of Ray Barone, “this stupidity thing pays off sometimes,” and we found the good ones in a place we missed.

Woo!

All shopped out, we stood at the bus stop for a bit, watching overflowing busses with people hanging out the door that were not employed by the company, but rather civilians clinging on for dear life.

After nearly giving up and accepting the inevitable wait time for an unplanned Milthon phone call, the third cab agreed to take us home.

The radio station mostly played British music from the Eighties, but the driver demonstrated his knowledge of quality tunes by turning up the volume for Little Richard.

Or maybe he noticed Anabelle and me bopping our heads along to the music.

It was an uneventful ride home.  A woman ran in front of us to cut across four lanes of traffic to get in a combi.  No biggie.

Right before we reached home, Rosa made a pretend phone call to the large, burly, and possibly armed relatives of hers that were supposedly waiting for us there.

Perhaps we should have just Ubered everywhere?

We cross checked the zoo pictures on the crappy little digital camera we brought down. Although I did have to wonder: since every single person we saw on our adventures had a smartphone out, why did I always leave mine at home?

Anabelle and I played a couple games of Go Fish with the new cards. Then she wanted to play Inca Market.  There tends to be giant problems with this, as I refuse to haggle.  Usually it ends up sounding like the beard salesman scene from Life of Brian.

We checked the upcoming Hallmark ornaments on line, and did some more Disney photo review.  Rosa said her Mom wanted her to remind me to have some wine.  Since no one reminded any of us to buy a corkscrew, I politely declined.

At bed time, Rosa and Anabelle read a Sabrina comics collection together in the air mattress, while I read Gödel Escher Bach in the bed.  Judging from the number of rolled up socks tossed at my head; I may have nodded off and started snoring.



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