Sunday, October 24, 2010

san Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode V

At the San Diego Zoo, we walked past many of the animals but paid special attention to those we were most interested in. As I am an archaeologist and have studied primates to some degree, I was most interested in the primate sections. Michelle sought the ‘cute’ animals, such as the pandas and koalas. We walked to the far end of the zoo and found ourselves quite depleted of energy, as much of the park is a series of hills. Fortunately, there are escalators on some of the steeper hills (image upper left). There is also a gondola ride that takes you from one end of the park to the other (image upper right). The gondola ride seems like a romantic way to oversee the park, but when you are two scaredy-cats like us, it may not be so romantic. It brings you up what seems to be 100’s of feet off the ground and gently sways side to side, along with an occasional jarring bump. The wind was picking-up speed and becoming increasingly colder. As we sat in this off-the-ground-prison I began to think of how a strong wind could easily push the cart around and perhaps off the cable it was sinuously attached to. Michelle’s face had become white the moment we entered the cart and her grip became increasingly firm on the cart’s sides -I was no  different. Upon exiting the cart we decided we would never do that again, but it did give us a nice view of the park no matter how frightening it was for us!

One of the more spectacular exhibits was that of the Panda’s. Michelle dearly wanted to see them, and upon approaching the exhibit we saw that there was a line-up. Visitors had to line-up and enter the facility in a single file. There was to be no stopping while in the area as the staff tried to make sure that everyone would get through. As this was a weekday during the summertime, the line was long but not too bad. It took about 20 minutes to enter the facility and we spent another 20 minutes inside looking at the pandas. I think Michelle took about 50 photographs while we were in there as two of the pandas were moving about. Once we exited the facility we saw that the line was much shorter, and we went in again. In total, we went through the facility three times and each time was as special as the first for Michelle. I had to admit though, the pandas were pretty cool to see.

As the day wore down and night approached, we worked our way towards the front gates. The list of animals we saw is too long to list, but trust me that it was a lot! The enclosures at the San Diego zoo are amazing and very well kept. Even though the zoo was first opened in 1915, you would instead think it was built only a few years ago. 

 At night the zoo takes on a wholly different atmosphere. Lights of various color turn on across the park. It becomes more romantic and exotic with the sounds of tigers roaming about. The attendance at the park also drops, so we began to feel a little more private about our walk through the park. Before finally leaving we stopped by the gift store and purchased a zoo mug that had an image of one of the pandas –we try to pick up coffee mugs from wherever we go even though we ran out of room for them in our cupboards a long time ago. We left the zoo complex and decided we would again take a cab ride back. To the side of the main entrance was a collection of cabs. By the time we reached our hotel it was quite late and we were hungry as our last meal had not been for hours and consisted of the re-heated, previously frozen chunks of semi-identifiable food. Perhaps not our best judgment call, we decided to walk to the Pizza Hut that was on the corner of the Grey Hound station attached to the hotel. The pizza was cheap, warm, and enjoyably tasty. We sat in our room, stretching our calves and bemoaning the condition of our sore feet while engorging ourselves with greasy pizza. That night we slept satisfied with the past two days of vacation, ending again on a high note.

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