Standing on the wharf, things are not going good. In front of me is an Indian trainload of messy families, all winging children and bitching mothers, and the zoo ferry has just left on it journey packed starboard to port. They’re running a less service winter timetable – you would think they would put on extra bloody sessions for the bloody school holidays though, wouldn’t you? It’s another half hour before the next craft. I’m already in a foul mood from the bus trips – the first with a kid crying for a toy – he sounded like air escaping from a balloon; the second an Indian man sniffing – no – snorting every 10 seconds. I’ve now got a bunch of teenagers complaining that they’re going to miss the movie – oh good, they’ve left. It’s not so much that I don’t like waiting, it’s that I don’t like having other people waiting with me.
Wait, I’ve got my ipod – ahhh, Diana Ross, always there when I need you.
Why did I ever decide to go to the zoo during the school holidays? It’s not the children that I mind; they’re usually too excited it’s a buzz to watch their awed faces; it’s the fucking teenager fucking girls with their fucking Oh my God! and No, seriously, and Wow, it’s that, like, a zebra? FUCK THE SHUT UP YOU FUCKING STUPID EMBARRASSMENTS!!! Teenage boys, on the other hand, KNOW that they’re stupid – but are smart enough to keep quiet about it.
I like zoos. I believe they are extremely important to the survival of animals and for the better understanding of human beings. I often think that zoos should have a domestic section with cows and sheep and stuff, so people better understand where their din din comes from.
Which segues nicely to my next thought.
Very much like how looking at different parrots can show how creatures have adapted over millions of years to better suit their environments (eat shit Intelligent Designers), zoos also are evolving. The small cages of yesterday are disappearing and being replaced with large-scale chicken wire free open spaces as natural looking to the animal’s natural environments as possible. The orang utans (personal favourites of mine, might be the hair, I don’t know) have completed Stage 1 of their refurbishment and are now living in these wonderful arrangements of ropes, boxes, lookouts and cubbyholes. It looks like Tarzan’s Dream House if designed by Lego. The Asian otters’ new wet and wild fun park is to be opened in the next month, and the Sun bears are waiting patiently for their new homestead. But it is comforting to know that some things in zoos never change. The food was its usual overpriced over fried poor excuse. What I took from the bain marie was labelled a chicken burger and fries. The chips were nice (I saw the spotty lad take them from the kitchen) but the burger was some crumbed, dry, white piece of crunchy Styrofoam (if you can have such a thing) with some green and red things smeared on one half of the bun. On closer inspection I think they were tomato and lettuce but after eating the burger I still wasn’t sure. And all with a gob smacking price tag. Oh well, I suppose they’ve got to keep the funds coming in somehow.
It’s 11pm and I’m sitting at Perth Airport waiting for my 1.10am flight. I’ve given up on trying to read Moby-Dick. Down the way a bunch of kids are chasing each other around and giggling madly. An Asian couple about 2 metres away have got out their laptop and have decided to watch R&B music videos. To my right a family have plugged in their laptop and are busy filling their ipods. Moby-Dick is confusing enough without all these further distractions.
I never made it to see the sun set, which is a pity. I spent longer than I thought at the zoo, and much longer than I had wanted in the zoo shop. I did, though, find that unique Perth souvenir I was after: a painting down by the zoo’s Asian elephants. Soon as I walked in to the shop it caught my eye but I ummed and ahhhed for a while before deciding to buy. Eventually I did the old walk-away-and-have-a-final-look-at-everything-else-and-if-it’s-still-there-when-you-come-back-then-buy-it trick. It was still there and so now I’ve got a painting done by some very talented elephant.
Dinner for Mark’s birthday (happy birthday Mark!) was at the very swanky Matilda Bay restaurant. I had a creamy, but small, risotto for starters, then the whole fish for mains; I’m getting better at removing the bones. Desert we went to a little café around the corner from John’s workplace called Tiamo (“I love you” in Italian) and – boy – did I fall in love with the waiter. Tall, dark, Italian with the most drop-dead smile, I’m sure he had a thing for me too as he “accidentally” dropped the spoon for my affogatto and had to come back especially. Sigh, he was gorgeous, but there’s a dark Italian (but not as tall) waiting for me back in Sydney, so that suits me fine.
I got through the airport check in without hassle – I thought that I might have had a problem. My luggage was 15.5kg – I’d only arranged for 15kg but the let me through without worry (I’ve been told that Tiger Airways can be very strict). The jam I have in my hand luggage for Mah wasn’t a problem either and the security guard couldn’t find any traces of explosives on me either – phew!
Boarding is not until 12.40am. I’ve a window seat so hopefully I can grab a few Zeds. I’ve a very long day tomorrow.