London Zoo

12 April 2005 Comments

If I were already sleep deprived because I got caught up in a pretty decent novel all night, we all know I would not decide, at 8 a.m., that I really, really had to go to the zoo today. Because that would mean, on the train ride home, I might fall asleep and miss my stop and end up in, say, Edinburgh, with the conductor singing “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” It would be awful. The singing, not Edinburgh.

But if I did go to London, I would end up at the zoo around noon, after wasting a couple hours running around getting tickets at the Tate Britain.

Ah… so. Have you been to the London Zoo? They’ve painted green lines that lead you all around in a predetermined path. They promise this path will let you see “everything.” I abandoned that by paw print #3.

But paw print #1 was the giraffes. I love giraffes. I could watch giraffes all day. In fact, I watched these giraffes for 45 minutes trying to get a shot of Evil Giraffe. Ever see the Eddie Izzard clip where he goes on about “I am an evil giraffe. I will eat all the leaves off the tree so no other giraffe can have them”? I met that giraffe. He was very “I know you have the camera, and I’m going to make faces at you right up until you put that thing to your face. And then I’m going to stop and stare head-on at you, with my head all backlit by the window, so that all you’ll get is a shadow and no face when you do take the picture. And as soon as you drop the camera, I will make a face at you. We can repeat this as long as you want, because I have all fucking day, mate.” Apparently, he was an Australian giraffe.

Meanwhile, Drugged Giraffe just stared at a fence post like she had never seen anything quite so fascinating in her entire life. 45 minutes she did this. I don’t think she blinked. Whatever she was on, I want some.

And in the corner, old but cute giraffe did the greatest poses, very much along the lines of “Why won’t you photograph me? I’ll do anything!” But how can cute giraffe compare to evil giraffe? It can’t.

Then I went on to pawprint #2, which was boring and I forgot what it was, which is why I quit at pawprint #3. The rest of the zoo visit went like this:


Gorilla 1: I am so depressed, I am just going to lie in my bed/nest and curl up like a little kid and hope no one will take pictures of me so I can get some sleep.

People Watching: Click! Flash! Click Click!

Gorilla 2: My roommate is such a complete drag and never plays anything with me. I’m going to sulk on top of this box. You think it will make a good picture, but really I’ll blend into the background. I totally planned this.


Fruit Bat: I am evil fruit bat. I will eat all the bananas. In fact, I am currently wrapped around three of them, and I will out-stare anyone who attempts to take them from me. While I am staring at you, do you want to think about the fact that I have my claws dug into two of these bananas and I am molesting the third in unspeakable ways? I didn’t think so. These are mine! Move along!

Me: Do you know Evil Giraffe, by any chance?


We have found the perfect spot where everyone can see us but no one can take good pictures of us. Yawn. Nap.


Inexplicably, there is a giant porcupine in the penguin exhibit. Yes, the water was all gone. Yes, there was dirt in it. Yes, the exhibit was still labeled as “penguins.” I don’t get it either.


Despite there being huge posters of the brand new baby elephant everywhere, it turns out the elephants and zebras are hanging out at some safari park elsewhere. Bastards. I wanted to hang out with the elephants.


First, if you should happen to, say, find yourself in front of the tiger exhibit when no one else is around and find the tiger is more than willing to freaking pose for you —- and I mean, stand there with one paw up like it’s stalking you and stare right at you while you adjust your camera —- a group of six-year-olds will show up right when you try to take the shot and scare the photogenic tiger away. I guarantee it.

However, Tiger 2 did kindly lie on its very photogenic perch in a regal “I could bite your head off if I wanted, but I’m not in the mood right now” manner and stared at me while I took its photo. Both tigers were very “Hell yes you should take our pictures. We are the shit. In fact, you should take a close-up. Come on in here, yo.”

I think they enjoyed playing with that six-year-old I tossed them.


I think camels are naturally stoned.

Giant Monitor Lizard

I see you, fucker. [This was a mutual statement, if you’re wondering.]

And then I left the zoo, as you do, thinking I had seen everything there was to see despite thumbing my nose at the green paw prints and walked back through Regent’s Park to get to the tube. And saw, from outside the zoo, ostriches. Ostriches! They weren’t in the zoo while I was there!

Ostriches: Yeah, well, you didn’t walk past the bug house.

Me: No shit.

Ostriches: It’s hardly our fault.

Me: You aren’t worth visiting if I have to look at a spider bigger than my hand.

Ostriches: If you’re going to be like that, we’ll hide our heads in the sand.

Me: And?

Ostriches: ...

We would have continued this scintillating conversation, but all of a sudden my knees, hips, and ankles mutinied and informed the rest of my body that they were seceding. My elbow, rebel sympathizer that it is, also hurt for no apparent reason.

Which led to an interesting debate between my brain and imploding body: with an hour to go before I could get into the Monet exhibit, I could either go get lunch for myself or I could go to Borders and buy a book for the train ride home. My ankles promptly promised to do things that I’m sure are anatomically impossible, especially with respect to my own body, if I did not sit down promptly.

I force-marched myself to Regent Street, checked out the Apple store, grabbed a book from a handy book store, and even managed to find some lunch. I ate that in front of the Tate when, inexplicably, the Tube was running on time so I arrived at the museum earlier than I planned.

The Monet exhibit? I have no words. Fucking awesome. Even if Impression, Sunrise wasn’t there.

The train ride home? I did indeed stay awake. And it was long enough that my various striking joints agreed to get together long enough to haul me back to my apartment, although they may mutiny again when they discover there will be no bubble bath.

Tagged: 2004-2005 Year in Cambridge, Bats, Big Cats, Big Cats - Lions, Big Cats - Tigers, Birds, Birds - Ostriches, Birds - Penguins, Camels, Claude Monet, Eddie Izzard, Elephants, Giraffes, Lizards, Lizards - Monitor Lizards, Monkeys & Apes, Monkeys & Apes - Gorillas, United Kingdom, United Kingdom - England, United Kingdom - England - London, Zoos


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