Day 10 – Zookeeper! Those two monkeys are killing each other!

26 Sep

So the train ride to Berlin is uneventful. Or maybe there were some events and I just slept through the commotion. Either way, I arrive in Berlin at 08:30, hungover from the Oktoberfest and sore from the undersized sleeping compartment. It’s the day of the Berlin Marathon. I’ve left one German city late at night that was packed with drunk people eating whole chickens and vomiting in public and arrived in another early in the morning that is full of sober people running 26 miles before 09:00 and vomiting in public. Germany is a land of contrast.

"Day of Rest" people!

The trams in the city centre are shut down because of the race. I decide to hoof it to Eva’s place – about 5 clicks. Nothing like a good walk to clear ones mind after 17 hours of train and four hours at the Oktoberfest. This walk is possible only because of my one-bag policy. For my 14-week vacation to Europe I decided to pack only what was necessary. I’m continually amazed by how much people overpack when they travel. I’ve done it myself in the past, but those days are now over. I started with 9.1 kilos. Not sure what I’m at now.

There’s no rest for the weary. Eva has planned an outing to Tierpark Berlin and we have to meet her sister and sister’s boyfriend at 13:00. Tierpark is this giant animal park located northwest of the city centre. I’m not a big fan of zoos, preserves, aquariums, animal farms, arbouriums, planetariums, museums, gardens, Ray’s Reptiles, kennels, army testing labs, windowless offices, national parks, or any place where animals are cooped up against their will.

One of the less-intelligent primates

I try to approach the problem logically and not to get too emotional with what I’m about to see. Several of the animals are clearly better off in the park – and by better off, I mean “not dead”. Poaching is a huge problem in many parts of the world and I can’t help but think that this rhinoceros would rather hang out here with her kid than to be dead in Afrika so some Asian dude can get his boner pills.

Note to the superstitious - science has already solved this problem.

The one that disturbed me the most was the monkey exhibit. I found it very difficult to look at, so much so that I could not get the images out of my mind even many hours after leaving the park. You see for some unfathomable reason, the Tierpark people decided to put the monkeys in a mockup of a ruined human civilization – a civilization that appeared to be quite advanced before something terrible happened.

Something terrible: again, it looks like Greece was involved.

It is clear that the monkeys are now running the show and that the humans are toiling away in underground caves at the bidding of our new masters.

And I, for one, would like to welcome our new simian overlords.

Aside from all this I found the excursion to be very educational. This is not the first time I’ve become more learned after visiting a zoo. Did you know that tigers are not female lions? Until recently, neither did I. I asked our guide why they were being kept in separate areas and she explained that the two species were very territorial and that they would probably fight each other if they got too close.

Two species? Really? Man, I was way off on this one. Why did I think that tigers and lions were boyfriend and girlfriend? The only two reasons I can come up with are

  1. In Mrs. Belanger’s first grade French class we learned that it was “le lion” and “la tigre”. For those of you that do not speak French , “le” means boy and “la” means girl.
  2. Clara never told me otherwise.

I think there’s an equal probability of each being true.

Kim Jong-il's Panthers

Other than what I have written in this post, nothing interesting happened to me at the animal park.

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