July 21st, 2003

battyden

Armstrong, Aldrin, and the other one

33 years ago, two men walked on the moon. The history books always say July 20th, but here in Australia it was July 21st. I turned 8 years old that day. I got a gravity-assisst Hot Wheels set, and a moon walk on telly. What cool birthday presents!

What really stuck with me was my feelings about The Other One. Michael Collins got as far as the moon but stayed in orbit.

On his own.

I mean, REALLY on his own. When his orbit took him to the far side of the moon he was out of radio contact. I've always wondered what it was like to be that cut off from everything except the rest of the universe.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
battyden

Zoo

I went to the zoo today.

The Cape Hunting Dogs were out in force, sleeping in the sun near the viewing platform. For once they were not brown smudges at the far end of the enclosure. I am rather surprised to discover that they are endangered now, with fewer dogs in the wild than their are black rhinos. I mean, these guys were the pack of evil dudes that kept Kimba on his toes. Now they're more threatened than lions.

The black rhinos have had another calf. He was lying behind a tree and I couldn't get a photo so I took one of the previous calf and her mum. Black rhinos are actually a mid-grey colour, except for the red tinge they've picked up from the dust. There are 2,500 black rhinos left.

A quick call in to the cheetahs to see a tail-tuft at the far end of the enclosure, and then on to the white rhinos who are in fact a mid-grey colour except for the red tinge they pick up from the dust. There are more white rhinos than black rhinos in the wild, now. I drove past the Barbury Sheep, Camels (dromaderrys, not bactrian) and Scimitar Honed Oryxs (seen one scimitar honed oryx, seen them all) to spend time at the Giraffes. The 3 week old calf was out with the adults. He was having fun with the 2 month-old calf as they tried to out-stare a raven. The youngters edged closer to the bird until it went WAUGH! at them. Young giraffes running in fright is funny to watch.

Called in at the new asian otter exhibit in time to see the mid-morning feed. These animals are a big hit. The zoo has set up glass-fronted ponds so you can see them swimming and playing. No wonder everyone goes all warm and fuzzy when they see otters. Next door was the new one-horned rhino from Nepal. These are smaller than the others, only have one horn, and are a mid-grey colour (except for a red tinge he picked up from the dust.)

It was lunch time by then, so I drove back to the kiosk and bought a sausage roll and chips, which I ate while being watched by a pair of sparrows, a male blue-wren and his 4 ladies, a magpie, 8 sacred ibis, 2 straw-necked ibis, 5 moor-hens, 3 pelicans, a peacock, 4 cape-barron geese, 2 black swans, a dozen ducks and a coote. Every chip was watch from packet to mouth, packet to mouth, packet to mouth, until someone along the row dropped a chip and I was abandoned for being a stingey bastard. Then a willy-wagtail arrived on my table so I gave him the pastry crumbs. I walked over to the meerkats, checked out the echidna (got one of them!) and took a photo of the wombat.

I drove around the cricuit to to point I'd abandoned, and watch the male bongo get introduced to a new female bongo. Bongos are like an eland with dark brown fur and white stripes, but the pattern is asymetric so they have a different pattern of stripes on each side. From there I went to the see the sumartran tigers and the bengal tigers, then on to the onagers, which are a wild donkey and not a medieval throwing engine.

Then on past the bantangs and wapiti to see the takhi or wild horse. These have been reintroduced to the wild in Mongolia, much to the delight of the Mongolians who haven't seen the horses since the 1930s. 5 Mares from Dubbo were among the first to be released in 1995.


Takhi in Mongolia takhi in Lascoux Caves

I sort of skipped the deers, buffalo and bison and koalas to look at the maned wolves, dingos, tapirs and guanacos. I'd hoped to see capybarras but they weren't to be seen.

It was almost closing time by then, so I headed home. Photos soon.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired