Friday, April 06, 2007

Day at the zoo

I had decided earlier this week that we should take the day off today, Good Friday. When I had started working in Lotus, it had been such a shock to my system that we actually had to work on Good Friday! Every year I worked in Lotus/IBM, I hated the fact that I had to work on Good Friday, when everybody else in Ireland was off. Well, a lot more companies are working on Good Friday nowadays - that's the mad Celtic Tiger for you.

So, it's a real treat for me to have today off, now that we're our own bosses.

As the weather was good, but not quite warm enough to sit out in the back garden, we went to the zoo today. We were there just after 10:30 and stayed until about 2:30. We had a great day. I love seeing all the animals. I have many favourites - I love the monkeys, the tigers, the lions, the sea lions, the penguins - but we even went around to see the farm animals - the pigs, the goats, the hens! Never mind being nineteen forever - I still have the heart of a four-year-old!

When we arrived, there was this huge jungle noise from across the pond - it sounded like some of the monkeys were in rut or having a major fight. As we got closer, we could see 2 or 3 monkeys in some trees, jumping from branch to branch and making this huge sound - it was so loud that at first, I thought it was amplified. It was hard to believe that ordinary monkeys could make so much noise. Well, these were no ordinary monkeys, they were siamangs, who sing a love duet every morning to mark their territory. They have a throat sac that amplifies their voice. The third guy hanging around in the tree was their young, who was obviously fascinated by mummy and daddy's singing!

We also saw the Sulawesi macaques - one of them had a tiny baby macaque in her arms, and it was the cutest thing ever, with its little bald head. One of the females has an arm missing, but seems to be well able to manage with just 3 limbs.

Here is a picture of some of the penguins. When we arrived, there was only one in the water. The rest of them were hanging out by the side, looking into the water. They looked like they were wondering if the water was cold enough! Then one of them finally jumped in (well, he waded in, really, as if dipping a toe in the water. No brave jump there). Once he was in, the rest of them all followed in, and seemed to enjoy their swim. Why they looked so hesitant to go in, I have no idea!

Have a look at the Dublin Zoo website. There is plenty of information about all the animals there. And if you're in Dublin, it's well worth a visit. Most people bring a small child or two along, but we didn't feel out of place just the two of us!

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