Monday, 8 October 2007

A Day at the Zoo

Sydney, Australia.

Ah, the zoo.

Taronga Zoo is wonderful on many counts. There is the setting - which, like most of Sydney, is bright and pleasant. Then there is the ferry ride to get there, followed by the happy joy of a cable car ride over the animal enclosures, to begin one's happy ramble down the hill and through the zoo.

And then there are the animals themselves, of course.

Animals indigenous to Australia have the most remarkable names. I spent many happy hours wandering amongst exhibits describing the brumby, the honey-dipped sugar glider, the soft-centred billarabbee. Remembering a friend's fascination with Bota's Pocket Gopher, I found myself inventing new names for the fauna, and wondering if I might ever glimpse the mysteriously beautiful, frequently-elusive Grisham's Bilge Weasel. Or the Sherbert Dib Dab.

I would scarcely have been happier if I had been able to see all of the animals so glowingly described on the informative notes. As it was, many of them were in the nocturnal section of the zoo. But I happily wandered from one dark window to the next, watching the faces of children as they imagined they spotted some big-eyed furry cute thing peeking back at them from the darkness.

Condors, by the by, are the most impressive bird I have ever seen. Their wingspan really has to be witnessed to be believed.

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