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(saw a panda) Sunday

Posted by willkay on March 28, 2010

Sunday, second day of the holidays. Yesterday we went to bed early, so that we could be up early. Fully sunblocked, hats firmly on heads, we set off for the border. The early hour was a good plan, I had to renew my I94, and there was no queue. The UK and the USA have a “visa waiver” policy, which means that I don’t actually need a visa to get into the USA, I pick up a 90 day pass. This still means I have to queue to cross the border, and then queue to get my I94. Today it took a whole 9 minutes. Nine minutes. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and legal (to cross the border).

The San Diego Zoo is one of our favourite places, we have annual passes. I have been to zoos in three continents and San Diego Zoo is, by far, the best zoo I have ever visited. Yesterday, Saturday, they opened a new Polar Bear Plunge. This was our target. However, wisely, the Polar Bear Plunge is at the furthest point in the zoo from the entrance. This was not a problem. Due to the early hour of our arrival it was still not too hot and the animals were active. There was also no queue at the panda exhibit. No queue, active animals, happiness all round:

From the pandas we set up to the top part of the zoo. Although we were supposed to heading to the polar bears, we were distracted by the Elephant Odyssey. The elephants were their usual fun selves, many playing with the keepers, who were armed with water hoses. However, the lions were not “in the jungle, the mighty jungle…sleeping”. In fact, the lioness was actually chewing away on a bone. More like a dog than a (big) cat:

There is also a black jaguar in Elephant Odyssey, who was pacing back and forth, close to where we were standing:

Grabbing a frozen lemonade, we then walked over to the new exhibit. The polar bears did not disappoint. I assume that the polar bears have been in the exhibit for some time, so that they can become acclimatised before letting the public in. However, they were both wandering around the exhibit, dragging their blankets with them. Again, what I love about San Diego Zoo, is that the living areas for the animals are huge, however the design of the cages still makes you feel that you are close to the animals – without them being restricted. The rest of the exhibit has many activities for younger children: caves to crawl through; stepping stones to jump on/from; holes in the ice to pop up through. Another wonderful exhibit, which is well worth the walk. (You could cheat and take the skyride that gets you straight there from the entrance, but you’d miss out on everything else.)

By the time we left the polar bears, we’d been in the zoo over four hours. The sun had passed its highest point, the temperature had risen, and the zoo was full. We decided to head to the exit and leave. We have a whole two weeks of holiday ahead of us, we can come back another day. However, there was still one more magic moment for us. The last time we had been to the zoo, the two bears were arguing. Maria has a picture of the moment on her blog here. This time they were best of friends. Playing in the water and coming to check out the visitors:

A quick trip through the gift shop for Nikos to buy some sticky/stretchy animals, Danny to pick up a pair of animal-scissors, and Maria to add to her collection of animal cups (she reckons they are the best to drink milk out of), and by the time we got back to the car we had walked 8.9km according to the pedometer on my mobile phone. Not bad for a Sunday! There was time to stop off at Souplantation (so that Maria could pick up a packet of biscuits [cookies to you] to have something to go with her glass of milk) before heading back home, and into the welcoming cushions of the sofa.

So, that’s what I did. What did you do this weekend?

3 Responses to “(saw a panda) Sunday”

  1. Well, if you read my blog today you already found out that I took Kitty and Bunny for a little Sunday stroll to exotic Paseo de los Héroes, right in front of Hotel Lucerna. For them, this was, as usual, an incredible adventure. They got to run and sniff the palm trees, leave a signature in each and every one of them, bark at whomever passed by, play with fallen leaves, and have fantastic fun.
    After I got home I washed their feet, brushed their hair, sprayed some Doggie perfume and conditioner and played “fetch” with them for a bit.
    I had a very nice luncheon with my long time friend, Maribel Moreno, and her family and afterwards visited my closest friend, Norma España. We talked about our Mexican heritage, the indigenous culture we so admire, the traditions and values that are being forgotten and how we all should make our best to promote them. Norma’s husband, Ernesto de la O, is the owner and promoter of a ranch located in the old road to Ensenada, past La Mission. He has built a little museum that houses books and artifacts about Baja California, its etnias and cavern paintings. He is very enthusiastic about preserving our culture and about making the citizens of Tijuana and environs conscious about it.
    So I have to say it was a very good day. Monica was probably at the beach all day.
    Kitty and Bunny are on top of my bed, ready to dream about this morning’s big adventure.

  2. I will never understand how panda bears, and elephants for that matter, can eat only plants!

  3. Fantastic videos!

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