It was on one of those all night... tours when we left a club (crawled out) and decided to go see the sights. A short but nearly suicidal taxi cab (are there any other, there?) later, and we were at the local zoo. Did I mention that the bars almost never close? Yeah, it was closer to late morning than late evening, you could say.
Back to the zoo, what else can I say but... it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The first thing about the zoo is all of the wild animals. Now, of course when I talk about wild animals, I'm talking about the little cretins that hang out all over the place and try to get your money, whatever way they can. From spraying your windshield with muddy water and wiping it off with a dirty rag, to selling you cheap trinkets (probably made in China), to picking your pocket - if they saw U.S. dollars, it was 'game on'.
We got mobbed as we stumbled from the taxi (I was 'dizzy' from the fast drive, m'kay?). The first little monster came up to me. "Mister, I tour ju, no? Many aminals we see, k?"
Two theories, here.
First one is to ignore the little boogers. Theory is, if you can ignore 'em long enough, they'll move on to more promising prospects.
Second one is to go on the attack. Act pissed off, cuff 'em upside the back of the head (the locals did this if they were insultingly mistaken for foreign tourists) tell 'em to get lost, etc.
I couldn't bring myself to actually swat them, but I tried for a combination of the two. I glared at the first kid, waved my hand in the general vicinity of his head, and shook my own head. In retrospect, vigorously moving my head around was not the best idea, as I was still a little bit sauced.
I didn't say anything, and perhaps my lack of english made him think I was a spanish speaking tourist, or something. He launched into his schpiel, this time in spanish. I looked over at Primo, but he was busy shooing away his own cretins.
My own determined little guy then went into fluid portugese... and then what was possibly german.
When he started in on somewhat rough french, I chuckled and cut him off, gave him a few bucks, and he promptly went into the start of his tour speech while beating away his vanquished competition. His english skills weren't the best, but he was quite enthusiastic and informative.
The zoo was rather small, in sections and animals, with one main path meandering its way through the various areas. The birds were interesting, widely varied in colors, sizes, and abilities. It would seem that the tendency of the zoo's visitors to feed the parrots wound up with some of them knowing some interesting words in several languages. Our little guide was more than happy to demonstrate and encourage them.
Mammals were next, and while they're always fun, there really wasn't all that much I remember as notable from them, 'cept for hearing about the spitting Llamas.
Where it got kind of interesting was in the reptile section. I like snakes, and if there's one thing South America has, it's a bunch of snakes. We missed out on feeding time- maybe next time, I guess. Walking through the next section, there appeared to be a few empty sections.
I asked our chatterbox about the sections.
He thought about it a beat, and responded, "Yes, senor. Thees section es for de allygaytors. They no here for to go to the vacayshiuns." He gestured to the river and the jungle that surrounded the zoo on three sides. "Vacayshiuns, bye-bye".
The last of my buzz (and the tour, for me) was pretty much over, then.
That being said, it's time for a 'vacayshiuns' of my own. Going to go on a long drive, visit some family, and play with some guns - sounds like a good time, no?