Monday, June 2, 2014

A justified childish day out

I've been to something like 23 zoos, aquariums and assorted animal sanctuaries as a childless adult (~20 of them featuring in this blog). There's nothing wrong with that, though I've always been a bit self-conscious about it, especially when Google started recommending my website to people searching for 'creepy guy at the zoo'.

After an unprecedented couple of months with a regular weekly workload I recently had my first completely free weekend in a while, and was able to draft in my sort-of-niece-and-nephew as the perfect camouflage for my shameful desire to see remarkable creatures in inhumane cages. The other adults would just assume I'd been coerced into spending my day watching orangutans climb the walls and hanging heavy snakes around my neck as we shared defeated shrugs that suggested we'd all rather be down at the mall, catching the game or whatever else normal adults are supposed to enjoy, the losers.

We all had a nice day out, if slightly stressful at times, and it provided more useful training and education for my theoretical parenthood in the future. Based on today's insightful module, kids are really not that badly behaved as long as they don't have to wait for food to be served in a busy restaurant and aren't obligated to get the majority of said food into their mouths when they scoop it up. So if I have kids, I probably just won't feed them. The signs said we're not supposed to feed the animals anyway! Look, I'm already doing dad jokes, I'll be fine.

I've treated Davao like home ever since I arrived in the Delaware of the Philippines, by which I mean I've hardly bothered to explore any of it beyond the several routes I occasionally need to travel as I assume there'll be plenty of time for that later.

While my 10 days in Tokyo were crammed with palaces, temples, towers, museums, arcades, public parksnational parks, pervy sex shops, even pervier shops and one of the aforementioned zoos, plus significant time spent wandering the streets in search of affordable computerised curry houses and amusing pharmacy products, in more than a year of living in Davao City I'd only previously been to three things that could be considered tourist attractions. And one of those was basically just a restaurant with a nice view. And it was at night so I couldn't even see it.

Davao Crocodile Park

Some kind of mammal. I didn't have the free time to take photo-notes of captions for later reference like usual, I was a bit preoccupied with making sure small children didn't get eaten

I think they got as much out of the visit as I did

I'll have enough of these depressing Southeast Asian tiger cage photos soon to compare just how cramped each respective cage is and judge which country cares the least about animals. It's probably Thailand isn't it? (Exhibits ABCDEFGHIJKL, etc.)

I tried to ground these strange new real things in unreal reality for Zyq by mentioning Batman, but he wasn't familiar with the term. Time for a premature franchise reboot I guess (that was supposed to be sarcasm based on my limited knowledge of pop culture trends, but apparently it's actually happening)

There's a species of mynah bird indigenous to this island, but they would rather import one from New Guinea (?) or wherever. I should have taken notes, internet research is too time-consuming. I'm sure he loved the trip

He loves being chained up and not even having a food or water bowl

He loves everyone

I think the zoo used most of its budget on these animatronic muppets

They were more interested in posing for photos with the fake animals than looking at the real ones. I wasn't surprised

This really happened, I regrettably had to slay the snake to cut the child out.
Only after taking the photo though, it's a corker

These kids are so immersed in their digital images, Eshen immediately insisted I show her the photo I'd taken of the turtles from exactly the same vantage point she was looking at them with her own eyes right then

Oh yeah, there are some crocodiles here too. Quite a lot of them

This old timer's treated to his own pool, to show due respect. Speaking of respect, don't forget to pick up your genuine crocodile leather souvenirs and to shave off a piece of the spit roasting crocodile kebab before you leave!

We had the chicken.
(Image stolen from Make It Davao, I was too busy when we passed by and forgot to take the most interesting photo of the day. Thanks, kids!)


Because I'm not actually a child, my childish days out don't usually involve these places. I had a go on the see-saw and glider, just to balance out Eshen of course. And I had to try out the slide and swings to make sure they were safe.

This was unsurprisingly the kids' favourite part of the day, and we had to stay there for quite a while before they'd let us go inside the butterfly garden. Public amenities like playgrounds aren't exactly top of the agenda in the village where they live, where every other photo Jackie shows me of the kids playing happily outside surrounded by sheet metal, old tyres and stray dogs looks like a fine-tuned promotional image for charity.

Butterfly Garden

It was probably quite nice in here, there was a pond and stuff, but we only got to stay for two minutes before Eshen started angrily moping for the playground again. I'm not in control of my life any more.

Playground again

I think renting these guys out every few months is the best option for now, rather than purchasing my own for keeps. Next time, maybe I'll take the opportunity to bother visiting the highly popular resorty island nearby, catching a ferry from the pier that's practically just down the street. But first we're taking inconvenient connecting flights to see essentially the same thing 2,000 miles away in Thailand, see you there.

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