If you haven’t read the 1st post in this series, check this out.
Bangkok has 2 zoos – “Safari World”, where you drive through (part of the) the wild animal enclosure & the “Dusit Zoo”. I chose the former through a very scientific method (Eenie Meenie Miney Mo), while Sukumar selected it because it was highly recommended by friends. If you’ve seen a zoo in any developed country, you should skip the zoos in Bangkok: unless you have young children. Then it doesn’t matter what you want to do. Firstly, when you become a parent, you lose all rights. Secondly, I’m digressing.
On a serious note, we must mention here that various animal rights groups (such as PETA) have taken exception to the treatment of some of the animals in the zoo – mainly, the Orangutans.
Safari World is quiet some distance from the main city. Its “Vely Vely Fah”, our driver told us gravely. This L-R Rhotacism is exhibited by most Thais. I wonder how in the world the Japanese (who don’t have “L”) ever manage to communicate with the Thais.
It is impossible to spend more than a few hours in the zoo due to the heat. We loved driving through the open zoo to see lions, tigers, rhinos, bears, ostriches, zebras, giraffes and various species of antelopes. This is the best part of Safari World. The various shows left us “Meh”. They lack the finesse and showmanship typical of zoos in developed nations.
The animals we loved most were the “Pygmy Marmosets”. One of them seemed to love me right back. It followed me around, closed its eyes, bared it tiny, rice-sized teeth & muttered something inaudible. We suspect he wanted us to take him home with us. An envious Sana (our daughter) tried to befriend a marmoset in the next cage. It sniffed at her and promptly peed on her feet – making her hysterical. We had to hold its paws to make it stop crying. I meant our kid’s paws.
A memorable part of the trip was the Giraffe Feeding. We were given a bucketful of bananas and uncooked sweet potatoes. We had to use a stick with a pointy end to pierce the food and offer it to the giraffes. The animals clearly preferred the bananas. When we offered sweet potatoes they usually spat them back – squarely on our faces. When we vainly tried to feed a giraffe a sweet potato, it seized the stick from our hands, promptly swallowed it with relish and walked away from us swinging its butt. A giraffe with an attitude.
One could also feed elephants. Since we’ve fed enough elephants in India, we were not interested. But, please refer paragraph (1). Sana demanded that she feed the elephants. A bucket of bananas was given to her and she offered them to the elephants. The elephants polished it off in 15 seconds. Then, joyously tried to lift their little benefactor – amidst bone chilling screams from her. I’m surprised the elephant didn’t pass out in fright.
The zoo has many birds – among them, many Macaws & Cockatoos, vociferously announcing their presence. One could take a picture with a bunch of parrots perched on their arms, shoulders & assorted limbs – for a steep price. We may have balked at the price, I can’t remember – because just then our daughter screeched, “Photo! Photo!” louder than the Macaws.
Axiom #2 in parenting: Parents will be stupidly optimistic about their offspring, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Bristling with pride at the newfound courage of our daughter, we beckoned the photographer. But the minute the squawking parrots, resplendent in blue, red and white feathers, approached us – our lion-hearted daughter whimpered & tried to flee the zoo. In the end, 3 of the parrots sat on mom, while 1 rested on dad’s head. And thus we posed for the picture, holding a terrified kid – who was hollering “But mom! It is looking at me! Tell the bird to look away!”
More to come – Our visit to the temples is next. Stay with us for Part-3.