Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dusit Zoo

Matt always says that it's telling cultural experience to visit a zoo in a foreign country. We went to a couple in Korea, decided against going to the one in China (reading the internet horror stories about people pouring cola down polar bear's throats was enough for me) and so when we felt like we'd seen enough temples we thought we'd give the Dusit Zoo a try.

Looking at the map it didn't seem like it would be that hard to get their on our own. It also looked like we could take a pleasant stroll through a park on the way. As it turns out, that park is heavy duty royal property with only one entrance (on the other side of where we were coming from), surrounded by armed guards and a moat. It looked pretty enough as we walked along the side of it. We noticed that the moat was filled with turtles! And then we spotted a freaky monitor lizard and that was the end of the dilly dally walking we were doing beside the moat. It was time to pick up the pace so I could get away from the monitor lizard.

Finally we arrived at the zoo and bought our tickets. The Dusit Zoo is pretty nice and most of the facilities are adequate for the animals. I think it helps that Thailand is mostly warm (so they don't need to build a lot of inside enclosures for the animals) and has access to lots of cheap, fresh fruit to feed many of the animals. One of the more interesting features was the bomb shelter that they built there during WWII. Strange.

This zoo has a great selection of elephants and monkeys, in particular. They also have a lot of reptiles but I started to get creeped out and so I made Matt hurry through that part. I think I was remembering the time in Korea where I foolishly let them put a snake around my neck. Anyway, just like Korea, things were much more hands on, or at least they had the potential to be hands on. Some man was reaching in and picking turtles up so Matt decided to give it a shot. He used hand sanitizer afterward and offered some to the man who looked at him like he was crazy.

They had a lot of posters up about not sticking your hands in the crocodile cages and a number of posters with instructions of what to do if someone was bitten by a snake. None of these posters reassured me, in fact, they made me more nervous that people had been mauled by the reptiles in the past. I felt really bad for this crocodile though. Look closely at the picture. Someone had thrown a coin into it's mouth!

Sometimes people watching can be more interesting though. We were enjoying the lake when we noticed this woman feeding a monitor lizard chicken! What the heck, lady!?! You know, your kid could be next. She fed it for awhile and then her husband came back with even more chicken so they could continue feeding the thing. And check out the footwear that this other woman had chosen for a day of walking through a huge zoo. I just don't get it. If you're looking for more zany pictures of animals and people at the Dusit Zoo then head over here.

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