Tuesday, 2 May 2006

I had Sunday lunch at Pizza Express with Mark, Monica and Monica’s parents, my fluency with Italian matched my fluency in Italian, Monica did an awful lot of translating. It’s always amusing when a foreign-themed restaurant gets customers from the country of origin, Monica’s Dad wasn’t impressed by the speed of service, but he became very quiet when the food arrived.

On Monday we all went to Living Coasts in Torquay by train, I had the idea to visit Paignton Zoo on Tuesday, so I bought a joint ticket for the linked attractions, saving money and giving me a nice long "weekend". I really like watching penguins, especially the free-roaming penguins, one of who took an interest in my shoes; they’re so cute. The fur seals were a little disappointing, they were just basking unlike the last time I visited when they were squabbling over the highest part of their basking rock, but still they are lovely creatures. We had lunch at the nearby Brewer’s Faire, but ended up sitting around a bar table because there were no free 5-seater tables. I was a bit tired and headachy from spending so much time being in "Asperger social-mode", so I walked at my normal walking speed back to the station, and read my book for 20 minutes or so while the slower moving group caught up.

Today I went to Paignton Zoo, walked from the station to the zoo, and arrived in time for the lion talk and managed to stump the keeper by asking about the differences between African and Asiatic lions. She remembered that Asiatic lions are slightly smaller, but we were both sure there was something else. I looked this up later; Asiatic lions have scantier manes, but tend to be generally have more fur and a fold of skin on the belly. Moving on there were several groups of free-ranging ducklings, and male peacocks displaying all over the site, which was causing the tapirs to huddle in a tight mass, and the meerkats to move through their tunnels into the porcupine enclosure, highly amusing.
I did get one surprise though, one of the keepers from Living Coasts was also at the zoo and she recognised me from yesterday, while stroking a Barbary sheep she had looked after for a while, apparently this sheep has a bad habit of butting his keepers, other than her. I also went to the parrot show, some of the birds seemed less than professional, the cockatoo seemed to have forgotten much of its act, and there were a few other little problems but it was an enjoyable show. Especially when one lady volunteered to assist with one trick involving the macaw retrieving a coin from her hand, not realising just what she was getting into. The shock of the macaw, not a small bird, landing on her arm caused her to drop the coin. I helped out by putting the coin back on her hand, so the act continued without further incident.
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