Today we went to the zoo! Actually, it's officially called the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, and it's gorgeous. It's a seemingly limitless piece of land that gives many of the animals ample room to wander and explore. This also means that 28+ kids and half as many adults got to tromp around just as much!
Long story short, it was wonderful.
We woke up early and scurried to get ready. Outside our windows, we could hear the busy little sounds of all the kids getting ready too. We could tell they were excited, just by sound... and then... we left our room. We were greeted by aliens. Or so it seemed. Todd and I were surprised to see all the kids dressed to the nines, street clothes and spiky hair, fancy sundresses with hipster belts tight at the waist. It felt like we were already in a different world. A 17-and-under world of fashion. Half the girls had pigtails like me. They were far more adorable. We loaded up the bus and were on our way.
The bus ride was filled with Khmer karaoke, and the kids sang along to most of the songs. Super cute.
We arrived and sorted out what lunch would be in a few hours, and then hopped to it! These were the first set of eyes that met mine:
Ketupa zeylonensis. Brown fish owl. There were over a dozen of them. Beautiful birds, and amply appropriate. We saw so. many. birds! I didn't even get the names of all of them, I'm sorry Andrea! But some of the others were Greater Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga) and Black Kites (Milvus migrans), Orange-breasted Green Pigeon (Treron bicincta), White-vented Myna (Acridotheres javanicus), Grey-headed Fish Eagles (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus), which would yelp loudly! They startled me!
And housed with all the other birds...
The placard said the following:
Large Flying-fox Pteropus vampyrus
Habitat: Tall trees
Diet: Ripe fruit
Reproduction: 1 young born in March of April
Interesting Facts: Migrates to breed during cold season, and returns to roost on the same tree branch. Helps to pollinate fruit trees. Contrary to misconception, the flying fox is a mammal, not a bird. Threatened by restaurant trade.
I love bats.
Oh, but there were so many more birds! So many! I can't even load all the photos! But look at these gorgeous little littles:
First one to tell me what those puppies are wins a prize!
And then there was yelling. And yelping. And screeching. And whooping. [Emphasis on the whooping.] Because...
...and about nine other kinds of monkeys were being ridiculous. There were peach ones, black ones, black ones with white tufts, white ones with black bellies, native wild ones, monkeys with mohawks, monkeys with monk crowns, and more. One was naughty and yanked on Todd's shirt through the fence really hard. We were all up in each others' grills.
Yes, we touched some of our primate cousins. That's Darynhel shaking hands/feet with one lovely girl who then FREAKED OUT and made the most terrifying sounds... kind of like those aliens on Sesame Street, but 10x fast. That made her baby came over and they cuddled while she continued to sing her banshee song. That's when I noticed her cataract. She was amazing.
And thus ends the first installment at the zoo. Next up: Lions. Tigers. And Sun Bears.