Thursday, September 09, 2004


Woke up early again, and continued to watch the weather channel. I finally got Mike to put away the remote after bouncing up and down like a caffeinated squirrel, and then we did our yoga. We headed to the gym for more torture on the machines, but decided to save the pool and hot tub for later as we figured the zoo would be a good place to go. We then showered and decided to full up with some high test beignet and coffee at Cafe DuMonde.

For someone who still holds a grudge against donuts after working in a donut shop in high school, I sure do love these damn beignet. $3 gets you and order of 6, which is sometimes more than enough to feed 2 people. We speculated the amount of powdered sugar they must dump on those things, and the amount of beignet mix they use every day. The number was mostly likely beyond the capapcity of our very small human brains.

So I had a slushy cafe aulait (drool) and Mike had some iced coffee. WEEEEEE. We were ready to vibrate our way to the zoo.

To get there, we had to take one of the antique street cars on St Charles. They aren't air conditioned, so the windows are open and it's not a good idea to put your arms outside the windows as the trees seem to need extra limbs. The seats are wooden and the backs shift so you can have 2 seats facing one another. It's a $1.25 to ride - which is still a bargain compared to the $1.75 I have to pay to ride the CTA. The cars are slow, but they get you where you need and they have their charm, plus the slowness allows you to see all the pretty houses.

We passed through the garden district, which is lind with sometimes near palatial homes, all victorian, all well kept, with gorgeous landscaping. The architecture is this city is amazing as Mike would agree. It seems that many more of the older buildings are more well kept here than in other cities.

We got off the train and took a free shuttle past Audubon Park, which looked like a gorgeous park as well, but we figured we were going to do enough walking at the zoo, and the shuttle was very convenient. I brought my camera for lots of cute animal pictures, which were easy to take as it was a hot day and the animals were very lazy.

The first thing I saw when we got in were pink flamingos, which was a treat for me because I had never seen any that weren't plastic and impaling someone's lawn. Their necks are rather freakish upon close inspection.

We tried to see the white tigers, but it seems the exhibit was closed for maintenance, so we remained tigerless. We saw lots of other cool stuff though; bears in trees, jaguars and leopards playing like kittens, lazy camels (my personal favorite). I learned later on the NOLA TV station made for travelers that they actually have camels rides there. :( I wanted to ride camels. None for me. We met a couple talking birds, one that said HELLO in an almost seductive voice, and another that said several things and also laughed.

We saw some very muddy, tired and cute capybaras, all lounging or swimming in the water. It was at this point that I started to miss my piggies back home. I managed to get a picture of a little black gecko on a reproduction of a mayan sculpture. The swamp exhibit was very thorough, and having a white alligator - which is a rare thing, explained the difference between the two types of white alligators (yes, there are two). They also had a building full of cute turtles, baby nutria (which I wanted to take home with me) and really disgusting bugs including a black widow spider. And only in new orleans can you go from displays of fish, turtles and crawfish, and see recipes for cooking them inbetween.

It was very hot and humid, so the zoo had these mini sprinkler mister thingies set up to walk under. Iverall, it being a weekday, the zoo was pretty dead.

We did catch the elephants on the way out, as well as the giraffes, rounding off our visit. We were able to hit every part of the zoo in about three hours. It may not be a huge zoo, but it's set up really well and is mostly open air, as the weather never really gets cold down there.

We hobbled out to wait for the shuttle and vowed to dip in the pool before lunch.
Once we got back, we changed into our bathing suits and headed for the rooftop watering hole. Perhaps it was a mistake in more than one way, but we went for the hot top first as our feet were not happy. Mike slipped on the way in, leading to what we think caused his bad knee for the rest of the trip. The hot tub was lovely indeed - but shifting from that to the coldness of the pool was a bit shocking. We swam for a bit until hunger and the food smells got to us, then showered and hunted for our next meal.


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