Saturday, November 09, 2002

"I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing..."

(Or: Dere Dairy, Toda I wented to see sum aminals.)

I have had a bloody brilliant day today.

I'd been thinking for a while that the whole travel thing would be a bit pointless if all I do is run around trying to create an analogue of my London life, doing exactly the same things I did there (pubbing and clubbing, mostly) and not trying anything different. So today, me and the Bearded One did something very much out of the ordinary: we took a train to FOTA.

FOTA is a big ol' wildlife park not far outside Cork. All the critters are either totally free-range or in good-sized enclosures; not like in some places where the animals look sad and stressed out. This was a serious sanctuary, involved in breeding and re-introduction programmes.

We saw ring-tailed lemurs and spider monkeys and three sorts of gibbons and dozens of different waterfowl and these weird little rabbit-dog dudes that I don't know what they were but they looked like Eohippus and pelicans and mandrills and cheetahs and seals and oryx and giraffes and zebras and wallabies and colobus monkeys and flamingoes and pelicans and capybaras and a white-tailed sea-eagle and lion-tailed macaques and tapirs and all kinds of beasties! Oh, man-- it was fantastic. The monkeys alone could have kept you enthralled for hours.

The little colony of spider-monkeys was just amazing. They were playing on their climbing frame, nibbling handfulls of grass, carrying infants on their backs, and generally mucking around. Some of the monkeys got a bit mopey when it started to rain, but they had all these little shelters to curl up in. I think we made one of the gibbons feel a bit harrassed when we stood and peered in his window for ages. The boyf got into a staring contest with a rea and neither of them would back down for ages (eventually the bird won; rea and ostriches are well intimidating close up). I found out what sort of noise a tapir makes, a rather surprising dolphinesque squeal. S'pose you always expect something like that to grunt.

It was great. Definately going back there, if only to see the red panda which must have been hiding from the rain.

After we got back into Cork, we swung by the Palace Theatre and bought a couple of tickets for Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife. I've only ever been to the theatre three times in my life before. We grabbed a takeaway curry on the way home, and chilled out for a couple of hours before heading back out to the theatre.

The play was a lot of fun, if a bit heavy-handed in places. The cast were good, especially the leading lady. We both really enjoyed it and we're planning another trip again soon, though I want to go to the opera next weekend.

Hey, look-- I'm turning into a culture-vulture!

(Although last night we ended up at the new Harry Potter, so probably not that cultural.)

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