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we took to the woods


First visit to the famed zoo. Tapirs, babirusas, and cotton-topped tamarins. Meercats! Otters! A wild oriental whipsnake that the street sweeper from PRC warned us might be poisonous but wasn’t. A scrawny, irresistible newborn orangutan (“man of the forest”) with hair like those plastic keychain trolls, dangled alone several stories high next to her drowsy mama. A Malay boy with a mohawk and tattoos heaved meat from a plastic bucket into the cheetah and lion pens — the cheetahs meowed like kittens for their treats, but the lions (“sleek as satin and fat as butter”) barely glanced over. Children were given baskets of fruit to feed the mud-caked rhinos; there are seven, they share an enclosure with a peacock and a fugitive lizard, and the biggest male had open wounds on his back from being quarrelsome. The line for lunch was too long, so we shared a banana split, jasmine tea and puff cakes instead. A delightful day.