Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 1 Hong Kong Island Part 2: Raccoon(s) Monkeys and Other Issues of Perspective

So, according to my spell checker, the plural of "raccoon" is "raccoon."  Who knew?

In that weird post modern city meets Tarzan way that makes Hong Kong so...Hong Kongy, more than half of the land on Hong Kong Island is dedicated to parks and forest lands.  Minxi and I missed most of this, but, toward the top of the mid-level we did take a rest at the small "Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological park".   It was free, like most parks in Hong Kong, and we were mostly in search of bathrooms.  (They had English sit down toilets, the importance of this will become clear in later posts.)

The gardens were very pretty.  The picture on the cover of this blog was taken there.  It wasn't much of zoological park though.  The reptile house turned out to be two enclosures with a small roof over the sidewalk between them.  On the South was a very large constrictor of some kind and on the North a couple very bored looking crocodiles.

I had one of those "You're so not in Kansas anymore" moments here.  She and I were ambling past large wooded cages with one or two monkeys or lemurs each when we came to this cage:

That's right ladies and gentlemen; for the small price of only $1600 dollars in airfare and assorted fees, you to can travel 14 time zones, endure 3 in-flight movies and scale 25 consecutive escalators to catch a glimpse of the rare and exotic North American raccoon!  Could life get any better?

The thing that blew my mind was that Minxi was very curious and spent some time lurking about in case the little bugger wanted to poke his head out of the hole he was curled up in.  She had never heard of raccoon(s) until just that morning when she'd looked in the mirror and announced that the lack of sleep had given her panda eyes.  This really cracked me up.  Panda eyes?  Really?  Could you try and get a little stereotypical for me?  I told her at that time that in Kansas we say you have "raccoon eyes."  Now, only about three hours later, here she was face to face with that most mysterious of animals, the raccoon.

I had a hard time explaining to her that this was a very common and not exotic animal.  Eventually, we decided that they are like monkeys.  Ihe town of Guilin, where she has lived for many years, there are wild monkeys in the  parks.  There's a real and baffling problem with tourist who, for no reason that she can see, try to pet the monkeys and get bit for their troubles.  To her, living around them all her life, a monkey is a noisy, dirty pest that no one would ever want to get close enough to to get bit.  There you go, monkeys and and raccoon(s), the great global equalizers.

Refreshed an ready to press on, we made for the tram that would take us to, literally, the high point of our trip.  


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