Well… I did it again. I honestly don’t know why I keep doing the same thing expecting different results – except this time I got them! I went to the zoo in Copenhagen and, unlike my previous zoo outings (Berlin, Zagreb, Helsinki, Stockholm) this time, not only were the animals out, but there were more of them! I think the reason earlier jaunts had proved so unsatisfying was that the
animals were gestating! Now, as summer was winding down and fall was coming around the corner, there were babies galore! Everywhere you looked, there were baby animals holding tight to mommies and daddies. It was quite sweet.
Also, somehow, I managed to follow the designated feeder around the park. In several places, I only had to wait a few minutes for the girl to set up the food and then release some sort of big mammal into the enclosure to eat it. The brown bears were cool, but the tigers were the best! She set up two huge hunks of meat, one in a tree and one tied to a rope and then let the cats out. Didn’t
take long for one to figure out how to get the meat from the rope and then parade around with it while the other one followed gamely, trying to snag a piece. After a few minutes, the second one remembered there was another hunk in the tree so he (I’m assuming here, I didn’t look) climbed the tree and successfully got his own lunch. I didn’t stick around much after that since it was crowded and there were other animals to see.
In the monkey house, they had put out food (fruits and vegetables mostly) and a giant stuffed octopus before letting the chimps back in. It was kind of fun watching the biggest one attack the
orange octopus, realize it wasn’t a threat, and then carry it around with him while he ate.
I also saw wolves and polar bears and hippos and lions and the newest attraction – the Elephant house. This is a brand new exhibit, just opened, and really state of the art. There’s lots of space for the pachyderms and a really nice “enrichment center” which is a nice way saying educational stuffs. The Zoo in Copenhagen really did themselves proud, especially when you compared it to the old elephant house which was still standing next to the new one. It was brick and tiny, like
something out of the 20s.
All told, a very positive experience, and not a bunny to be found!
Afterwards, I headed for home (Sweden, remember? This was the day I had left my note “Gone to Denmark, be back before dark”) since we had a party to go to that night. Evidently, it is a tradition in August to have a crayfish party. I’ll explain in a minute what that means, but when I got back to the house, Malin was there, along with Sonny (who had gotten gig doing a modern dance interpretation for the Malmö ballet but was off today) and Ola, Malin’s brother. The four of us hung out for a bit before heading to the party, which was at a guy called Marcus’ place.
Now here’s the thing about crayfish parties… They are big events where everyone brings their own crayfish, which are usually
purchased precooked in a special Swedish boil of spices and herbs. When we got there (we weren’t the last to arrive, but close) there were already about twenty people seated around along table and several of them were wearing crayfish party hats. I wasn’t told about the hats in advance or I certainly would have insisted we get some! So we took our seats at the end, Sonny produced a big tray of crayfish and Malin and Ola tried to explain what to do.
Malin explained the Swedish way was to suck out the juice from the middle then put the head in your mouth and bite down, which she did and Ola was supposed to do. See, the hazard of being around people who speak a different language is that they can quite openly plan a practical joke without you knowing it and that’s what the chomping the heads was. You don’t really eat the heads but Malin had
committed to the joke while Ola chickened out at the last minute. In reality, what you’re supposed to do is pull the meat from the tail and put it on a slice of bread, eventually crating a very nice sandwich (it just takes a while). Adding to the time frame is that every now and again, someone starts singing (and yes, there were lyric sheets – in Swedish) at the end of which, you drink a shot of schnapps. This is really part if the tradition, I swear. And Sonny, bless him, was determined to make sure I got the full experience, so he had bought a nice sampler pack of schnapps bottles and he and I made short work of them over the course of the night. Malin had left early, she was tired,
and she made Sonny promise to make sure I got home in one piece. Eventually he did, but not before I met some very cool people, got a lot tipsy and stole a crayfish party hat of my very own!
It was a rough morning when I finally woke up, and I stayed around the house doing work and taking care of business (and doing laundry) until the afternoon when I got my stuff together and
headed down to the train station to catch my overnight to Amsterdam. This was my second to last big trip and I was preparing to make the most of it!