Tuesday morning, and I allowed myself the luxury of a lie in. Jesper had already left for work so it was just me and the cats.
Just for reference, cats normally love me. If I go to someone’s house and they have a mardy cat, they’ll say “Oh don’t mind him, he doesn’t like people…” and 5 minutes later the cat will be sat on my lap, having a lovely time.
Not these two cats though. They are Bengals, and you can tell in their looks and demeanour that they are a step or two closer to being wild than your average domestic feline. They are more sensitive to the world around them, they move more like big cats, they SOUND more feral…and they really didn’t like me in the slightest. They panicked whenever they heard or saw me, and disappeared like little hairy ninjas. 9 times out of 10, I genuinely couldn’t work out where they had gone.
In the end I gave up trying to be friends, and just made a point of walking around quietly and avoiding eye contact.
The night before, Jesper and I had reviewed a map of the centre of Copenhagen, and he had pointed out the significant streets through the shopping area and which metro stops I needed. Confident in my own internal GPS system, I skipped down the 100 stairs from their apartment, down to Amagerbro metro station and jumped on the next train past Christianshavn, stopping at Kongens Nytorv. I spent a fair few minutes orientating myself, and then took a walk down Strøget, which is one of the main streets that runs past all of the shops.
I of course made a beeline straight for the high-end fashion boutiques… Wait, sorry, I meant the comic book shop.
Copenhagen itself is truly an architectural triumph. All of the buildings were so grand and beautiful, I spend most of the time I was walking around just staring up at them.
They also do a good line in fountains.
I had no idea what the fuck the last one was meant to be, but I liked it. I have since been reliably informed that it was probably supposed to be a crocodile, before anyone knew what crocodiles actually looked like…
There were a couple of establishments that caused me to raise an eyebrow. Either this one doesn’t really translate very well, or someone has a sense of humour and a devil-may-care attitude to his profit margin;
But of course, it is nice to see that some things are consistent across Europe.
In the evening, I had the privilege of being invited to an after-hours visit to Copenhagen zoo in Anine’s absence. As we stood outside waiting for everyone to gather, I spotted a depiction of a chimp above the front entrance. It made me laugh because from the angle I was looking at it from, there was a definite cockney hardcase expression on its face.
We got to walk around the zoo, and one of the keepers spent ages talking to us and telling us stories about all of the animals. Which was awesome, but would have meant a little more to me if it wasn’t all in Danish. Jesper translated the more salient points, and I focused on gawping at the animals.
Giraffes are massive. As they were wandering about, I was blown away by the sheer lump of animal in front of me. Yeah, you know they are tall, but you truly do not appreciate the sheer power contained within them until you are stood in front of them. From what the keeper was saying, they can 1-shot a lion with a kick from their back legs. Respect.
This bear caught a whiff of something, and climbed up onto to the top of this pole (which was apparently vertical when it first went in). He was snuffing about, and I genuinely thought he was going to make a break for the wall and the enclosure next door.The keeper was quite insistent that he was unlikely to get out, but frankly I didn’t have much faith in that.
I managed to zoom in on the only one of the wolves who was visible, but as a testament to its eyesight and instinct, it seemed well aware that I was looking at it, and it very quickly fucked off after I took this photo.
The elephants have recently been relocated to a larger enclosure. This would presumably be a good thing, but one female was not having a very good time. She was throwing things about and was generally in a bad temper. I think from what Jesper was saying, she was the 40 year old matriarch of the group, and had previously been in a place that was considerably larger and where she had been more active (possibly she had been put to work before? I can’t remember). Whatever the difference in her circumstances, she wasn’t very happy about it.
The previous male lion at the zoo had apparently been attacked and killed by the females. Not sure what he had done, said something snide about their fur perhaps… In any case, they tore his throat out. I wasn’t aware female lions could or would, but fair play to the ladies. It backfired somewhat though; he was replaced by a young male who has turned up, and behaved like a abject cock. It seems that he has spent his time since arrival kicking the crap out of the females, to the point that they head straight up the trees whenever he is around. I would suggest that given their history of tolerance towards males, he might want to review his approach for the future… This is the females being left on their own for a bit of peace.
I’m not sure what these leggy birds are called, but apparently most of them are thick as fuck. There was some really heavy rainfall a couple of years ago, and most of the zoo’s population of these birds just stood in the rising waters and drowned, rather than just go inside. Idiots.
We couldn’t hear much of what was said about the flamingos because they wouldn’t shut the fuck up, but it would appear there is an optimum number of them required to perform a synchronised dance, without which they won’t breed. This group was apparently too few… which might explain why they were complaining so loudly.
According to the keeper, the anteaters used to share their enclosure with some guinea pigs who did a bang up job of keeping the grass down. However they kept disappearing. It turns out the the anteaters were slashing them up with their claws, shoving their snouts into them, and drinking up their mushy juices like a meaty Slush Puppy. They don’t keep guinea pigs in there any more.
We saw some Zebras who were cavorting about with the Impala like they were on something, a baby Musk Ox, a Seal (no Polar Bears; I think they had a headache), a Tasmanian Devil who wouldn’t stand still, some Llamas, a Hippo (which was bigger than my car) and its baby and a handful of other wonderful things.
All of the animals behaved a little differently to what I had experienced in the past – I assume that because there were fewer people around, they were behaving a bit more naturally. They were all a little more feisty, more active, and frankly more intimidating. Far less passive than you normally see behind a pane of glass, presumably way closer to normal wild behaviour, and it was a really strong reminder of the sheer power, aggression and untamed nature of the world around us. We cannot bend it to our wishes, it will do as it will, and while it might behave the way we want it to for a short period of time, under the surface there is always something we cannot control mere millimetres away from breaking loose.
I was slightly spaced out by the impact of what I had experienced anyway, but on the way out, there was a children’s play area. As if to add a human punctuation point at the end of the tour, it was really rather sinister.