Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Aldergrove, British Colombia, Canada—Day 179

After hiking Mt. Rainier, kayaking in the Seattle Harbor, and spending a day on Whidbey Island with my Dad, Alicia, my stepmother Lisa and my two sisters Lyda (12) and Ava (1_) Alicia and I drove up to Bellingham, Washington where she currently lives. We then took today to go to the Greater Vancouver Zoological Centre which is about 45 or so north of Bellingham.

We had no problems going over the Canadian boarder which was actually quite close to the zoo itself. We made it to the zoo, paid for parking, and bought our tickets. The Zoo itself is set up sort of more like a rural zoo (those ones that feel like you are in someone’s back yard) and it took us quite a while to find the hippos, walking through forested areas and over train tracks to find them. I rushed to the ladies’ room while Alicia went to scout out where the hippos were located in their enclosure.

When I came back I found Alicia with the two hippos which apparently hadn’t moved. They really didn’t have any reason to be. Their enclosure was a very natural looking enclosure which was completely outside. They were basking in the hot sun with ducks swimming around them. They were in no mood to move, that was for sure and how the enclosure was set up there would be no good way for us to get some good pictures of the front of them (their behinds were facing us) but it seemed like if we could just hop over the train tracks (the Zoo has a train that you can take around it) then we could get some good pictures.

We thought about just walking over the tracks, passed the signs that said something like “NO PEDESTRIANS” and “STICTLY PROHIBITED” but thought it might just be better to find someone to help us. Luckily a guy drove by in his truck and we waved him to stop. We asked him if it would be possible for him to supervise us walking over the tracks and taking a few pictures of the hippos. He started going off on how hippos are extremely dangerous and that only the keeper could do such a thing. So we asked if we could speak to the keeper and explained that we didn’t want to go IN the enclosure, just to the other side so that we could get a good view of the hippos.

Oh, well why didn’t you say so!

So he agreed to take us over but had to go do something first. He came back a few minutes later, turned off the electricity on the tracks (or something) and took us over. He was really really nice and told us about the hippos (Gertrude and Harvey) but seemed to be more interested in my digital camera than in anything else. So we talked about my camera and I was able to get several different shots of Harvey and Gertrude in the mud (even though they didn’t move at all).

We thanked him and went on our way to the gift shop and then stopping at the bathrooms on the way out, discovering a huge hippo back behind the bathrooms so of course we had to stop and get our pictures taken with it.

We then headed back to the USA and again had no trouble getting past the Canadian border. We then spent the rest of the day getting lunch and seeing several sights around Bellingham, and making Mexican food for dinner (actual HOMEMADE food! Whoohoo!).

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.