Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Munich, Germany--Day 255

After arriving late last night and eventually making it out for dinner at 11 p.m. (we were still on Barcelona time!) Elizabeth and I woke up this morning to set off for the Munich Zoo. Conveniently located on the U-Bahn, we took the subway and were soon at the stop for the zoo.

We got off, zipped up our jackets, and headed to the zoo entrance where we paid our admission and went in. We stopped to check out the map and see just where the hippos were.

Problem: there were no hippos on the map.

We checked again, and again, and could not for the life of us figure out where the hippos were. Even checking the index of our snazzy guidebook for the zoo, we could not find them. Could it be that there were NO hippos? Surely there were....right?

Elizabeth went to ask about the hippos and despite my lack of German, I could tell that there were NO hippos. None. Zip. Zilch. We were shocked, especially since my list of zoos that I have so diligently followed (finding hippos at every spot) told me that there were supposed to be two hippos here in Munich.

The woman told us to walk over to the Polarium (where the Polar bears and penguins are) and ask about the hippos there since she said that they used to have hippos once, but she did not exactly know when since she was new.

So we trekked down to the Polarium which was on the opposite side of the zoo and grumbled about the cold. We could not believe that there were no hippos! But we were determined to find out just what happened to them.

We eventually found the Polarium---after stopping at a hippo statue to take pictures of it. At least they had a statue! We found two zoo keepers and Elizabeth fired away, asking them who, when, where and why the hippos were not there anymore. We found out from the keepers (who were quite funny characters, each of them sporting an amazing Euro-mullet and earrings) and found out the the two hippos had been moved to a zoo in Brazil three years ago! They did not remember which zoo it was, but it was "the one with lots of grass for them."


They redirected us to the elephant house where the hippos used to live. So we went in there and Elizabeth had a walking interview with a keeper (he would not actually stop to talk to her) and found out that the hippos were in fact in Brazil, possibly Sao Paulo. We stopped another guy and asked about the hippos' names and after checking something, came back and told us: Rosa and Gurbi.

I had been to Sao Paulo, been to the Sao Paulo Zoo and saw no signs of Rosa and Gurbi. Hmm.

Before leaving the zoo, I bought up all of the hippo postcards they had (three--pretty good for a zoo with NO hippos!) and we set off back to the U-Bahn feeling cold and perplexed, questioning where on earth Rosa and Gurbi are now.