Sunday, February 19th, 2006
Well, I’d been warned that I might see all sorts of odd and kinky things in Amsterdam, but I don’t think anyone expected that that’d happen not in the Red Light District, but at the Artis Zoo. I was having a wander through the reptile house I noticed one of the giant tortoises (exact genus/species unknown, sorry) actually moving. That in and of itself was exciting, since they’re not really the most mobile of creatures. Well it turns out Mr Tortoise had some good motivation to move as he (slowly) mounted the other tortoise and went to town, makinig really loud bellowing noises all the while. It was really something to behold, not only for the zoo guests but for the other tortoises as well – even the kids came wandering around to watch the commotion. I played animal pornographer for a couple minutes and then left before the lowered the curtain over the display and made us pay again to see more.
It was actually decent weather yesterday, which made for good zoo weather as the animals were out and frolicking. Something about Amsterdam must be conducive to animal sex because there was no shortage of baby animals – the baby monkeys, chimps and lions were especially precious. They also had penguins, which wouldn’t be so noteworthy if not for the fact that the Toronto zoo no longer has penguins. Apparently we traded them to another zoo for something. Hockey pucks? I don’t know. And it was kind of funny to see raccoons as zoo animals. One continent’s vermin…
After the zoo I moseyed up to the Waterlooplein open air flea market, which offered a good selection of junk and crap, and then got lost again in the city centre. My usually decent sense of direction is totally messed in this city. The canals are poor landmarks since they’re everywhere and run concentrincally from Centraal Station, tram lines run in all directions, often on the same route, and really – everything sort of looks the same.
And an interesting thing about traffic in this town – though it is sort of pedestrian-friendly, there’s a lot of pedestrian malls and walkways, those of use on foot are definitely at the bottom of the food chain and those higher up aren’t shy about reminding us of the fact. Sidewalks are often incredibly narrow, and if you happen to step into a bike lane, God help you. Cyclists may ring their bell, but they’d just as soon mow you down – slowing down or stopping does not seem to be an option. Throw in cars and trams and buses all sharing the same the same space, top off with a deficit of traffic lights (and the ones that are there are confusing as hell) and street signs in a foreign language and you’ve got a recipe for dead pedestrian. Serves 8.
Last night turned into something of a blogger summit amongst some of those in town on the Bloggers In Amsterdam ticket. A bunch of us went out for dinner and ended up seated next to, well, a table of overweight, ill-dressed superheroes. And one villain. Truly the damndest thing.
Photos from the day at Flickr.
No music news to report today, but come on – tortoise sex. You can’t beat that.
np – The Zephyrs / A Year To The Day