Hand feeding Giraffes in Thailand
Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
149Trip End Jun 15, 2012
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The first thing you need to know about the Bangkok Zoo is that it is remarkably cheap. The entry fee is about three bucks, and kids are free. That’s the best Greg pleaser there is. This zoo is more of a day in the park than a day at the zoo just for that reason, and people come by to wander around, look at a couple of animals and then go home, not worrying about seeing it all
After looking at many other ordinary animals we went to the hippo pool where three hippos were lounging around like hippos do. We were at the edge of the water outside of the pool, peering through the glass when one of the hippos lifted his large and ugly head up and opened his mouth fully. We looked up and saw one of the zoo visitors throwing large chunks of bread at the beast. With nobody to police the zoo, several kids took it upon themselves to feed these guys one handful of bread at a time.
We later saw a guy throwing chunks of ice at crocodiles
A guy walked by us a few minutes later with a large Burmese python slung around his neck, and I had assumed he was charging money for the customers to get photos with the snakes. But the guy apparently worked for the zoo, I had concluded this because he never asked us for money. I asked Mason if he wanted to pose with the snake and he gave me an enthusiastic nod, and so the guy draped it around Mason’s head. Another guy had another python and Mason did the same with that one. Things were looking up.
We decided to have a break and sit in the grass for a while with ice cream cones and a bottle of water. It was a pretty hot day and we needed to have some time in the shade. A guy walked by with a huge stainless steel pan full of something we couldn’t see, banging another pan against it, and I was getting pretty annoyed, wondering why he was doing that. But then he put the pan down on the grass and about twenty huge Siberian Cranes swooped in from the trees (natives, I gather) and started gobbling up the fish. It turned into one hell of a frenzy and we had to get out of there. These were very large birds with six inch beaks fighting with each other over fish. They needed space.
We walked through a bomb shelter that was left over from the second world war, got our feet attacked by geese on ‘bird island’, and then found a large lake with six foot long swimming water monitors looking like crocodiles on the surface and edges of the lake
We saw many other exhibits that were more of the garden variety and then we got a God-awful lunch of KFC that neither of us could eat. I asked Mason what he wanted to do last, and he told me that he wanted to see the African animals, all huddled together in one large area (except the lions and hyenas). We were looking at the giraffes when somebody on the level above, level with the giraffes’ heads, was feeding a giraffe string beans. One of the beans fell down and I reached inside the barrier and picked it up. The giraffe looked at me with longing in his eyes, and I held it up, so he stuck out his crazy long tongue and slurped it right out of my hand. Mason got excited, so we started wandering around the zoo looking for somebody who sold them, to no avail. The person who brought them had apparently entered the park with them, and I wanted to go to a store and get my own. Instead, I found a tree that had particularly tasty looking leaves, grabbed a handful of those leaves and shoved them into my pocket. Then we went back to the giraffe exhibit. I handed a leaf to Mason who held it out to attract a giraffe. When a large male finally showed up, he walked over and stuck out his tongue and took it from Mason’s hand. I gave the rest to Mason who offered the leaves to the giraffe one at a time, to the complete amazement of the crowd. Suddenly all the other zoo visitors ran around to the foliage out of reach of the giraffes and started tearing limbs and leaves off trees to feed the giraffe. Mason and I backed away slowly, hoping the officials wouldn’t know who started the feeding frenzy. Nobody cared.
We took a tuk-tuk home laughing about everything that happened that day. Mason said to me (and this one is one I will never forget): "See dad? Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do to have fun". I couldn’t have said it better myself.