Saturday, November 29, 2008

the surprise christmas party

hey everyone

well, hats off to Michele's place of verk for this one, although our hats were mostly on for the day today in the blazing hot sun!

every year her verk arranges a party for all the children of their staff, and this year was a spectacular event at the magnificent Johannesburg Zoo. i had never been before, but boy will i be going again!

first off, here's a picture of James and i, sensibly wearing hats in the sun. and an apology for the suggestion in posts past that New Zealand has some sort of obscure clothing crisis; thank you to Gillian, Grant, Katie and Daniel for the fine t-shirts that we have on! although i think the one James is showing off is from Grandma!

and what are we stood in front of? well, see if you can spot them!

look closely and you will see that there are indeed two Hippos in that picture! they are wisely bathing in the cool, shaded water! James was a bit disappointed that they didn't stick much more than a nose (snout?) or ear and eye out, but was pleased when they started making some ace noises!

now, it was only after we had walked around a large chunk of the zoo carrying James that we decided that yes, it would have been a good idea after all to hire James one of those buggy thingies we saw as we walked in!

of course, as soon as we had got him it, he decided for the most part that he would quite like to walk around instead anyway. nice one son.

James was very excited about seeing the one in the next picture too, as was i. when i saw him (or her), i got an open, jaw dropping sense of awe, but ultimately looked on with a heavy heart.

i'm in no position to question or doubt the work done by the experts of Johannesburg Zoo, but there's something rather irrational and, well, just not right about seeing a polar bear in Johannesburg on a hot summer day. as you can see, the poor thing was cowering away out of the sun. there is no way that the Zoo would keep her (or him) if they were distressed or uncomfortable, but all the same, an odd experience.

slightly more natural a sight in our place in the world would be these chaps, though!

i think James was a little wary of them. not sure why, as they weren't the biggest we saw, and they certainly didn't make any threatening moves. oh hang on, weren't Rhinos the "sort of" bad chaps in The Wild? ho hum, as he wanted to go back and see them a second (and third) time, i guess he got over his wariness in the end!

now, we probably didn't take quite as many pictures of the animals at the zoo as the average, even non-Japanese visitor would have done. sorry about that, we were having too much fun! i dare say that i will be persuaded to take James to see them all again during the holidays, so will do my best to snap a few more images!

i did, however, manage to take some snaps of James' perennial, actually still alive animals. sorry son, dinosaurs don't roam around freely anymore, but it was a delight to see your delight at seeing elephants for the first time!

quite a majestic animal, the elephant, and a bonus to be able to capture one of them in a picture using their trunk! and yes, fine people of verk, my infamous and prohibited "elephant trick" does look a bit like this. just bigger :)

another heavy hearted moment came along when we went to see the impressive, beautiful sculpture placed as a tribute to possibly Johannesburg's most beloved and certainly most sadly missed resident, Max.

for those of you unfamiliar with the remarkable story of Max, you can find many fine articles on him around the interwebnet thingie, or you can just click here to read all about him.

now on top of all of this, James also got to meet Father Christmas a bit early, as he had come along to give some extra special presents to all the children who and been good all year thus far. James, then, had a day filled with animals, ice cream, presents, Mummy, Daddy and Father Christmas. did he enjoy it?

very much so!!!!!!!!!!!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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