Friday, 2 September 2011

What I Have Done On My Summer Vacation - pt 1

As it is the beginning of September and school will be going back in in just a few days, I thought this would be an appropriate post to do now for a couple of reasons - it's a reminder of those days in school when the teacher would ask everyone to write (and present) an essay on what they did over the summer, and I've had the last two weeks off for my summer vacation and so thought perhaps I would share what I've been up to.

I did check in at the end of July and admittedly I haven't been that busy since then, merely lazy ;) I did work one weekend in August, but the rest of the month was spent preparing for my dad to fly in from Australia on the 9th and my brother and his wife - also from Aus - on the 15th. I was able to pick up my dad from the airport without having to take any time off work as his flight came in in the early evening, and then I took him to my aunt's house where we went out for a late dinner and then I went home. I had told my dad on the drive from the airport that I wouldn't be going out east because frankly I'd run out of ready cash. My original plan had been to do the same as last year - drive out to PEI with the dogs, then himself would fly down, we'd have a week then drive back together. However, between my car deciding he's old and needs maintenance so he doesn't explode on the side of the road on one of my many trips back and forth between my apartment and my guy's house and my addiction to yarn (it's been suggested I need a twelve step program to help me out with this "problem" - bah!) there wasn't a lot of money hanging around. Fuel at the outrageous prices that are being charged at the pumps would cost between $500-$600 alone, not to mention accommodations, because this year my cousin was getting married and my aunt's house was full so I wouldn't be able to stay there. My dad did come up with a solution, but at my age giving up control of my life, even temporarily, back to a parent is just ... not happening. Besides, my brother told me later that I would wind up doing all the driving because driving with my aunt and my dad would have me killing both of them before too long.

So, my brother and his wife stayed here, at my guy's, for a few days before heading off to my uncle's, so we had a frenzy of cleaning the week before they got here. We got the spare room set up (one of those bring-your-own-bed things that they said was comfy enough - good to know) and the rest of the place all nice and clean for them, and I picked them up at the airport and brought them home to fall over after that brutally long flight. They shifted about the first week, stayed at my aunt's for a couple of nights, then came back here for the weekend when I was off. One of the things they'd mentioned wanting to do was go to the Metro Zoo.

Now we're always up for a trip to the zoo :D So Saturday morning we packed sandwiches, snacks and lots of water and sunscreen and off we went. We started at the Canadian Domain because Elise wanted to hug a moose (snicker) but of course they were hiding. The other reason to start at that exhibit is because in order to get to it you have to go down a big ass hill - and then walk back up the same bloody hill to get out. If you save it for last you'll never make it, you'll be too exhausted.

This is probably too small, you might get a better look if you go to the Toronto Zoo website. It was a great day to go to the zoo - not too hot, so a lot of the animals were up and about. Except the moose, of course, they decided to lie in the shade on the far side of the enclosure. I think my brother got a couple of good pics with his fancy camera (my poor little Kodak was feeling very insecure that day) but that was as close as Elise got to a moose. The bears were up and about, though :)

So were the bison.

Some of them were feeling a little testy, so we got so see a little scuffle going on. We went through the African Savannah trail, where we actually got to see the lion's head as he snoozed atop the ledge of his paddock. This only bears mentioning because the last half dozen times I've been to the zoo the lions have been nowhere to be seen. I didn't bother trying to take a picture, but I was happy that I got to see a little tiny bit of him.

The hyenas were napping, the zebras just hanging out, and the cheetahs had just been fed a snack by the keeper who was there for his talk. We missed most of that, but seeing the cheetahs out was almost as good as catching a glimpse of the lion.

Hippos on the move! :) We did go see the penguins, in fact we were there in time to get a seat in the stands for the keeper's talk at 2 pm, but wound up sadly disappointed because people kept standing in front of where we were sitting and blocking the view from the seating area. A lot of folks were more than a little ticked, and kept yelling at the standees to sit down or get the heck out of the way. It was very rude but I should have anticipated it, human nature being all about the "me me me!" So we continued on to the polar bears. We discovered last time we were at the zoo that if you go see the penguin talk and then make your way back to the Zoomobile station and go over to the Tundra Trek area that you'll get there just in time for the polar bear keeper to come do her thing at three. We again were in time to get a decent viewing area, which was perfect because there was a guy standing just a few feet from us whose hat was blown off his head and into the water. I haven't seen a polar bear move that quickly in a long time - lol!

This will have to do for now, as my connection has slowed to the point that uploading any more pictures just will not happen. I'll put up some more this weekend, and fill you in on the rest of my vacation :)